AMD's Project SkyBridge to bring world’s first pin-compatible ARM and x86 CPUs next year


In San Francisco today, AMD unveiled their new ‘Ambidextrous Computing’ roadmap for the next couple of years. While not much has changed on the desktop and GPU front from what we already know so far, the mobile/tablet computing space is where the excitement lies.

 

Come 2015, AMD will launch ‘Project SkyBridge’ – a brand new computing platform based on 20nm fabrication process which will offer pin-compatible ARM and x86 processors.

 

What this essentially means is that OEM’s will be able to drop either an ARM SoC or an x86 APU on the same motherboard. This gives AMD and OEMs the flexibility to offer a more diverse product range without having to incur too much overhead. Also, if one platform starts pulling ahead of the other in terms of sales, OEMs can adjust more easily to the increase in demand.

 

“Our innovative ambidextrous design capability, combined with our portfolio of IP and expertise with high-performance SoCs, means that AMD is set to deliver ambidextrous solutions that enable our customers to change the world in more efficient and powerful ways”, said Rory Read, AMD President and CEO.

AMDs Project SkyBridge to bring world’s first pin-compatible ARM and x86 CPUs next year

AMD is working on a in-house developed ARM-based CPU for 2016

 

The 64-bit ARM variant of ‘Project SkyBridge’ will be based on the ARM Cortex-A57 core and is AMD’s first Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) platform for Android. Meanwhile, the x86 variant will feature next-generation “Puma+” CPU cores. The ‘Project SkyBridge’ family will feature full SoC integration, AMD Graphics Core Next technology, HSA, and AMD Secure Technology via a dedicated Platform Security Processor (PSP).

 

While the first batch of ‘Project SkyBridge’ will make do with a Cortex-A57 CPU, AMD will be introducing “K12” – their first ever high-performance, low-power ARM-based core that takes deep advantage of AMD’s ARM architectural license and extensive 64-bit design expertise. The new chip is planned for 2016 and not anytime sooner. This is a similar to what Nvidia announced this year with Project Denver.

 

The market for ARM and x86-based processors is expected to grow to more than $85 billion by 2017 and AMD is not leaving anything up to chance.