Samsung Eyes a Dive Into Lucrative Server Chip Market
November 8, 2012 4:48 PM
comment(s) - last by
New 64-bit ARM license may be put to use for more than just mobile consumer product
The list of server chipmakers developing solutions based on ARM Holdings plc's (
) proprietary reduced instruction set computer (RISC) architecture is growing. After announcements last year from the startup Calxeda -- an ARM Holdings subsidiary that is targeting low-power niche servers -- Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (
rocked the market
with last week's announcement that it would be making ARM-based Opterons, utilizing ARM's new
64-bit Cortex-A50 intellectual property core
I. Samsung Next to the ARM Server Party?
suggest that Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
) may be preparing a new line of 64-bit ARM server chips to be deployed in 2014.
The rumors come after Samsung licensed ARM's new Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57 intellectual property cores. The decision to license the Cortex-A57 was particularly interesting, given that ARM Holdings indicated it was a higher-performance core aimed largely at the server market.
Samsung is licensing ARM's server-geared Cortex-A57. [Image Source: ARM]
Currently, Samsung produces a line of smartphone and tablet processors under the brand name
. These ARM-based chips are produced at Samsung's in-house fabs and almost entirely go into Samsung's own smartphone and tablet designs. But Samsung is diversifying away from just tablets/smartphones.
It's working on potential Windows RT devices and recently unveiled a $249 USD Exynos 5 Dual (5250) based "ChromeBook". The
is a joint effort with Google Inc. (
) and runs
Google's new "Aura" user interface
II. Recent Hires Bring Server Savvy to Samsung
Simple financial figures would suggest ample incentive for Samsung to expand its efforts into server chips. While chipmaking tends to be a relatively low margin business, by nature, server chips sports some of the biggest profit returns in the industry, albeit being difficult to design.
More concrete clues to Samsung's potential aspirations come from the company's recruitment of Pat Patla to its growing team of chip design engineers at a new expansion of its Texas faculties. Mr. Patla was formerly the general manager and vice president of server processors at AMD.
Samsung has hired on top server chip designers at its Texas facility.
[Image Source: Let's Go Digital]
According to Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64, Samsung's approach may target lower cost points than AMD's own ARM server offerings, but be more minimalist in features. Specifically, he says that while Calxeda and AMD are baking networking and storage interfacing features onto their system-on-a-chips, Samsung might opt for a more basic multi-core server system-on-a-chip, leaving the other features to dedicated pieces of the chipset.
Overall ARM appears very well positioned for the new wave in the server market. The overall market trend is towards ubiquitous virtualization. Virtualization is inherently well suited for processors with many small cores, as each core can then handle one or two virtual machines. Thus a multicore ARM chip enjoys certain inherent advantages over x86 chips based on more monolithic core designs, which in turn necessitate more complex load balance schemes.
Samsung already enjoys close relationships with
top server makers Dell
, Inc. (
), as it
sells them DRAM
and storage products. Dell is currently testing 32-bit ARM servers, which use special chips from Marvell Technology Group ltd. (
), while HP is developing 32-bit servers with Calxeda.
Facebook, Inc. (
) is among the largest computing clients to have expressed interest in deploying an ARM server farm.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Poor AMD
11/9/2012 12:37:26 PM
Plus, at the same time, the purchase might not be allowed to go ahead as it means Intel would have to relinquish their x86-64 license as a result of AMD leaving the contract. Intel would find themselves only having one 64-bit architecture and they're hardly going to push Itanium out of its little niche into bigger things.
RE: Poor AMD
11/10/2012 3:09:07 AM
I believe it is the case that AMD doesn't have full control of their x86 license. That is, they can't sell it, and if AMD gets acquired, the license doesn't necessarily go with it. However, the x86-64 license might give AMD/potential buyers the leverage they need over Intel - let the x86 license transfer, and leave the cross-licensing agreements in place.
I'd bet, though, that Intel would squeeze AMD on the x86-64 license and the AMD board would be stupid enough to sell it. Plus, Intel probably wouldn't look too kindly on letting the x86 license go to Samsung, who are already competing to a degree (Exynos against Medfield) and have all but announced their intention to step on Intel's toes (picking up a 64-bit ARM license.)
"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
ARM Goes 64-bit: Cortex-A50 Surfaces, to Target Everything From Server to Phones
October 31, 2012, 11:14 AM
Dell Teams With Marvell to Launch ARM Data Center Servers
May 30, 2012, 12:00 PM
Google Tries to Revive Chrome OS By Making It Look More Like Windows
April 10, 2012, 10:11 AM
Project Moonshot: HP's Secret ARM Servers Get Official
November 2, 2011, 12:27 PM
Samsung is Only Profitable DRAM Maker, Eyes Smartphone Sales Lead
October 7, 2011, 12:24 PM
Sony May Consider Spinning Off Entertainment Division
May 22, 2013, 8:19 AM
Seawater Cooling Saves Data Center Big Bucks, Energy, Despite Jellyfish Issues
May 17, 2013, 3:23 PM
Dell Profits Shrink as Contenders Battle to Buyout Company
May 17, 2013, 9:32 AM
AMD, Microsoft Beat Analyst Estimates, Despite Struggles
April 19, 2013, 12:02 PM
Botched Malwarebytes Security Update Cripples Thousands of Computers
April 18, 2013, 10:59 AM
South Korean Police Raid Samsung Offices During OLED Investigation
April 10, 2013, 11:48 AM
Most Popular Articles
High School Student Creates Storage Device that Can Charge in 20 Seconds
May 20, 2013, 6:51 AM
Apples Tries to Use Decade-Old Patents to Ban Samsung Galaxy S IV
May 22, 2013, 3:00 PM
NASA Awards $125,000 Grant for 3D Printed Food on Long-Term Space Travels
May 21, 2013, 1:32 PM
Microsoft Announces Voice-Controlled "Xbox One"
May 21, 2013, 12:55 AM
Cure For Baldness Could Be on Store Shelves within Two Years
May 22, 2013, 8:29 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Lumosity: Does it Work?
May 22, 2013, 8:20 PM
Quick Note: Sony "Teases" PS4 Ahead of Xbox Reveal in New Video
May 20, 2013, 12:33 PM
Nokia Introduces Instagram-Like App of Its Own to Help Lumia Sales
May 20, 2013, 7:10 AM
Parents of Pre-Teen Drivers Commonly Practice Distracted Driving Says Study
May 9, 2013, 7:16 AM
Apple's iOS 7 Running Into Internal Delays Due to Massive Overhaul
May 1, 2013, 4:26 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2013 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information