AMD and ARM team up for server chips

AMD has branched out from the x86 platform, announcing that it will begin production of server processors using ARM designs in 2014.

AMD will produce 64-bit multicore SoCs as new approaches are explored to deal with growing cloud and data centre demands, offering a lower power alternative to the x86 architecture.

The first server processors will feature SeaMicro Freedom supercompute fabric, following AMD’s acquisition of SeaMicro in March, and will allow thousands of processor clusters to be linked together.

ARM CEO Warren East said the combination of the two companies’ technology could help transform the market.

“The industry needs to continuously innovate across markets to meet customers’ ever-increasing demands, and ARM and our partners are enabling increasingly energy-efficient computing solutions to address these needs,” East said in a statement. 

Lower power ARM-based servers are increasingly enjoying popularity, and major vendors are keen to be involved in the development of more energy efficient technology with better performance per watt.

As part of the announcement, OEM partners showed that they were committed to developing in the data centre, with HP, Dell and Red Hat heaping on the praise for more flexible approaches to server hardware. 

The announcement by Intel’s two main rivals is a sign of underlying changes in the chips industry. While x86 has been traditionally seen as a the mainstay of PC and server computing, the lines are beginning to blur, with Intel attempting to get its chips into a growing number of tablets and smartphones, and ARM moving into server chip designs.

Data centres are demanding lower power chips – so AMD’s partnership with ARM is a real sign of change, and could well threaten their main rival.