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AMD will put ARM Cortex A5 cores into APU chips

Adopts ARM for security chores
Thu Jun 14 2012, 10:40
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CHIP DESIGNER AMD has announced it will design a security processor based on ARM's Cortex A5 chip that will become part of its Fusion accelerated processor units (APUs).

Following AMD's announcement that it had signed up ARM to be a part of its Heterogamous System Architecture Foundation, the two firms are seemingly getting closer by the hour. Now AMD has announced that it will design a security core based on ARM's Cortex A5 design using ARM Trustzone technology.

AMD claims its Trustzone security processor will become a part of its APUs from next year, and said it will be the first company to combine x86 and ARM chip architectures in a single processor die.

Unlike Intel, which spent billions buying McAfee to bolster its security designs, AMD seems to have taken a much more sensible and perhaps cheaper approach to incorporating security features into its chips. Of course Intel could have done the same but its pride might have got in the way of saving a few billion dollars.

Mike Wolfe, SVP and CIO of AMD seemed to hint that pride came at a high price, saying, "This example of AMD's ambidextrous strategy, which leverages our history of X86 and graphics innovation while also embracing other technologies and intellectual property, will help drive a more secure computing experience for our consumer and businesses customers."

Chip vendors such as AMD and Intel are looking at security-on-silicon as a major battleground in the coming years. While Intel decided to take the long route by buying McAfee, AMD, by opting to cut a deal with ARM, might shortcut its way back into the race.

AMD said some of its APUs will include Cortex A5 cores in 2013 and that it will expand its range in 2014. µ


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