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AMD Hints at Possible ARM Partnership

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April 26, 2011 4:05:10 AM

do you have to be a developer? I would like to attend to get some insight as for their ARM idea and also a future career at AMD.
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April 26, 2011 4:10:14 AM

So does this mean that AMD is just giving up?
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April 26, 2011 4:14:12 AM

x4dmSo does this mean that AMD is just giving up?

Of course not, it could mean they are seeing what they think is writing on the walls and wanted to abandon x86, keep in that AMD's ultimate vision, the Fusion processor will not be a Phenom + GPU, it would have homogeneous dual-capability cores. So basically 1 core could do both CPU and GPU work.

This also means the future completed fusion could probably work well with both ARM and x86.
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April 26, 2011 4:28:54 AM

AMD is gr8 in all other CPU markets except ARM thats where ARM comes into picture, imagine AMD+ARM Intel will be in trouble and also Samsung will be trouble.
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April 26, 2011 4:34:55 AM

. . . or they've realized that they're never going to catch the lead dog and they're trying something new.
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April 26, 2011 4:43:01 AM

jkflipflop98. . . or they've realized that they're never going to catch the lead dog and they're trying something new.

or they're using their heads and branching out to other profitable areas.
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April 26, 2011 4:48:20 AM

or maybe ARM asked AMD to give them a 'hand' .... get it?
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April 26, 2011 4:54:42 AM

Marco925or they're using their heads and branching out to other profitable areas.

+1

Would be stupid to pretend that ARM isn't going to be a huge player in the future. Especially in the mobile market. I honestly wouldn't mind if ARM takes over x86 in the desktop market, but ARM will need a lot of work for that to happen.
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April 26, 2011 5:14:24 AM

... i would glad to have an iPhone with radeon in it... tegra ir an ARM/nVidia chip... so why not a ARM/ATi?
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April 26, 2011 5:17:43 AM

x4dmSo does this mean that AMD is just giving up?

no it means AMD has to do what intel doesn't in order to thrive. "get in where you fit in!" - snoop dogg
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April 26, 2011 5:21:51 AM

Not to burst your bubble, but ATI is dead. AMD's the name now.
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April 26, 2011 5:25:36 AM

DjEaZy... i would glad to have an iPhone with radeon in it... tegra ir an ARM/nVidia chip... so why not a ARM/ATi?



AznShinobiNot to burst your bubble, but ATI is dead. AMD's the name now.


... but you get the point?
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April 26, 2011 5:27:29 AM

I welcome any competition that will drive innovation that will drive competition, etc.
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April 26, 2011 6:27:12 AM

DjEaZy... i would glad to have an iPhone with radeon in it... tegra ir an ARM/nVidia chip... so why not a ARM/ATi?

Oh, and what would you do with it? Encode video? Animate menus "even smoother"? Play games? Sigh...
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April 26, 2011 7:01:27 AM

They see how Nvidia is starting to dominate the market with tegra2 and AMD wants a piece of the pie.
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April 26, 2011 8:06:30 AM

I want a phone with an ARMADAMIT chipset
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April 26, 2011 8:12:01 AM

BlessedmanThey see how Nvidia is starting to dominate the market with tegra2 and AMD wants a piece of the pie.



Tegra 2 devices are few and far between, Nvidia is at best a bit player in the Arm marketplace and to think otherwise is a mistake.
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April 26, 2011 8:31:19 AM

alhanelemor maybe ARM asked AMD to give them a 'hand' .... get it?

haha
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April 26, 2011 9:39:07 AM

Not that i am not interested in what will happen with this (hopefully good things) but the lack of bulldozer news is disturbing...
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April 26, 2011 10:08:01 AM

"Of course not, it could mean they are seeing what they think is writing on the walls and wanted to abandon x86"

I partly agree. I agree that they may see it as writing on the wall to get into the bandwagon of mobile devices but they don’t necessary need to abandon x86 altogether. Any good business will follow where the money goes.
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April 26, 2011 10:55:54 AM

Who are they gonna join up with, Torso?
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April 26, 2011 11:06:33 AM

BlessedmanThey see how Nvidia is starting to dominate the market with tegra2 and AMD wants a piece of the pie.

... dominate is a too strong word... the tegra 2 is outdated already... so that's why nVidia is so fast working on tegra 3...
kartuOh, and what would you do with it? Encode video? Animate menus "even smoother"? Play games? Sigh...

