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AMD and ARM Team Up

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the dynamic-duo dept.

AMD 108

Vigile writes "Today AMD is making an announcement that is the first step in a drastic transition for the company by integrating an ARM Cortex A5 processor on the same die with upcoming Fusion APUs. Starting in late 2013, all AMD APUs (processors that are combinations of x86 cores and Radeon SIMD arrays) will also integrate an ARM Cortex A5 processor to handle security for online transactions, banking, identity protection and DRM integration. The A5 is the smallest Cortex processor available, and that would make sense to use it in a full APU so it will not take up more than 10-15 square mm of die space. This marks the first time AMD has licensed ARM technology and while many people were speculating a pure ARM+Radeon hybrid, this move today is being described as the 'first step' for AMD down a new road of dexterity as an IP-focused technology company with their GPU technology as 'the crown jewel.' So while today's announcement might focus on using ARM processors for security purposes, the future likely holds much more these two partners."

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Fan-fucking-tastic. (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312437)

So AMD and ARM team up, and the product of their blissful union is an on-die TPM?

Thanks for nothing, guys.

Re:Fan-fucking-tastic. (3, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312815)

So AMD and ARM team up, and the product of their blissful union is an on-die TPM?

Thanks for nothing, guys.

Basically. The only ones who will ever make use of it are DRM assholes.

They make it sound like a feature by talking about "security for online transactions", "banking", and "identity protection", but no one will ever use it for that.
It's dead silicon until Windows is updated to recognizes it and allow DRM schemes to tap into it.

Re:Fan-fucking-tastic. (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40315523)

Bingo! None of the banks or online transactions will use it because it isn't cross platform and AMD doesn't have a big enough share of the CPU market so the only ones that will use it is those who want DRM on top of their DRM.

I've been a loyal AMD CPU customer but if this is the best they can do we are SOL. Thuban was the last good CPU they've put out, the whole Bulldozer design is a netburst sized fail, the Bobcats were good but they haven't updated them in ages and now THIS, this is the best they can come up with?

I have a sick feeling in my stomach we may have just been shown the beginning of the end guys, AMD may end up just like Nvidia, selling GPUs with ARM chips for mobile which will leave Intel standing alone in X86 and if that is the case then we are royally fucked. I don't know how many here remember but once upon a time Intel stood alone and the price of chips was bug fucking crazy, so i can only hope someone at AMD grows a brain, gets rid of the "crippled half core" faildozer design and goes back to the drawing board because more DRM isn't a way to get folks buying your chips AMD.

Re:Fan-fucking-tastic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40318817)

Bingo! None of the banks or online transactions will use it because it isn't cross platform and AMD doesn't have a big enough share of the CPU market so the only ones that will use it is those who want DRM on top of their DRM.

There is a cross-platform way to target heterogeneous ISAs, such as a Cortex A5 integrated along side a multi-core x86 CPU and Radeon GPU, from a single language and host framework. In fact, AMD has been pushing it pretty hard along with other vendors, including Intel, ARM, and Apple. Perhaps you've heard of it? It's called OpenCL [khronos.org] .

Re:Fan-fucking-tastic. (1)

slew (2918) | more than 2 years ago | (#40319525)

From AMD's point of view, OpenCL was so yesterday, today they are pushing HSA [slashdot.org] ...

Re:Fan-fucking-tastic. (3, Interesting)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#40318247)

While I won't be happy to see it used for more DRM, it actually could prove quite beneficial to have increased general access to a chip which should be usable as a crypto coprocessor.

Crypto offloading cards are pretty expensive, and this would allow for modules to be rewritten on AMD+Linux boxes to dedicate SSL and like functions without increasing the general processor load.

Re:Fan-fucking-tastic. (2)

Suiggy (1544213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40318903)

You'll be able to program the A5 for any use via OpenCL, so yes, you could use it for dedicated crypto for your own programs.

Re:Fan-fucking-tastic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40312913)

Indeed, seems like those 15mm square could be put to better use on either the cpu or cpu side instead.

Re:Fan-fucking-tastic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40313499)

Depends on if we will have the master control/key for this thing.

Then again, that’s not very likely, with the imaginary strength of organized crime (content Mafia) these days, and even us here at /. falling for their peacock tactics, and using words like "IP" and "pirate".

Re:Fan-fucking-tastic. (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314255)

What makes you so sure this isnt the next iteration of accelerated encryption a la AES-NI?

Re:Fan-fucking-tastic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40315359)

Look up what ARM TrustZone is

Re:Fan-fucking-tastic. (4, Insightful)

TimothyDavis (1124707) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314523)

One of the problems that AMD is facing is that OEMs use their CPUs in a value system - where across the board features are cut. This hurts AMD because many of these systems lack TPMs, which pretty much blocks them from many enterprise deployments, as Bitlocker and DirectAccess pretty much require a TPM. By creating a soft TPM, AMD is working around the BOM cost of a hardware TPM.

