When AMD revealed an “ambidextrous” processor roadmap based on both x86 and ARM cores last Fall, it saved one surprise for today: they’ll be pin compatible!
As part of its roadmap update today, AMD announced that it has licensed 64-bit ARM architecture for use in developing “custom high-performance cores for high-growth markets.” Additionally, the company revealed details of “Project SkyBridge,” a combination x86/ARM strategy aimed at delivering “ambidextrous computing and graphics performance using a shared, flexible infrastructure” suitable to embedded, server, and client applications, as well as “semi-custom solutions.”
AMD’s ARM+x86 market projection
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Although AMD had already revealed much of this last September, today’s announcement provided a clearer picture of the company’s future processor roadmap, including what may well be its most interesting feature: the new family’s ARM- and x86-based processors will be pin-compatible with each other.
AMD’s updated “ambidextrous computing roadmap” highlights two key technologies:
- Project SkyBridge — a family of 20nm, pin-compatible ARM- and x86-based APUs (accelerated processing units) and SoCs (system-on-chips), available starting 2015. On the ARM side, a 64-bit processor based on ARM Cortex-A57 cores will implement the company’s first Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) platform for Android. On the x86 side, the Project SkyBridge family will offer models featuring next-generation Puma+ CPU cores combined with AMD Graphics Core Next technology, along with AMD Secure Technology via dedicated Platform Security Processors (PSPs).
- K12 project — led by Chief CPU Architect Jim Keller, the K12 project is developing a new high-performance, low-power ARM-based core that “takes deep advantage of AMD’s ARM architectural license [and] extensive 64-bit design expertise,” with first products based on K12 planned for 2016 introduction, says AMD.
We extracted the slides below from today’s Project Skybridge announcement.
AMD Project Skybridge roadmap
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In conjunction with its Project Skybridge and K2 announcement, AMD said that today it “demonstrated for the first time its 64-bit ARM-based AMD Opteron A-Series processor, codenamed ‘Seattle,’ running a Linux environment derived from the Fedora Project.” The Fedora-based Linux environment is said to enable development — and migration between — applications based on both x86- and ARM-based processors using common tools.
AMD’s complete announcement, including two presentations, is available here.