AMD is considering making custom ARM server processors for clients ordering them in bulk, essentially emulating its (winning) strategy with the gaming market where its chips power all three major traditional gaming consoles.
Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PS4 both use AMD's x86-based accelerated processing unit while the Nintendo Wii U uses a Radeon-based GPU. Betting on all three means that AMD is guaranteed to ship tens of millions of consoles over the lifetime of the products.
It is likely to do the same in the server market but with its ARM-based 64-bit Opteron family. Examples of customisation provided by Sean White, an AMD engineer, at the Hot Chips conference include ports, I/Os and specific IP.
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The first developer board based on the ARM-based Opteron A1100 has recently been released and is already shipping to selected partners.
Rival Intel is already making custom chips for big customers who order tens of thousands of processors at a time. It went as far as adding a FPGA (Field-programmable gate array) component to its Xeon chip, a feature that it reckons can boost performance by as much as 20x.
VIA PC World