Published in PC Hardware

AMD Seattle ARM A57 64-bit announced

by on29 January 2014

4 to 8 cores, DDR3 or DDR4

AMD mentioned the existence of its first ARM based server part back in December and we mentioned it here. At the time AMD did not really talk about architecture specific details such as core numbers or memory of choice, but it went public with a few details and even the commercial name of the part, Opteron A1100. AMD will sample both the new CPU and the development platform this quarter, that's Q1 2014.

Opteron A1100 will come as a quad- or eight-core A57 ARM supporting ARM's ARMv8 64-bit instruction set. It comes with up to 4 MB of shared L2 and 8 MB of shared L3 cache and configurable dual DDR3 or DDR4 memory channels with ECC. AMD surprised us by mentioning DDR4 support, but we believe that the DDR4 version comes later rather than sooner. 

Servers based on Opteron A1100 parts will come with up to 4 SO-DIMM, UDIMM or RDIMMs, 8 lanes of PCI-Express Gen 3 I/O, 8 Serial ATA 3 ports and two 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Let us not forget the support for ARM TrustZone technology for enhanced security and crypto and data compression co-processors.

AMD mentioned that this is a 28nm manufactured part that comes as a part of development platform that includes the "Group Hug” motherboard and Opteron A1100.

The AMD Opteron A-Series development kit is packaged in a Micro-ATX form factor and it includes:

An AMD Opteron A1100 Series processor, 4 Registered DIMM slots for up to 128GB of DDR3 DRAM, PCI Express® connectors configurable as a single x8 or dual x4 ports, 8 Serial-ATA connectors, compatibility with standard power supplies, ability to be used stand-alone or mounted in standard rack-mount chassis as well as standard UEFI boot environment.

On the software side the development kit includes a Linux environment based on Fedora which provides developers with a rich set of tools and applications, standard Linux GNU tool chain, including cross-development version, platform device drivers, apache web server, MySQL database engine, and PHP scripting language for developing robust web serving applications as well as Java 7 and Java 8 versions to provide developers to work in a 64-bit ARM environment.

AMD will display the Seattle Opteron A1100 development kit as well as AMD Open CS 1.0 Server at Open Compute Summit show a show that started this week at the San Jose Convention Center.

This new server part gives AMD something that Intel doesn’t have - an ARMv8 64-bit part that might pick up quite a lot of interest due to its low power requirement, but we still have to wait and see the performance of this server part. The server fight is starting to look like Intel vs. AMD on the x86 front and Intel vs. rest of the world in other segments, where the competition has something that Intel doesn’t, the ARMv8 64-bit instruction set that might just offer a refreshing alternative.

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