AMD to fuse ARMs technology in upcoming APUs


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AMD Finally ARMs Itself for New War on Intel

In its never-ending battle to compete with chip giant Intel, would AMD join forces with ARM, the company whose chip technology has come to dominate the mobile world and may soon find some serious purchase in the server world as well?

“The answer is not no,” Papermaster said.

Five months on, the inevitable has happened. On Wednesday, AMD announced that it has indeed signed a deal to license ARM’s chip architecture. But the pact isn’t quite the revolution many were expecting. That revolution may still come, but for the moment, AMD says it will merely use ARM technology to build new security tools into the chips it’s designing for tablets and other devices. It will not build entire processors based on the ARM architecture — at least not yet.

AMD has licensed ARM Cortex-A5 processor architecture — an architecture much simpler than what you find in, say, an iPhone — and this will be used to add new security tools into AMD’s APUs, or accelerated processing units, chips that include both a CPU and a graphics processor. Including mechanisms for encrypting data, these security tools are designed to prevent outsiders from accessing sensitive information handled by a wide range of computing devices.

These APUs chips will debut in handhelds, but will eventually be added to other hardware. “We’ll start with tablets and fan-less PC products but then move into products ranging from laptops, desktops, and ultimately cloud servers,” AMD chief information officer Mike Wolfe tells Wired. “We want to create a consistent ecosystem that provides end-to-end security from mobile devices all the way to the cloud server.”

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