AMD ready to diversify its portfolio with ARM-based chips
ARM’s processor architecture is undisputedly dominating the smartphone market and, as of 2020 with the introduction of Apple’s M1 chips, it also emerged as an extremely power-efficient solution for thin and light notebooks or even tablets, catching Intel and AMD off guard. Nvidia is also trying to make ARM relevant in the datacenter market, regardless of its pending plans to acquire ARM, which might actually fall through. The desktop market seems to be the only one where ARM does not see much of a representation, but this could soon change, as AMD now appears to be interested in implementing the ARM architecture into more custom silicon solutions for some of its customers.
AMD’s renewed interest in ARM’s tech was recently voiced by CFO Devinder Kumar at the Deutsche Bank Technology Conference. Interestingly enough, Kumar noted that the ARM architecture is not the only x86 alternative that could be further explored by AMD: “[...] when you look at compute solutions, whether it's x86 or ARM or even other areas, that is an area for our focus on investment for us.” AMD might be looking to diversify its portfolio with ARM-based, as well as RISC-V-based processors. Furthermore, Kumar pointed out that AMD is aware that increased ARM adoption could undermine its own x86 dominance: “[...] we have a very good relationship with ARM. And we understand that our customers want to work with us with that particular product to deliver the solutions. We stand ready to go ahead and do that even though it's not x86, although we believe x86 is a dominant strength in that area."
Since AMD intends to use the newly acquired Xilinx tech for future datacenter solutions, it is more likely that the ARM architecture would make it to desktop and even laptop processors. However, AMD could also combine ARM with x86 and RISC-V on mobile, desktop and datacenter processors via the Infinity Fabric technology. Apple proved that in-house ARM-based designs can be very profitable, so now, some companies are trying to come up with their own ARM solutions, and AMD certainly wants to capitalize on this trend, as well.