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x86 won't crash and burn, says AMD

Posted: 02 Nov 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:x86? ambidextrous SoC? server CPUs? server chips? microprocessor architecture?

Once a wimpy core among the jungle of superscalar and Reduced Instruction Set Computing Architectures, the x86 became known as a dominant force. However, the x86 is now poised awkwardly at a peak after one of the greatest rocket rides in high tech history. It now enters a phase that will someday be described as a decline. It will decline, but it will not completely break down. It will live to a ripe old age and maybe someday experience a re-birth.

That's certainly what Rory Read believes. The Advanced Micro Devices CEO hopes to go on creating custom x86 processor cores for a very long time.

Along with Lisa Su, Mark Papermaster and others, Read also has been planning for some time how AMD will also make ARM-based processors. He telegraphed those plans from his first analyst event when he talked about the importance of ambidextrous SoC architectures.

Rory Read

When asked if he meant that AMD would make ARM-based chips, Read evaded the question and said only, "it's a slow reveal."

Last one standing
This leaves Intel as the sole survivor, making it the last chip maker with its fortunes staked to the x86 processor architecture.

It's not a bad place to be left standing, really. The market is still the second largest in non-memory semiconductors with annual unit sales measured in hundreds of millions. Its 80 per cent-plus share of it makes Intel easily the largest semiconductor company in the world. Unlike the largest non-memory market of smartphone processors, it has average selling prices that range from about $100 for client CPUs to more than $1,000 for server chips.

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