AMD working on 4- and 8-core ARM-based chips for embedded market

By on September 10, 2013, 2:00 PM

AMD started building low-power server chips based on the ARM architecture earlier this year with the “Seattle” Opteron X-Series. The move marked an interesting shift for the company in its attempt to challenge Intel’s dominance of the steadily growing data center market -- but it isn’t stopping there. As hinted at a few months ago, the company is now expanding the use of ARM designs to the embedded market.

AMD’s 2014 roadmap points to a mix of ARM and x86 technologies. There’s the Hierofalcon system on a chip family based on the Cortex-A57 architecture; Bald Eagle APU and CPU chips based on AMD's Steamroller x86 core architecture; a Steppe Eagle SoC based on the current Jaguar x86 core; and a discrete GPU codenamed Adelaar for embedded applications based on the Graphics Core Next architecture.

As you can see from the slide above Hierofalcon is the only all-new line for AMD. Details are scarce at the moment but Arun Iyengar, AMD’s general manager for the embedded solutions group, did confirm that the series is targeted towards the communications, networking, and storage elements of a data centre.

Aside from either four or eight ARM Cortex-A57 cores, the 28nm Hierofalcon will include 10-gigabit Ethernet and third-generation PCIe, as well as thermal design point (TDP) of 15 to 30 watts. The chips share a lot of lineage with “Seattle” Opterons, but Iyengar wouldn’t confirm if that included AMD's Freedom fabric interconnects.

With personal computer sales on the decline and AMD struggling to keep up with Intel, the company has been increasing its emphasis on other markets. In fact, AMD expects 50% of its revenue will be from markets other than PCs and traditional servers “a few years from now.” That includes the low-power dense server market, embedded and new form factors within the client space such as tablets.

Iyengar is confident in achieving that goal and says AMD chips are widely used in airplanes' heads-up displays as well as in medical imaging equipment and factory robots. They’ll also be found inside Microsoft's upcoming Xbox One and Sony's next-generation PlayStation game consoles, both set to launch later this year.




User Comments: 8

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Guest said:

Ah, AMD, when I thought you could sink no lower, you come and surprise me by making me realise that there is no "lowest" point for you as you continuously best yourself in that department by shying away from real competition. Now that you have pretty much admitted defeat in the x86 market, you run ,with your tail between your legs I might add, to a platform that has yet to prove itself a viable alternative. There was a reason that the RISC architecture failed to gain traction all those years ago and you will most likely find out, the hard way, why it will fail this time too. These architectures are good for certain applications but I seriously doubt they will prove too much of a threat to Intel in these kinds of markets. So instead of whimpering in the corner and before any real chance that you may have fizzles out completely, give us something actually worth wanting. Unless you really want to end up supplying aircraft manufacturers as your full time day job and leave real computing to Intel, I mean, it's only a matter of time before Intel catches up to your ATI acquisitions graphics efforts, which lets be honest, have not exactly lived up to the rivals alternatives lately. Is this another market where your relevance is fizzling out?

PC nerd PC nerd said:

Good to see AMD getting their shit together. Can't be having intel monopolising everything.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Good to see AMD getting their **** together.

Don't be so sure. The slide says that "Bald Eagle" (aka Kaveri) features HD 9000 series graphics...while AMDs GPU marketing are saying that the new nomenclature is Rx xxx ( I.e. HD 9870 would be R8 270....R = Radeon presumeably. The first number is the market segment. The second number is the architectural generation (GCN 2 also presumably), followed by the two numbers that define the model within the segment hierarchy).

All in all, it sounds like at least two divisions within AMD aren't on speaking terms.

Guest said:

Couldn't you be more wrong? While is true that Intel has the dominance of the x86 market, in graphics they can't even touch nVidia or AMD. Plus AMD and nVidia are competitive to the point that all their sku's are aligned and priced competetively. ARM is just another arm for them to get more money, as companies here aren't for charity, are for profits. I wouldn't like AMD to go down or in the end, we will pay $200 for Celeron dual cores, and $300 for GeForce GTX 650.

DKRON said:

AMD should just admit defeat and sell their services to Intel for billions to give them their graphics chips, imagine a HD9000 on a i7, would have no need for cheap graphics cards

PC nerd PC nerd said:

AMD should just admit defeat and sell their services to Intel for billions to give them their graphics chips, imagine a HD9000 on a i7, would have no need for cheap graphics cards

>what is a monopoly?

DKRON said:

Its not like AMD is winning the war anyway, they will eventually go down and get no money for it

PC nerd PC nerd said:

Its not like AMD is winning the war anyway, they will eventually go down and get no money for it

Enjoy your intel monopoly. Paying £200 for a 10% rise in performance between generations.

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