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AMD announces 'SkyBridge' chips to bring together X86 and ARM

Mark Hachman | May 6, 2014
AMD showed off "Seattle," its first ARM chips for servers. But more important was AMD's announcement of "SkyBridge," which will bring together ARM and AMD's traditional X86 chips.

SkyBridge: additional flexibility

AMD executives didn't exactly make clear what the selling points of SkyBridge would be to customers. According to Paul Santeler, the general manager of Hewlett-Packard's Hyperscale business unit, however, providing both ARM and X86 solutions provides a "pretty fair fight" that will allow a customer to use them interchangeably. "There's not too many devices that you can touch that don't have ARM in them," he said.

At AMD, however, the addition of the ARM technology adds another arrow to its technology quiver, executives said.  "We've done servers, we've done high frequency, we've done scalability," Jim Keller, the head of the design team on the AMD K12, said of the addition of the ARM license. "With ARM, we can extend the range."

According to Mark Papermaster, AMD's chief technology officer, SkyBridge will be "the underpinnings of all of our ambidextrous designs going forward," he said.

SkyBridge will be implemented in 20-nm designs, the next step beyond AMD's current 28-nm manufacturing node. Executives did not reveal any details about the K12, including its manufacturing process or its expected capabilities.

 

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