updated 06:15 pm EDT, Wed June 13, 2012
ARM core to operate alongside x86 CPU
AMD has confirmed plans to license ARM technology for chipsets in upcoming 'ultrathin' notebooks. The company is stopping short of replacing its x86-based CPU and GPU components, however, as an ARM Cortex-A5 chip will serve as an independent core tasked with running applications in a secure environment via ARM's Trustzone technology.
"It runs the code in a very isolated environment that is well protected from the bigger x86 environment," AMD chief information officer Mike Walls told the BBC.
The California-based company earlier this year hinted that it may be considering ARM-based processors for deeper integration within its chipsets. ARM technology currently dominates the mobile market, powering most tablets and smartphones, however Microsoft's Windows RT operating system—geared specifically for ARM devices—is expected to bring ARM into direct competition with AMD and Intel in the Windows-powered tablet market.
AMD plans to embrace modular designs in upcoming chipsets, leaving open the possibility of ARM cores being used for other tasks aside from security. Modular components containing ARM technology could enable AMD to finally enter the mobile market, or produce servers that take advantage of the power efficiency and low cost of ARM technology. Nvidia followed a similar path with its popular Tegra platform, which pairs ARM chips with GeForce GPUs for smartphones and tablets.
After AMD's ARM-equipped notebook chipsets arrive on the market in 2013, the company plans to bring ARM technology into its mainstream computers and eventually into servers.