AMD Unveils Project Skybridge, a Single Chip for Both x86 and ARM Sockets
AMD has revealed its roadmap for its x86 and ARM products at its Core Innovation Update event. The biggest announcement during the press conference was the unveiling of Project Skybridge which is AMD’s attempt at creating x86 and ARM SoCs (system-on-a-chip) that are pin-compatible with each other.
Project Skybridge, currently scheduled for release in 2015, will begin with a line of low power 20nm chips – the ARM chips will be based on Cortex A57 cores while the x86 chips will use Puma cores and will both feature Graphics Core Next GPUs and full HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture) support. The chips, which AMD is calling an “ambidextrous design framework, will be pin-compatible which means that both chips will work on the same socket without the need for any modifications.
The reasoning behind Project Skybridge, according to AMD, is the continuing decline of the x86 market and the rapid growth of ARM-based devices. The company says that offering OEMs a flexible solution enables AMD to easily expand and operate in both markets as well as provide OEMs the opportunity to design a wide range of products from low-end to higher-end devices using the same platform. Additionally, while AMD usually offers its x86 and its current ARM solutions for servers, Project Skybridge will be targeted towards more consumer products.
“This is the beginning of the family of products that will offer customers capability and flexibility,” Su said. “It’s going to be ARM and x86. These are the two most important architectures.”
Also revealed at the event was AMD’s first custom-designed ARM core, dubbed K12, along with an all new x86 core both expected to be either 14nm or 16nm chips. AMD didn’t reveal a lot about both cores but did say they are expected to launch sometime in 2016. In the meantime, AMD still has its latest ARM chip called Seattle that’s a 28nm Cortex A57-based chip was initially revealed last year. According to AMD, the Seattle chip will be released sometime this year. Other “current” chips that AMD showed off but talked little about include chips code-named “Warsaw” and “Berlin”.