AMD is hoping that new ARM processors will help it in the low-power server market, but they won’t stop making x86 server CPUs.

Amidst all the other news today, AMD also slipped in a small but potentially momentous announcement. Beginning in 2014, AMD will begin shipping Opteron server processors based on the low-power ARM architecture, in addition to the x86-based Opterons that it has been shipping for years.

Calling it a “historic day” for the company, AMD President and CEO Rory Read hopes that the new chips will “disrupt the status quo” and “drive the industry to where it needs to go to inspire competition and to enable our customers to do more.”

AMD’s new ARM-based Opterons will be 64-bit chips, which suggests that the company is using something other than ARM’s Cortex A15 architecture—while Cortex A15 supports hardware virtualization and other server-ready features, it uses the ARMv7s instruction set, while the ARMv8 ISA is required for 64-bit support. It’s also possible AMD is designing its own custom-tailored ARM chip, as has also been done by licensees like Qualcomm and Apple, though AnandTech notes that the announcement today refers specifically to an architecture license, making a custom-designed core unlikely.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

via Ars Technica » Technology Lab