AMD to integrate ARM chip in upcoming AMD processors

One day after AMD and ARM announced they were joining a new non-profit consortium, the HSA Foundation, the two processor makers announced a new and more direct partnership today. In an AMD press release, the company announced that future versions of its Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) will incorporate an ARM Cortex-A5 CPU with the company's TrustZone technology.

AMD says that putting in the ARM-designed chip into the x86-based APUs will allow AMD PC owners a new way to "protect against malicious access to sensitive data and operations at the hardware level." The ARM chip will begin to appear on some AMD APUs in 2013 and expand into more of AMD's processors in 2014.

AMD Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Mike Wolfe stated:

This example of AMD’s ambidextrous strategy, which leverages our history of x86 and graphics innovation while also embracing other technologies and intellectual property, will help drive a more secure computing experience for our consumer and business customers.

This new effort comes as AMD continues to lose processor market share in PC desktops and notebooks to its biggest rival Intel. By partnering with ARM, AMD is trying to show that it is wiling to look into new ideas for its chip designs, including integrating technology and hardware from another processor designer.

Source: AMD press release

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Interesting. While this is primarily designed to bolster security and protection it'd definitely be interesting if they decide to throw the much beefier Cortex A9 processor in there as a means of dual booting an ARM-based OS. I wasn't aware an x86/ARM combo APU was even possible, so this is pretty exciting!

Does anyone know of the major differences in terms of performance of the Cortex A5 vs. A8/A9?

Thats is a great idea, and a maybe a strong selling point for them to compete with Intel, if such a thing is possible in the first place.

'into the x86-based APUs'
Why are we STILL producing outdated chips that serve no purpose anymore? x86_64 or GTFO.

n_K said,
'into the x86-based APUs'
Why are we STILL producing outdated chips that serve no purpose anymore? x86_64 or GTFO.

The Llano and Trinity APUs are all 64-bit.

the only good thing I can really think about having an ARM chip onboard is if it is programmable to be a device... like offload functions to it like a network controller does (most of them are arm based anymore)

neufuse said,
the only good thing I can really think about having an ARM chip onboard is if it is programmable to be a device... like offload functions to it like a network controller does (most of them are arm based anymore)

x86 CPUs are so powerful now that handling networking isn't really an issue like it used to be imo. Besides, I think this is just a easier way for them to target mobile devices in the end.

GP007 said,

x86 CPUs are so powerful now that handling networking isn't really an issue like it used to be imo. Besides, I think this is just a easier way for them to target mobile devices in the end.

network controller was just an example of what you could do with an onboard programmable arm chip, because I couldn't think of what they could come up with in the future needed a current example of something that is using ARM controllers

It would be nice if tablets had two processors: desktop apps could use the x86 processor and metro apps could use the arm one. When one is not in use, it goes into a sleep mode and turns on again when needed. That way, casual users won't be confused why they can't use their current software.

Terracotta said,
It would be nice if tablets had two processors: desktop apps could use the x86 processor and metro apps could use the arm one. When one is not in use, it goes into a sleep mode and turns on again when needed. That way, casual users won't be confused why they can't use their current software.

Increased cost, increased size of the device, switching between 2 would also produce less efficient battery usage.

That will be the issue with windows RT though...the consumer confussion, still it looks like MS is targeting Windows RT right at business I think consumers will be steered to x86 products.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Does this mean you'll be able to dual-boot Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT?

No, because of Microsoft's strict restrictions on which devices can use Windows RT.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Does this mean you'll be able to dual-boot Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT?

This my be possible, but it would be confusing to the user. It would require two different installs of Windows and apps, and unless they did some trickery to share data across the two installs but keep app data that is processor specific out of this shared location (64 and 32 bit data would not work, and I am not sure if the endian-ness of x86/Arm are the same) then you end up with corrupted data.

It would be nice, though. A tablet that for when you need power, and then switch to Arm when you need to save battery.

s3n4te said,
AMD's idea to include ARM in their CPUs is better than Intel's plan to create a new chip to compete with ARM.

why exactly?.... companies need to do their own thing to explore future tech instead of just following the trend to fit in