... and why not... apple changed from nVidia to AMD/ATi in MacBook Pro's... why not in mobile space... ?
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April 26, 2011 11:15:33 AM

How long has intel been trying to shrink x86 to the point where it consumes roughly the same power as ARM? years? and they've gotten nowhere but a crappy atom processor that doesn't even belong in netbooks and too hungry for tablets.

AMD is more willing to step away from x86 to produce something new, whereas intel has pretty much stated from the beginning they'll be sticking with x86 thru hell and high water. But the fact is x86 just doesn't do well in such small devices where power consumption trumps all. You can produce the processors at 15nm with all the power saving tricks available but it won't match up to an ARM on that front.
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April 26, 2011 11:50:50 AM

The only reason for AMD to go ARM is if they lost faith in Fusion...wasn't tat suppost to be their big thing for tablets/smartphones?
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April 26, 2011 12:07:00 PM

No, AMD never had a horse in the phone/tablet race. The first generation of fusion was meant for netbooks, lappies and desktops. and it's not as if it's not been selling...

http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/display/20110424165526...

Intel's atom was their attempt to shrink x86 down to a platform that was feasible for phones and tablets and they never accomplished that (maybe the new gen will appear in tablets, they have OEM partners iirc), but fusion is just what it means... CPU + GPU fused. when AMD bought ati they didn't do it because their CPU business stunk, they did it because they saw fusion tech as something they can do very well, but it's all still x86, and thus inherently leeches way too much power and incredibly costly to produce in comparison to the ARM stuff.
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April 26, 2011 1:23:20 PM

Fusion turned out to be utter crap as many reviews showed, something i said it will be a crap before it was even released. If i was AMD or Intel i would slap Athlon XP into mobile device or let's say Intel Pentium IV. With the current technology they can make those cpus so small and power draw couple W.

x86 is future for mobile market. Why re-invent the wheel when wheel is already there and plenty to choose from!!!
Having x86 cpu in mobile device you get limitless options.

ARM -> CRAP, Nvidia is wasting their time with it.
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April 26, 2011 1:32:36 PM

fusion isn't crap, which reviews are you reading? you just admitted you had a bias before the thing even launched.

it made it into a tablet already ... Acer Iconia W500. I would imagine its battery life strugles, but its a full fledged win 7 machine.
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April 26, 2011 1:42:29 PM

or... or... maybe ARM can have a tie up with AMD for graphic system. why are we not thinking the other way around.
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April 26, 2011 2:01:06 PM

yes !! finally we can dump that crappy old school x86 :D 
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April 26, 2011 2:11:31 PM

ARM + Radeon seems like a natural choice for Fusion, especially if you use the shader cores to strengthen the ARM chip's floating-point operations. NVidia's Tegra can already use CUDA, but developers haven't really taken advantage of that yet. AMD could stall them by promising OpenCL! And imagine combining Bulldozer's modular approach (sharing certain functional units) with Fusion's goals! AMD's biggest obstacle might be manufacturing, since 32nm gave them so much trouble. It would be really cool to have Windows 8 ARM using AMD Fusion/Radeon, as long as we also get software that can run on it.
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April 26, 2011 2:24:59 PM

I would hope that their partnership would be more to do with manufacturing smaller chips as ARM is already releasing samples far smaller than AMD. With Intel boasting 22nm or w/e AMD really have to do something radical to catch up
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April 26, 2011 2:50:41 PM

lradunovic77Fusion turned out to be utter crap as many reviews showed, something i said it will be a crap before it was even released. If i was AMD or Intel i would slap Athlon XP into mobile device or let's say Intel Pentium IV. With the current technology they can make those cpus so small and power draw couple W.x86 is future for mobile market. Why re-invent the wheel when wheel is already there and plenty to choose from!!!Having x86 cpu in mobile device you get limitless options.ARM -> CRAP, Nvidia is wasting their time with it.


Nearly all the reviews for fusion have been nothing but positive. In fact the first gen fusion chips have been selling like hotcakes.

AMD is much more willing to look past x86 than Intel is. Intel has been trying to forcefully ram x86 down into a low-power segment of the market where, at least for the near future, it doesn't belong. The new atoms will still have a much higher power draw and they're far more expensive than ARM chips. The issue with x86 isn't that it's not feasible -- it is, but that's years down the line. When you take into account the manufacturing costs of bringing x86 down to ARM level then you realize that it may just not be worth it.

The one thing that may change that is an incredible revolution in batteries for these mobile devices, but that's something that's holding technology back as a whole and not just x86. Furthermore, intel/amd on x86 would still have to compete with a cheaper product that draws less power.
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April 26, 2011 2:58:11 PM

gamerk316The only reason for AMD to go ARM is if they lost faith in Fusion...wasn't tat suppost to be their big thing for tablets/smartphones?


