It appears that AMD is looking to expand into other areas of the processor chip market, after announcing its first ARM-based processor for enterprise customers.
Named Opteron A1100, the processor is based on the reduced instruction set computing (RISC) CPU design strategy that dominates the mobile market due to its reduced power consumption.
Although AMD traditionally use the x86 instruction set architecture (ISA) for its processors, this has often meant competing against Intel for market share in the mobile, desktop and data centre environments. However, developments in ARM technology have seen RISC processors enter the server market, which may have influenced AMD to give the technology a try.
“The ecosystem for ARM in the data centre is approaching an inflection point, and the addition of AMD’s high-performance processor is another strong step forward for customers looking for a data centre-class ARM solution,” explained Scott Aylor, corporate vice president and general manager, Enterprise Solutions, AMD. “Customers now have access to 64-bit ARM processors from the only silicon provider that also has decades of experience delivering professional enterprise and embedded products.”
The AMD Opteron A1100 incorporates up to eight 64-bit ARM Cortex-A57 processors and its CPU cores have up to 4MB of shared Level 2 and 8MB of shared Level 3 cache, which is pretty typical of an ARM entry-level enterprise chip. The processor supports dual-channel 64-bit DDR3/DDR4 ECC memory at speeds up to 1866 MHz and 8-lanes of PCI-Express Gen 3 connectivity.
AMD’s entry into the RISC market has been spoken about for some time now, with Opteron A1100 previously announced under the codename “Seattle.” In fact, the chip has been in development for so long that its Cortex-A57 processor has been superseded by the Cortex-A72. Still, AMD is committed to its new product, announcing that it will support the Opteron A1100 series for a decade.
Initially there will be three different Opteron A1100 series models available, the flagship A1170, the A1150, which has a lower CPU speed, and the A1120, which has half of its CPU cores disabled. Pricing has yet to be officially confirmed but reports indicate that the A1170 will come in at a round the $150 mark.
Image Credit: AMD