We tend to associate AMD with the x86-64 ISA, since since the dawn of the PC it has been one of the top two manufacturers of processors for these devices. However, a few years ago they launched a variant of the ARM Cortex-A57 and came to have the development of the K12 cores at the hands of the famous architect Jim Keller, although this project ended on deaf ears. Well, it seems that AMD could return to the design of a processor with the most popular ISA among PostPC devices today.
The company run by Lisa Su has long since abandoned the intention of designing processors for devices other than the PC. This decision was made by the current president of AMD after coming to power, with the cancellation of the K12 being one of the first projects affected. The reason? AMD’s resources at that time were limited and their situation due to the fiasco of the Bulldozer cores and derivatives gave them no other way out than to put all their eggs in the Zen basket, a strategy that after several years has been the right one.
Is AMD really interested in adopting ARM?
AMD’s interest in ARM does not come from a rumor, nor is it the speculation of any analyst, but it comes from Devin Kumar who is the company’s CFO, specifically, from a statement at the Deutsche Bank technology conference:
I will tell you my point of view, when you look at the different solutions in computing and regardless of whether they are x86 or ARM or even from other areas, we pay attention to our investments.
To which Kumar himself has added:
We know computing really well. Even ARM, as you have referenced, and we have a good relationship with them. We understand that our clients want us to work with those particular products and we can deliver concrete solutions. We are prepared to move forward even if it is not x86, even though we think it is the dominant force in this area.
It is normal that AMD wants to expand its market beyond the PC world and create its own processors with the most popular ISA in PostPC devices. In any case, the use of ARM by AMD is not a novelty, since for example the Platform Security Processor works with a microcontroller with said set of registers and instructions. The problem is that in the midst of the storm caused by NVIDIA’s purchase of ARM Holdings, these plans could not be executed, since Jen-Hsun Huang’s are not going to give bullets to one of his main rivals. .