Er...no? Fusion is just AMD's name for integrated graphics built into a CPU chip. That CPU component can well be a ARM cpu. For AMD this may be the way to go with their rather limited R&D budget compare to intel.

As for intel, I actually would not be surprised if intel somehow brute forcing the x86 chip to be as power efficient as ARM, given them enough time. After all, they got the money.
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April 26, 2011 3:29:04 PM

pitaEr...no? Fusion is just AMD's name for integrated graphics built into a CPU chip. That CPU component can well be a ARM cpu. For AMD this may be the way to go with their rather limited R&D budget compare to intel. As for intel, I actually would not be surprised if intel somehow brute forcing the x86 chip to be as power efficient as ARM, given them enough time. After all, they got the money.


Given enough time, I can see it happening. The question though isn't whether intel has enough money or time to do it, but rather do we as consumers have the patience and the wallet size to pay for it? x86 at that level will inevitably be much more expensive, and bear in mind that ARM-based advancements are coming along quite nicely. We're seeing 1ghz dual core stuff already, and by next year there's talk of quad core arm architecture hitting the market and running low profile and power servers. In that time frame Intel simply can't manage to shrink x86 down to the same level. 2-4 years maybe, but if you take into account the timescale of atom advancements and just how minimal they are with respect to what they should be accomplishing, and don't forget the price, it just seems too damn slow and costly.
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April 26, 2011 3:36:58 PM

Ooopsy
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April 26, 2011 3:40:00 PM

well... here's my 2 pence...

Chip companies are going to do what chip companies choose to do. It's up to the software developers to write software to run on the products that are on the market. That's why we have competition, to give those developers a choice.

Personally, I'd love to see AMD eat up a bit more market share. To me, they seem more reliable and a bit more honest in business practice than Intel. I really think they've got a good base now, strong CPU background, now a major player in the GPU market, and if they make ties with ARM, then the mobile market may get shaken up. We'll just have to see what happens! I think the CPU market gets more interesting each day.
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April 26, 2011 3:43:17 PM

This will be interesting for AMD.
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April 26, 2011 3:52:13 PM

fyasko said:
"get in where you fit in!" - snoop dogg
Too Short not Snoop Dogg.
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April 26, 2011 4:36:18 PM

AMD, ARM, and Micro$oft? This is really spicy.
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April 26, 2011 5:40:12 PM

Good decision not to have this summit in Sunnyvale,CA. You know with all the Vampires, doomsday scenarios, witches, and angsty teens having sex.
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April 26, 2011 6:54:52 PM

pelovGiven enough time, I can see it happening. The question though isn't whether intel has enough money or time to do it, but rather do we as consumers have the patience and the wallet size to pay for it? x86 at that level will inevitably be much more expensive, and bear in mind that ARM-based advancements are coming along quite nicely. We're seeing 1ghz dual core stuff already, and by next year there's talk of quad core arm architecture hitting the market and running low profile and power servers. In that time frame Intel simply can't manage to shrink x86 down to the same level. 2-4 years maybe, but if you take into account the timescale of atom advancements and just how minimal they are with respect to what they should be accomplishing, and don't forget the price, it just seems too damn slow and costly.


What you're saying makes no sense. x86 is a cumbersome, bloated, inefficient instruction set, and will be two or four years from now. Intel can try to get it to work, but it's always going to be a disadvantage - then or now. They can use their superior manufacturing to offset it to some extent.

But, then, ARM is an old, crappy instruction set, just not as bad. AMD has been run by a monkey named Ruiz, and now that they are out of his dark shadow have a chance to innovate. Using an obsolete instruction set that was heavily influenced by the 6502, a 1970s processor, is not the solution. They should create a new instruction set that is highly efficient, and offer it at a price that it can become a new standard. ARM doesn't matter at all, who cares if they have an ARM processor or not? Do you think people buying an iPhone really care? They care what it runs, and ARM doesn't have a huge installed base. Better to start off fresh, and have Intel try to compete with their horrible instruction set against your very efficient one, instead of your not as bad instruction set.

