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Legendary chip architect Jim Keller mentioned throughout a convention that his K12 ARM CPU challenge was “stupidly cancelled” after he left his earlier employer, AMD.
Ex-AMD chip architect Jim Keller says he labored on Zen 1, Zen 2, Zen 3, however his former employer canceled the K12 ARM CPU
The ‘Way forward for Compute’ convention was delivered by the Division of Computing and Automation of the Indian Institute of Sciences, the place Jim Keller gave a short overview of the varied initiatives he has labored on and the basics of chip design.
Jim claims that whereas he was at AMD he labored on Zen 1 and laid out the plans to make Zen 2 and Zen 3 which suggests Zen 3 might in all probability be the final Jim Keller design we bought from him because the final Zen 4 and Zen 5 initiatives may very well be designed in-house by a brand new workforce at AMD. Throughout his time at AMD, Jim and his workforce seen that the cache format for ARM and x86 CPUs was largely the identical, amongst different issues just like the execution unit and the one distinction between the 2 processor architectures was the decoding unit. , in order that they determined to work. on a brand new chip, recognized to us because the K12, which was later canceled by AMD.
Jim Keller reveals that the K12 ARM CPU challenge was really canceled after sure managers left the corporate. As he says, most managers are afraid of fixing issues, however as an architect himself, he’s not afraid of adjustments like this and the work he did throughout his time at AMD was ‘Enjoyable’.
As for what AMD’s K12 was going to be, the ARMv8-A based mostly CPU was designed to launch alongside the Zen challenge and was anticipated to deal with high-frequency and power-efficient environments, concentrating on dense, embedded server and semi-custom market segments. Since then AMD has introduced a number of semi-custom server chips based mostly on the Zen core structure and they’re shifting into the dense compute phase with their new Zen 4C structure subsequent 12 months which can debut on the EPYC Bergamo platform. AMD’s built-in chips additionally use Zen silicon, so it appears like AMD had a very completely different plan to make use of Zen for all of its computing wants as an alternative of counting on a separate ARM-centric structure.
“However I am going to let you know from my viewpoint, if you have a look at computing options, whether or not it is x86 or ARM and even different areas, that is an space the place we focus funding for us,” AMD CFO Devinder responded. Kumar, to a query in regards to the firm’s view of competing Arm chips. “We all know the way to compute very properly. Even ARM, as you talked about, we have now an excellent relationship with ARM. And we perceive that our clients need to work with us with that specific product to supply the options. We’re able to go forward and do it even when it isn’t x86 , although we predict x86 is a dominant power in that space.”
That being mentioned, AMD CFO Devinder Kumar has already said that they’re able to make ARM chips if there’s a want and demand for them. AMD can be coming into the semi-custom enviornment the place it plans to make use of third social gathering chipsets within the close to future in order that’s additionally one thing that would use ARM chips however these will not be a totally in-house design that AMD was doing with K12 when Jim went round . Jim additionally joined Intel in 2018 and left in 2020 after engaged on varied chip initiatives and is at present the interim CTO at Tenstorrent.
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