On October 27, Sunnyvale, California-based AppliedMicro demonstrated core functionality of a 64-bit ARM processor on an FPGA platform during the ARM TechCon 2011, held October 25 - 27. This announcement comes on the same day as ARM Holdings' announcement of its 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set architecture, and parallels AppliedMicro's launch of the industry's first 64-bit ARM "Server-on-a-Chip" solution in a single footprint, designed to deliver both ultra low power and exceedingly low cost points.
AppliedMicro's demonstration platform referenced above consists of Xilinx Virtex-6 running Server SoC consisting of ARM-64 CPU complex, coherent CPU fabric, high performance I/O network, memory subsystem along with a fully functional SoC subsystem. In terms of future scale, AppliedMicro's 64-bit processor family is also capable of leveraging a large installed base of ARM software and hardware solutions which will likely have appeal to the open-source software community.
VDC believes that developing advanced low-power, low-cost processor solutions will create a number of opportunities for Applied Micro, particularly with top-tier OEMs and ODMs in the cloud computing space, and especially as the platform is enabled with server-class open-source Linux distributions. In addition, Applied Micro is believed to be working with a number of server-class and embedded Linux vendors whereby full open-source compilers and tool chains will be provided by AppliedMicro and ARM ecosystem partners. Additional optimized compilers, tool chains, and debuggers will be provided by key strategic partners.
Clearly, AppliedMicro's demonstration underscores the potential for a more sustainable, and perhaps even energy-proportioned, future of cloud computing by leveraging this new architecture to provide high-performance devices that consume less power and lower costs compared to today's server chips.
Full ecosystem support for the FPGA platform with performance metrics is expected to be available for customer evaluation by the first half of 2012. A full suite of cloud computing applications driving various target workloads, such as Web, Memcached, Hadoop, Webserver, will also be available within that timeframe, according to AppliedMicro. The company selected dedicated IC foundry company TSMC as its manufacturing partner to develop 64-bit ARM architecture SoCs on 40nanometer (nm) and 28nm process technology.