Today AMD is finally introducing its Opteron A1100 64-bit ARM CPU codenamed “Seattle” to wide availability. Originally intended to launch in Q4 2014 and then H2 2015 “Seattle” has been both delayed and teased repeatedly over the past two years. Products based on Seattle from AMD’s partner have been shipping in some quantity since October according to AMD.
When questioned directly about “Seattle’s” delays AMD responded directly saying, “There was some maturity in the silicon we had to work through. It took significantly longer than expected.” This is both disappointing and reassuring. Disappointing in that AMD wasn’t able to execute on the schedule it set for itself with what many would consider to be a relatively low-risk design. On the other hand given the recently announced Skylake bug its admirable that AMD took the time they needed to make sure that Seattle was ready for market.
AMD believes that Seattle’s strength is in its general purpose design. Existing ARM-based chips aimed at data center applications have integrated custom cores and IP blocks aimed at specific niche applications. AMD’s Seattle is designed to handle general server workloads and to give developers a place to prepare their apps for the ARM-based server ecosystem that AMD and others are trying to build.
The SKUs that AMD is introducing today have exactly the same specifications as AMD announced in 2014. Pricing for these Opteron A1100 series APUs will start at just under $150 for the top eight core chip and scale down with a lower clocked SKU and then a die harvested quad-core SKU.
AMD released no performance data today. The company cited its desire to let its partners characterize the systems their shipping on their own. The also stated that running benchmarks like SPEC_CPU wouldn’t be meaningful given the pace of software development for its ecosystem. AMD did say that Seattle compares favorably to Atom-based chips and offers workload dependent wins compared to Xeon-D.
Even though this is the general release for the Opteron A1100 series of 64-bit ARM CPUs from AMD the company had no new partners or products so show off today. All of the hardware was on display back at Techcon.
Checks with industry sources confirm that A1100 chips have made their way out to interested parties. But given how much more robust the competition has become in this segment over the past year the competitive landscape and the level of interest the market as a whole has in AMD new wares is difficult to gage. Interestingly AMD made no mention of any follow ons to Seattle in its presentation today.
K12, AMD’s custom 64-bit ARM core, is slated to arrive sometime in 2017 and is the only publicly announced upcoming ARM-based product from AMD.
For more information on AMD’s server efforts and near continuous historical coverage of “Seattle” check out these articles: