AMD Prepping New ARM Server Chip For 2014


AMD has a new strategy for competing in the data center, and it includes a big bet on ARM.

The chip maker Tuesday unveiled its 2014 server processor road map, which includes a new x86 APU (Accelerated Processing Unit), an x86 large-core processor, and the company's fist ARM-based server CPU, code-named Seattle.

"We're letting go of any religious adherence to x86 processors," said Andrew Feldman, vice president and general manager of AMD's Server Business Unit. "This will be a game-changing product for the industry."

[Related: AMD Launches Low-Power Opteron Server Chips To Take On Intel's Atom]

Seattle is a 64-bit server chip built on ARM Cortex-A57 cores; AMD said it will set a new standard in performance-per-watt as the industry's premier ARM server processor. Seattle will come in eight-core and 16-core versions that run at 2GHz or higher with 128-GB DRAM support plus integrated 10 GbE for legacy networking.

In an interview with CRN, Feldman explained why AMD is entering the ARM market on the server side and why the company believes it can win with a different CPU architecture.

"There were 13 million x86 CPUs shipped in 2012, compared to more than 8 billion ARM processors shipped," Feldman said. "A lot of companies out there have more experience with ARM technology, but that's on the client device side. We have more experience in the server market, and that's what will set us apart."

Feldman said enterprise data clusters, Web servers and storage systems are potential hot spots for the Seattle chips. AMD plans to open Seattle up for sampling in the first quarter of next year.

AMD also unveiled two other x86 server chips. The first, code-named Berlin, is available as a pure CPU or APU and comes with four of AMD's Steamroller cores. Berlin will be AMD's first server chip featuring its Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) and is designed to eliminate the need for discrete graphics. The chip is scheduled to launch in the first half of 2014.

AMD's new enterprise server chip, code-named Warsaw, is targeted at 2P/4P servers for cloud and high-performance computing usage. The processors are designed to improve performance-per-watt from AMD's existing Opteron 6300 processor family. Warsaw will be available in the first quarter of 2014.

PUBLISHED JUNE 18, 2013