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Speculation—read at your own risk

Is AMD going to take on Qualcomm and Nvidia in Arm space?

Posted: By Jon Peddie 06.04.20

I have been thinking about AMD’s diversity and recently wrote about their GPU volume which is due to their diversity in a range of platforms. However, there is one socket AMD doesn’t have and a segment that it isn’t currently in and that is mobile. 

Then, coincidently a rumor popped in the webosphere at TechSpot, around a supposed leak found and posted by @HansDeVriesNL on Twitter that suggests the possibility of a new chip, the AMD Ryzen C7 SoC Mobile Platform based on an ”ARM Cortex.” 

As others have observed, the leak looks fake, the first clue being the capitalization of Arm, which was discontinued in 2017, but that’s no reason why we can’t talk about the idea a little bit. A new AMD mobile SoC is not a bad idea.

What do we think?

Why? For two (to us) obvious reasons:

  1. Nintendo is the only console AMD isn’t in, and that is a recent development since the heritage of ATI/AMD goes back to the Nintendo 64. It likely AMD can make a software compatible SoC that neatly replaces Nvidia’s aging Tegra and win back the Nintendo account. The only other major design win for Nvidia’s Tegra was Magic Flop Leap. The next-gen Tegra, no longer called Tegra can be found in Nvidia’s automotive products, but that’s not a large business for them either and has been declining for the past year.
  2. Arm-based Windows PCs, an emerging market to challenge Chromebooks, has but one supplier, Qualcomm. OEMs like choices and so will readily welcome AMD, and AMD’s graphics will be superior to Qualcomm’s (Qualcomm got some of the original GPU architect from AMD 11 years ago).

 

And a possible third reason—edge devices with graphics. AMD entered the Arm-based server business in 2012 with its acquisition of SeaMicro. Economic setbacks forced AMD to abandon that product line, but it still has the IP.

AMD is much stronger these days and able to take on another processor line. The company has filled out its ranks with industry veterans, many have Arm experience (not the least of which is Computing and Graphics EVP Rick Bergman). AMD knows the server business, the mobile business (and has been selected by Samsung for their new mobile SoC), the gaming console business, and the low-end notebook business. The company is perfectly positioned to make this move.

Or, if not this move, but one like it.