Although ARM thinks it can talk AMD out of using x86, the nation's second largest CPU giant says there are no plans to license ARM's technology.
Recently we learned that AMD will be hosting the inaugural AMD Fusion Developer Summit (AFDS) at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Washington on June 13-16. The surprising news is that a keynote will be presented by ARM’s VP of technology Jem Davies who will talk about the future of heterogeneous computing and ARM's support for standards such as OpenCL. Now there's talk that ARM is trying to pull AMD away from the ancient x86 architecture altogether.
"AMD is a successful company selling microprocessors," ARM CEO Warren East said in a recent interview. "ARM is in the business of licensing microprocessor designs. It is perfectly natural that we should have been trying to sell microprocessor designs to AMD for about the last ten years. Hitherto we haven't been successful."
But that may change in the near future. "AMD has signaled they are going through a rethink of their strategy, and that must provide a heightened opportunity for ARM," East added. "They might use ARM microprocessors in the future and you've got to expect that we would be trying to persuade them of that."
East speculated that AMD would likely focus on ARM's upcoming Cortex-A15 as a possible license if negotiations were to start today, abandoning x86 and the expense of bringing the chips to tablets and smartphones. He also didn't rule out the possibility of licensing the Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9 tech as well. There's even speculation that AMD could modify its Fusion architecture to make room for both ARM and x86 cores in addition to the graphics cores.
But AMD doesn't plan on ditching the tried and true x86 architecture anytime soon. John Taylor, director of client product and software marketing at AMD, shot down any rumors of a possible ARM licensing Friday morning, pointing to the company's strong CPU and graphics technology.
"We've made a big bet on APUs, which are x86," Taylor said in an interview.
Next year the company will release its first dedicated tablet chips (Wichita, Krishna) based on the x86 instruction set. These will include up to four cores and combine the CPU and GPU like the Fusion platform. The company is even recruiting engineers to create chipset drivers for Google's Android OS, indicating that any type of licensing allegiance with ARM isn't in the immediate future.
Friday Taylor said that ARM and AMD share a few commonalities, and that is why Davies was invited to speak at the developer's conference in June. Both are developing multicore CPUs and programmable graphics cores, and both also believe in harnessing the combined computing power provided by CPUs and GPUs.