An AMD official said that while no partnership is in the works, the company is keeping its options open in regards to a future working relationship with ARM.
Despite previous reports, Advanced Micro Devices has not closed the door on
the possibility of working with ARM
Holdings. At the same time, there is no deal that's in the works between AMD
and ARM, the dominant player in the mobile
AMD officials believe ARM
shares similar views on where the industry is going, and at this point are
keeping their options open, according to John Taylor, director of client
product and software marketing at AMD.
sees the world very similarly to how AMD
does," Taylor said in an interview with eWEEK, noting that both companies
believe that the industry can't keep pushing CPU-like cores-such as x86 and
PowerPC architectures-without sacrificing energy efficiency.
revolving around AMD and ARM
started revving up late last month after it was noted that Jem Davies, an ARM
Fellow and vice president of technology for ARM's
Media Processing Division, will be a keynote speaker at AMD's inaugural Fusion
June 13-16 in Bellevue, Wash. Davies is scheduled to speak
about power efficiency in chips and GPU computing. Some industry observers
suggested AMD may be interested in partnering with or buying ARM as a way to
gain a significant foothold in the booming tablet and smartphone markets. A
great majority of those devices currently are powered by ARM-designed chips
made by such vendors as Samsung, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments.
those rumors cooled following another news story in which Taylor
on the idea of the two companies working together, saying instead
that AMD had invested heavily in its Fusion APU
(accelerated processing unit) strategy, and that initiative was based on the
the interview with eWEEK, Taylor
said the truth lies in between. AMD is not
currently working closely with ARM, but that
doesn't preclude the possibility of such a partnership in the future.
constantly looking at where the market is headed and evaluating what our
customer requirements are," he said.
companies see the potential of GPUs to push performance and scale without driving
up energy consumption, and like AMD, ARM
supports OpenCl, a type of computing language that allows the GPU
to be programmed like a CPU, Taylor said.
there's common ground between AMD and ARM
[in regards to] balanced computing and the GPU
as the key platform pushing the [computing] experience forward, but not at the
expense of battery life," he said.
that common ground works its way into a full-fledged partnership remains to be
seen, Taylor said.
profile has grown rapidly over the past few years as sales of mobile
devices-including smartphones and tablets-have soared. ARM
chip designs are found in the vast majority of these products. That market
growth is only expected to continue-research firm Gartner predicts tablet
shipments to increase from 70 million this year to 294 million in 2015, while
In-Stat is forecasting smartphone sales to rise to 850 million. Those types of
numbers are why Intel and AMD, which
dominated the market for PC and servers chips, are looking to expand their businesses
into these areas.
officials are aggressively pushing their x86 offerings into the mobile arena
via their Atom platform. The company last month unveiled the Atom
Z670 "Oak Trail" chip
for tablets and laid out a roadmap for further chips,
including a chip dubbed "Cedar Trail." In addition, Intel on May 4 introduced a
new chip transistor technology called
that officials say will enable the company to continue shrinking
chips through 22-nanometer and 14-nm manufacturing processes, increase performance
and drive down power consumption and leakage, making it an ideal x86 platform
to challenge ARM.
has been less aggressive pursuing the mobile device space, though the company
next year is expected to release its first x86 chip targeted at tablets,
although officials have said the "Brazos" processor, for
lightweight laptops and netbooks, also can be used in tablets.
February, interim CEO Thomas Siefert said AMD
is interested in the tablet market, but not
the smartphone space
Taylor said the company is working
hard to fill out its Fusion portfolio, which it unveiled with the first APUs in
January. The Fusion APUs integrate the graphics with the CPU on the same piece
of silicon, and will be a key subject of discussion during the Fusion Developer
Summit. GPUs hold the greatest promise for computing going forward, with their
ability to process large amounts of data in a parallel fashion without driving
up power consumption, he said.
are things that are much more potent and much more power-efficient than their
CPU counterparts," Taylor said.
its part, ARM isn't standing still. The
company and its partners, including Marvell and Nvidia, are looking to take its
low-power designs into the data center to challenge Intel-and AMD-in
low-power servers for such tasks as cloud computing. Analysts at IDC said in a
May 5 report that ARM also will make inroads
in the PC chip space, accounting for
13 percent of the market by 2015