The first AMD-based ARM server will come from SoftIron, which is selling a system called Overdrive. AMD is working with Beaconworks on a storage system, and Foxconn-backed Caswell on a network-function virtualization system.
It hasn't been an easy road for ARM server chip makers, and AMD will have its struggles in the face of competition, Brookwood said. Pioneer Calxeda shut down after running out of cash and Samsung quit after it saw ARM servers not being a viable market. Qualcomm has announced ARM server chips and Amazon said it will sell ARM-based chips for media servers and storage and networking equipment.
The Opteron A1100 server chips will be priced in the range of US$150 and deliver performance equivalent to Intel's Atom server chip, Bounds said. The last Atom C-series chips were introduced in 2013.
The top-line Opteron A1170 runs at a clock speed of 2.0GHz while the A1150 is 1.7GHz. The chips draw 32 watts of power, have 4MB of L2 cache, 8MB of L3 cache and support DDR3 and DDR4 memory. Theychips have eight PCI-Express Gen3 lanes, two 10-gigabit Ethernet ports, and 14 SATA 3 storage ports. They also have a co-processor that handles authentication and encryption.
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