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AMD details ARM-based Opteron, plans sampling this quarter

Advanced Micro Devices has released additional details regarding the first server-class AMD Opteron A1100 microprocessor code-named “Seattle” based on ARMv8 micro-architecture. In addition, the company said that it would begin to send the chips to software developers to help programmers to tune their apps to 64-bit ARM technology already this quarter.

AMD Opteron A1100 is a highly-integrated system-on-chip with up to eight ARM Cortex-A57 64-bit general-purpose cores with up to 4MB shared L2 cache and 8MB shared L3 cache; the chip also carries extensive offload engines for better power efficiency and reduced CPU loading, including server caliber encryption, and compression. The microprocessor features server-class dual-channel memory controller that supports up to 128GB of DDR3 or DDR4 ECC memory as unbuffered DIMMs, registered DIMMs or SODIMMs. In addition, AMD Opteron A1100 processor has extensive integrated I/O, including eight PCI Express 3.0 lanes, two 10Gb/s Ethernet ports, Freedom fabric and eight Serial ATA-3.0 ports. The chips will be made using 28nm process technology.

AMD has also announced plans to sample pre-production Opteron A1100 microprocessors to software developers so that to ensure that various programs are optimized for ARM Holding’s 64-bit technology in general and AMD’s system-on-chips in particular. By using AMD's Opteron A-series development kit, developers can contribute to the fast growing software ecosystem that already includes operating systems, compilers, hypervisors and applications.


Numerous operating system vendors have promised will support the 64-bit ARM ecosystem, including Canonical, Red Hat and SUSE, while virtualization will be enabled through KVM and Xen.

The OS support is complemented with programming language support, with Oracle and the community-driven OpenJDK porting versions of Java onto the 64-bit ARM architecture. Other languages that will run on AMD Opteron A-Series processors include Perl, PHP, Python and Ruby. The widespread GNU C compiler and the important GNU C Library have already been ported to the 64-bit ARM architecture

The Sunnyvale, California-based AMD plans to start commercial shipments of Opteron A1100 system-on-chips in the second half of the year.

KitGuru Says: AMD seems to be the first company to roll-out a server-class ARMv8-based system-on-chip. It remains to be seen how successful will the Opteron A1100 be on the market in general. In case AMD is lucky, then later this year it will get a boost from its micro-server SeaMicro division which will use the processor inside its machines for scale-out workloads.

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