The Apple M1 appears to threaten the x86 hegemony of Intel and AMD with excellent low TDP performance without requiring active cooling. Of course, x86 processors will continue to reign supreme for a while, as many industry standard programs are still compiled for x86_64.
However, Apple and Qualcomm may not be the only ones fighting in the ARM space. AMD is also reportedly looking to switch to the ARM architecture. Even a final product may not be far off.
AMD has been working on its ARM processor since 2016
Famous leaker Mauri QHD tweeted that AMD already has an M1 prototype in the works. He says the company is developing two versions of the chip: one with built-in RAM and one without. Apparently the prototype is “almost ready”. No further information is available.
While information on the alleged M1 competitor is still scarce, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about this new ARM-linked AMD design.
In 2016, when Jim Keller was the head of CPU business at AMD, the company announced the K12 Core, a chip based on the 64-bit ARM v8 design. However, this chip never hit the market. Earlier this year in May, Komachi Ensaka managed to create an AMD roadmap that oddly enough lists a “K12 FFX” entry between the years 2017 and 2022.
Assuming this so called “K12 FFX” is real, it can be intended for laptops and other ultra low power mobile devices. Hopefully by the time this chip hits the market, Microsoft, working with AMD, will be able to improve x86 emulation on ARM. Or better yet, AMD can enable an x86 consistency model like the M1 to speed up legacy applications. This is something that is currently not possible on Snapdragon chips.
AMD has a competitor M1 in the prototype phase, a version with integrated RAM and one without it
he said “almost ready”
but -imo- idk
the leak is only a few days old, the idk chip
– Mauri QHD (@MauriQHD) November 28, 2020
Not so long ago, AMD’s patents for “Implementing Instruction Subsets for Low Power Consumption Operations” appeared online, which posed various designs of hybrid processors for devices. mobile. While it’s not entirely clear whether these designs are for x86 or ARM, it does point to the fact that a drastically new low-power processor architecture is in the works in AMD’s labs.
As always, these rumors should be viewed with caution. In fact, there were rumors of an AMD Ryzen C7 ARM SoC with an RDNA2 mobile GPU on board, which later turned out to be wrong. However, the likelihood doesn’t seem too far off at this point and traditional x86 chipmakers would do well to have an ARM alternative.