AMD reveals its first ARM processor: 8-core Opteron A1100
AMD announced plans to build ARM server CPUs back in 2012. Today the company took a big step towards making those chips a reality, announcing that an 8-core ARM System-on-Chip would begin sampling in March.
Codenamed "Seattle," the processors will be branded Opteron A-series and built on a 28 nm process. The first of these will be the A1100. This will have 4 or 8 cores based on ARM's Cortex-A57 design. This is a high performance, 64-bit ARM core, and it will run at clock speeds of at least 2 GHz. The chips will have up to 4MB of level 2 cache and 8MB of level 3 cache, with both caches shared across all the cores. They'll support dual channel DDR3 or DDR4, with up to 128GB RAM. The chips will also include a bunch of connectivity: eight PCIe 3 lanes, eight SATA 3 ports, and two 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Rounding out the SoCs, they'll also include dedicated engines for cryptography and compression. The whole thing has an expected power usage of 25W.
While these chips are aimed at high density, low power servers, AMD is also putting together a micro-ATX development kit built around the A1100. This will include a Fedora-based Linux environment with development tools, Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Java 7 and 8. This software stack is consistent with the goals of these low power servers: running Web applications is likely to be their primary role.
AMD has grand ambitions for ARM in the server room. The company estimates that by 2019, 25 percent of the server market will use ARM processors with widespread use of custom designs in large datacenters. AMD believes that it will be the leader of this ARM Server market, as it brings its existing server processor expertise to bear.