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AMD says ARM based Opteron chips will appear in 2014

Claims Seamicro's interconnect fabric will set it apart
Tue Oct 30 2012, 11:51
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CHIP DESIGNER AMD has announced that it will release ARM based server chips under its Opteron brand in 2014.

AMD, which has been an ARM licensee for some time, announced it will license ARM's architecture to design a 64-bit processor and integrate Seamicro's Freedom fabric into its chips. The firm said its ARM Opteron chips and ARM Seamicro servers will be available in 2014.

According to AMD, its ARM based Opteron processor will be a single chip product that will be sold under both its own Seamicro brand of servers and to server vendors such as Dell. Lisa Su, SVP and GM of AMD's Global Business Units said Seamicro's recently announced Freedom Fabric will be the firm's "secret sauce" to compete against other ARM chip vendors.

AMD also talked up ARM based accelerated processing units, however it gave no time frame for when that will appear, though it is clear that more traditional CPUs will be first out of the blocks. Vu said AMD is busy trying to get hardware and software vendors around the table and bring in server OEMs to boost software development.

AMD's decision not to launch its ARM based Opteron chips until 2014 seems largely due to the fact that server software such as Hadoop simply isn't ready for the ARM architecture. ARM has only recently announced a 64-bit architecture aimed at chips intended for server use, with Red Hat leading efforts to port OpenJDK and Fedora Linux and Canonical working on producing an ARM64 version of its Ubuntu Linux distribution.

While AMD lined up representatives from Dell, Red Hat, Facebook and Amazon, one notable absentee was Microsoft, a company that seems oblivious to servers running on ARM chips. The firm's decision to ignore this development could see the ARM server market, which some analysts forecast will take somewhere in the region of 15 percent market share in the next three to five years, being all based on Linux. µ


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