The answer doesn't lie in the 1970s. We don't need x86 or ARM. We need something 2011.
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April 26, 2011 7:13:16 PM

TA152HWhat you're saying makes no sense. x86 is a cumbersome, bloated, inefficient instruction set, and will be two or four years from now. Intel can try to get it to work, but it's always going to be a disadvantage - then or now. They can use their superior manufacturing to offset it to some extent.But, then, ARM is an old, crappy instruction set, just not as bad. AMD has been run by a monkey named Ruiz, and now that they are out of his dark shadow have a chance to innovate. Using an obsolete instruction set that was heavily influenced by the 6502, a 1970s processor, is not the solution. They should create a new instruction set that is highly efficient, and offer it at a price that it can become a new standard. ARM doesn't matter at all, who cares if they have an ARM processor or not? Do you think people buying an iPhone really care? They care what it runs, and ARM doesn't have a huge installed base. Better to start off fresh, and have Intel try to compete with their horrible instruction set against your very efficient one, instead of your not as bad instruction set. The answer doesn't lie in the 1970s. We don't need x86 or ARM. We need something 2011.


I'm not disagreeing with you, in fact we're in nearly full agreement. I too think x86 is too bloated to work on small-scale mobile devices where power consumption is pivotal. But i too think intel can close that gap considerably, but it'd take a LOT of time and a LOT of money, both of which mean less success when considering just how cheap ARM architecture chips are to make. The new atom processors are essentially halved old atom processors, where the clock speed is reduced and as is the power consumption, yet it's still way too high.

The issues are the same with either architecture but at opposite ends. I've read interviews with Nvidia heads where they've said ARM can handle server applications that require low wattage and don't need lots of horsepower (lots of cores, low power), but replacing the desktop CPU is not even on their minds. x86 faces the issue of not being able to shrink itself to a point where it can leech off of a relatively small-sized battery for extended periods of time.

Both Intel and AMD have stated that they can potentially shrink x86 down to a point where it competes with ARM in terms of power consumption, but whether that's wishful thinking and hoping to maximize profits as the only real x86 license holders, or whether it's actually feasible in the near future is a big big question for today's leaders in that field.

Can they introduce another player in the field? Yes, but getting people to back it, particularly in the field where so many different parts are working in unison that it requires (or really favors) a steady and stagnant approach is very risky.

I do think, though, that AMD does hold a bit of an advantage if it were to decide to try something new. CPU and GPU under the same roof along with a history of making big innovations that required risky behavior (first to 64bit, first APU) is something that should breed creativity.
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April 26, 2011 7:37:46 PM

... and the other thing... Windows 8 will support ARM too...
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April 26, 2011 8:50:17 PM

i expect something revolutionary to appear
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April 26, 2011 11:03:20 PM

DjEaZy... and the other thing... Windows 8 will support ARM too...


+1 Exactly! When the software no longer needs x86 whoever makes products faster and cheaper will win market share. If AMD partners with ARM they are widening their potential market share.
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April 27, 2011 3:25:36 AM

yet again nothing but posts from AMD fanbois supporting the world's dollar store class CPU.
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April 27, 2011 6:12:39 AM

Possible heterogeneous computing..?


AMD has been naughty behind the scenes.
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April 27, 2011 6:41:55 AM

Ok people need to stop with the nonsense. You can not compare "x86" and "ARM" because both are ambiguous words used for multiple things. There hasn't been a "x86" CPU made in a very long time. All currently implementations of the x86 instruction set, and its 64-bit extension are done through front side instruction interpreters. Example is the AMD CPU, every since the original Athlon its been a RISC CPU running with an instruction decode unit that receives CISC x86 instructions and created micro-ops and dispatch's them to the internal CPU engines. Intel follows a similar design, though theirs tends to be more "CISC" like.

ARM on the other hand isn't a CPU, its a licensed architecture. Companies license the design's from ARM and can either built the reference design or customize (Samsung) it for their own use. Each CPU produced this way isn't 100% compatible with other ARM CPU's and tends to handle memory mapping differently.

For power, ARM is a very very ~low~ power design. And by low power I mean both electrical usage and processing capability. It simply isn't a powerful CPU, never was designed to be. Also between the two design's x86 is more suited for general purpose processing then ARM is. If you want a low power x86 CPU you don't use something like Atom as Intel deliberately neutered the design to prevent it from competing with the i3's for low power Kiosk / Web systems. You would instead use something like a Via Nano or an AMD Geode. Both CPU's are significantly stronger then an Atom due to them being superscaler architectures.

And before anyone makes a snide comment about Via's not being made, your just not looking in the right places. Nearly every ATM, Point of Sale or Electronic slot machine contains a Via CPU. Their CPU's can run at 1~1.3 GHZ without a fan in both blazing hot weather ~and~ freezing cold weather. They make amazing set-top systems or network attached devices.
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