AMD reveals Project Skybridge; x86 and ARM chips sharing a motherboard

Nearly a year ago, AMD announced it would start making and selling processors using designs from ARM, in addition to its traditional x86 chips. Today, the company announced its future processor plans that would allow ARM and x86 chips to use the same motherboard.

Today's press announcement reveals "Project Skybridge", which is part of AMD's efforts to introduce what is called "ambidextrous computing." The effort will begin in 2015 which will allow a family of x86 and ARM-based 20nm APUs and SoCs (System on a Chip) products to be pin-compatible on one motherboard design. AMD says:

The 64-bit ARM variant of “Project SkyBridge” will be based on the ARM Cortex-A57 core and is AMD’s first Heterogeneous System Architecture (“HSA”) platform for Android; the x86 variant will feature next-generation “Puma+” CPU cores. The “Project SkyBridge” family will feature full SoC integration, AMD Graphics Core Next technology, HSA, and AMD Secure Technology via a dedicated Platform Security Processor (PSP).

In theory, the "Project SkyBridge" chip family could allow an ARM chip on a motherboard to be swapped out with an an x86 processor and vice-versa. That means that a tablet with such a setup could support running either Windows or Android with ease. It could also be used in server hardware.

AMD also announced plans to launch K12, a new 64-bit ARM-based processor design that would combine high performance with low power use. The first chips with the K12 design will be released in 2016.

Source: AMD | Image via AMD

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22 Comments

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Now they just need to get rid of the pins on the bottom of the CPU like Intel did a kazillion years ago and i'll be happy

warwagon said,
Now they just need to get rid of the pins on the bottom of the CPU like Intel did a kazillion years ago and i'll be happy

because that affects a lot how a computer runs, right?

I just had a few CPU's sitting around. The Intels still work great, Some of the AMD's have pins bent to ####.

Though I have since bought some Clam Shell cases so that never happens again. But when I looked on the bottom of Intel and on the bottom of AMD I always think, WHY Amd WHY!"

warwagon said,
I just had a few CPU's sitting around. The Intels still work great, Some of the AMD's have pins bent to ####.

Though I have since bought some Clam Shell cases so that never happens again. But when I looked on the bottom of Intel and on the bottom of AMD I always think, WHY Amd WHY!"


and still you can buy Intel motherbaords today that come with bent pins. Happened to a friend last week, mid end Gigabyte Z87 mobo.

Changing which component has the pins just shifts around the issue, it doesn't solve it.

Would be nice in normal computers too. Plenty of tasks that could be offloaded to the ARM cpu, reducing power usage and/or freeing up the CPU even more.

The way its going, soon we can buy lifetime lasting CPU's :D

Shadowzz said,
Would be nice in normal computers too. Plenty of tasks that could be offloaded to the ARM cpu, reducing power usage and/or freeing up the CPU even more.

The way its going, soon we can buy lifetime lasting CPU's :D

How would that work? Completely different instruction sets, it'd require massive OS rewrites to even be remotely feasible.

Shadowzz said,
Would be nice in normal computers too. Plenty of tasks that could be offloaded to the ARM cpu, reducing power usage and/or freeing up the CPU even more.

The way its going, soon we can buy lifetime lasting CPU's :D


Lifetime lasting CPUs...? I don't think you understand this...

n_K said,

Lifetime lasting CPUs...? I don't think you understand this...

does not make it impossible.

and if you buy an high end i7 or fx, it will last you a decade already. With dx12/mantle lowering cpu usage by a lot. More offloading to the gpu as seen with win7 and win8. With more work having the possibility to be offloaded to a simple low power arm. A current high end cpu might last us a lifetime. (not counting special stuff like video editing and such)

Shadowzz said,

does not make it impossible.
A current high end cpu might last us a lifetime. (not counting special stuff like video editing and such)

It does, because technology is always evolving, not to mention that when quantum computing comes to home users, intel will be an irrelevant company entirely.

n_K said,

It does, because technology is always evolving, not to mention that when quantum computing comes to home users, intel will be an irrelevant company entirely.

Yeah I'm still waiting for quantum calculations to be doable outside of time. Making every calculation instant. That will be the true end.

But as it has been going the last decade or so. We're getting close to that point without the need for quantum. Where we buy computers like we buy houses or cars.

It would probably run on KintarOS. ;)

Honestly, I'm not impressed by this development. I would have thought it was a hybrid x86/ARM processor, which could be great for flexibility. The only thing I see approaching this is the Maxwell line of GPUs from nVidia. Those will have GP ARM cores on their GPUs and will enable x86 systems to execute ARM instructions in a dedicated environment.

Edited by Thief000, May 6 2014, 6:48am :

that's really cool it would allow a tablet to use the arm for light tasks and a x86 for heavy or the same in a laptop

Devmer11 said,
that's really cool it would allow a tablet to use the arm for light tasks and a x86 for heavy or the same in a laptop

No, this is an either or situation not both. That would be far more impressive, and require an entirely NEW OS to be built that could use both styles of processor. Currently no software exists that is doing this, Windows is probably the one that could do it the fastest though, as they already have builds for nearly every processor out there.

The author's example sucks a TON.

NastySasquatch said,

No, this is an either or situation not both. That would be far more impressive, and require an entirely NEW OS to be built that could use both styles of processor. Currently no software exists that is doing this, Windows is probably the one that could do it the fastest though, as they already have builds for nearly every processor out there.

The author's example sucks a TON.

Pft, Windows got nothin' on Linux.
https://wiki.debian.org/SupportedArchitectures