AMD first announced its intentions to enter the ARM arena with a promised server CPU in 2012. Their aim was to deliver low-powered servers based on the ARM architecture, and they stated that we would see the first of these in 2014. It’s not always easy to keep your word in the tech industry, but AMD has done just that. The company has just announced that its set of server chips, codenamed ‘Seattle’, will be an 8-core ARM System-on-Chip.
The first chip is scheduled to be the A1100 and he will come from the ‘Opteron A-series’ line of chips, built on a 28nm process. The chips will be 64-bit and will run at speeds of at least 2GHz. Support for dual-channel DDR3 orDDR4 will be standard, and they will be able to host up to 128GB of RAM. Two 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports, eight SATA 3 ports and eight PCIe lanes round out the list of connective and productive features of AMD’s latest offering.
AMD’s experience with APUs and SoCs ensure that dedicated engines for cryptography and compression are also included in the well put together package. Their recent deals with both Sony and Microsoft for their next gen consoles speak volumes of their flexibility and their ability to get power from small packages. With their servers scheduled to need only 25W of power, I think that they may have a hit on their hands.
In an effort to spearhead popularity and adoption, AMD has proposed a micro-ATX development kit built on the foundation of the A1100. This project is set to include a Fedora-based Linux environment with development tools, Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Java 7 and 8. AMD’s intentions for ARM based servers are great, and they estimate that by 2019, 25% of servers will be powered by similar processors.
AMD is a name known to us all as they have been part and parcel of the processor industry for desktops and laptops for quite some time now. With mobile computing now dwarfing the traditional PC industry, Intel and AMD have long set their sights on the making ARM processors. Intel got their feet wet a couple years ago, but now AMD is about to enter the fray, and I must say that I can hardly wait. Once they’ve learned some neat tricks from these server CPU’s, I imagine that they’d want to get into a couple tablets or phones before long. Intel has not necessarily had the sort of success that they may have envisioned, but maybe AMD will be the one to find that balance and buck the trend.