Ampere releases data center chips taking on Intel, AMD

Ampere Computing has released its first data center chips derived from the same underlying technology as mobile phone chips, taking on AMD and Intel, Reuters reported.
Intel President Renée James
Ampere Computing is a US-based technology start-up headed by Intel’ former president Renee James. Renee James has spent more than 28 years at the US-based chipset leader for networking market.

Ampere Computing said the new chips, which cost $550 to $850, have been selected by Lenovo Group and several other companies that make servers, which power Internet-based services.

Intel dominates the server chip market with more than 90 percent share. Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is expected to take market share in the coming year because Intel has delayed its newest generation of chip-making technology, saying that server chips made with it are not likely to hit the market until 2020.

Ampere Computing is taking a different path from both Intel and AMD. Those two use an underlying technology called x86, which powers most PCs.

Ampere is using an underlying technology licensed from Softbank Group’ Arm Holdings – the same technology that powers both Android and Apple’s mobile phones. The Arm-based chips require less electricity to run and are cheaper to make.

Arm technology has not yet matched Intel’s computing muscle, which Ampere, along with rivals such as Qualcomm and Cavium, are aiming to change in hopes of luring data center customers away from Intel. Major technology firms like Alphabet’s Google and Facebook  are some of the world’s biggest buyers of Intel server chips.

Ampere Computing says its chips – which come in 16- and 32-core versions with speeds of up to 3.3 gigahertz – are designed to compete with mid-level traditional server chips.

Unlike Intel, Ampere does not make its own chips. It contracts that work out to Taiwan Semiconductor, similar to Apple and Qualcomm. Ampere’s next generation of chips, due in 2019, will take advantage of TSMC’s 7-nanometer manufacturing technology, which is more advanced than Intel’s current generation of technology and is being used on Apple’s newest iPhones and Qualcomm’s latest phone processors.

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