AMD Concedes Die-Shrink Race to Intel, Considers ARM Cores

By | February 6, 2012

Don’t expect AMD to be pumping out Cortex-A15 quad-cores this year, by AMD dropped some pretty clear hints that it was mulling testing the ARM waters.  For the uninitiated ARM is one of two main architectures that is today vying for global CPU supremacy.

Traditionally AMD and rival Intel Corp. (INTC) have supported x86, a complex instruction set computer (CISC) style of architecture.  x86 chips have dominated traditional personal computers, outshipping all other archictectures in this segment.

On the other side of the fence is ARM, a reduced instruction set computer (RISC) style of architecture.  ARM chips are produced by third parties based on the instruction set, and often, on the intellectual property (IP) core designs of England’s ARM Holdings plc (LON:ARM).  Today ARM dominates the mobile devices space and is the world’s most used CPU outshipping x86 chips in quantity thanks to its strong embedded market share.  Top mobile device ARM chipmakers in today’s market include Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN), Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930), Marvell Technology Group ltd. (MRVL), and NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA).

Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) Windows 8 will be the first mainline version of Windows to support ARM chips in its personal computers.  There’s also growing interest in ARM in the datacenter space, thanks to its strong power performance.