AMD preps eight-core ARM sample

AMD’s Andrew Feldman has told the assorted throngs at the fifth annual Open Compute Summit that the company is preparing to sample its new eight-core ARM SoC with the codename of Seattle.

It has been known that AMD was working on its own ARM server core, but announcing imminent sampling means that the company is confident of shipping the part soon.

Hot hardware said that there are a lot of maybes about Seattle.

While the eight-core chip isn’t HSA compatible, it’s not clear what GPU IP is used to provide a video signal. It seems that AMD is pushing into the market with a chip it could bring to market quickly, rather than working to integrate a custom IP solution based on ARM’s own designs.

AMD is claiming that the eight ARM cores offer 2-4x the compute performance of the Opteron X1250. This is not too difficult, after all the X1250 is a four-core chip based on the Jaguar CPU, with a low clock speed of 1.1 – 1.9GHz. The Seattle cores clockspeed is one of life’s mysteries, but the embedded roadmaps AMD has released show the ARM embedded part targeting a higher level of CPU performance than the Jaguar core.

Feldman believes that ARM cores could account for a quarter of the datacenter market by 2019, with a great deal of custom work being done between a major server owner like Google, Facebook, or Microsoft, and the vendors that supply those servers. The implication is that chips may be customised for small, highly specific workloads and relatively low production runs between companies.

Feldman predicted that x86 will still be the king of the server market, but that more workloads will have shifted to highly efficient x86 processors.

However, Feldman insisted that AMD would be at the forefront of the ARM server revolution. If it manages to do so, it would give AMD a powerful anchor in an emerging segment in years to come.