Re:Fan-fucking-tastic. (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#40315033)

But if it's not locked down like a TPM, you've lost the trust and it becomes pointless. A TPM requires storage to store private keys in memory that can't be accessed. Even if someone melts the top of the package off and attaches wires directly to the flash/eeprom part of the die.

Re:Fan-fucking-tastic. (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#40319597)

But if it's not locked down like a TPM, you've lost the trust and it becomes pointless. A TPM requires storage to store private keys in memory that can't be accessed. Even if someone melts the top of the package off and attaches wires directly to the flash/eeprom part of the die.

A SEM might do this.

Re:Fan-fucking-tastic. (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40318113)

If you're hoping for an ARM SoC with a radeon gpu, it's possible they have a don't-compete agreement with Qualcomm - who bought the Adreno off ATI.

Re:Fan-fucking-tastic. (3, Informative)

Suiggy (1544213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40318895)

It's not a mere TPM solution. It's a Cortex A5 core. AMD has been pushing their Fusion Systems Architecture for heterogeneous SoCs, so it's likely that the Cortex A5 will be programmable by developers through OpenCL. The TPM thing is just what the marketing people envision as one of its uses, but it could be used for anything... it's left up to developers imaginations to find something more worthwhile than TPM.

You could use it as a dedicated audio decoder and DSP, for example, as the OpenCL vector math functions will map directly to the NEON SIMD instructions.

Re:Fan-fucking-tastic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40320769)

TPM is like a gun, it isn't inherently good or bad, it can be used for both good and bad things.

I don't like the sound of this. (5, Insightful)

BanHammor (2587175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312441)

So, they have these universal processing units, and the ARM part of them is doing fuckall but DRM? I can't exactly say "yay".

Re:I don't like the sound of this. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40312537)

Lol. Sheeple are so ARM-dizzy, they'll fap to anything.

Re:I don't like the sound of this. (4, Interesting)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312661)

Gotta start somewhere.

So today they may be writing programs to use the extra ARM core for DRM, but I don't see where these are limited to just DRM.

Re:I don't like the sound of this. (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312859)

Modules intended for DRM purposes are commonly limited to those purposes because running extra code, especially code from random untrusted people, makes your DRM more vulnerable. In this case, AMD seems to be incorporating ARM's "Trustzone" [arm.com] stuff. That does support running vendor-customized software within the 'secure' region; but the suggested implementable does not make that user-modifiable. The rest of it is the usual morass of DRM 'goodies': memory locations 'protected' from access by non 'trusted' software, device unique master key, etc, etc.

That's pretty much why you would have a separate DRM module at all, when you already have a perfectly good x86 core to work with...

It is interesting that AMD appears to be throwing their hat in with this ARM stuff, rather than the 'Trusted Computing Group's TPM, available from a number of vendors on x86s already; but the expected use cases are every bit as malignant...

Re:I don't like the sound of this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40313929)

They might add some power management functionality as well, to mitigate power analysis attacks.

Re:I don't like the sound of this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40312957)

It's not limited to DRM, but it does serve as an isolated core, to be used for various security purposes. Of course the only use these will likely see in consumer hands is to secure content from the hands of those consumers, lest they try to use it in an unapproved fashion.

Re:I don't like the sound of this. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40312893)

Actually, looks like it has a lot more purposes than just DRM, but they have to market to their target audiences, which in most cases, isn't you.

Hell, if these target audiences really wanted, they could do some extreme DRM with GPUs or various other pieces of coprocessing equipment readily available on a modern computer system. It's a small ARM coprocessor. I suspect what will come from this in the long run is a good asynchronous multiprocessing system. Shut off the x86 core when not very busy, save a lot of power, use the x86 cores for really intensive tasks that aren't easily split into smaller sub-tasks.

Of course, Slashdot focuses on the mention that it can be used for DRM, and goes bonkers. Well, additional x86 cores can be used for DRM too, allowing the first n-1 cores of an n core CPU to be used for other things, so can a GPU. It's just fucking marketing, get over it.

Re:I don't like the sound of this. (1)

Suiggy (1544213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40318855)

Knowing AMD, the ARM Cortex A5 will be openly available for general use to developers through OpenCL. It's not something that will be restricted to AMD's proprietary applications and drivers, but will be open for any use. The problem here is that the people reporting on AMD's hardware announcements in article aren't developers themselves, and so stuff like this gets lost in translation.

They should be called AAA. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40312463)

Why not rename the whole business to AAA, for ARM, AMD, ATI?

This would also make them the first chip maker in the phone book.

Re:They should be called AAA. (5, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312505)

Because then people would be calling them for a tow truck

Re:They should be called AAA. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40312557)

Not quite the bulldozer you were looking for..

Re:They should be called AAA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40312741)

Thank you for that. When I passed that joke around our office, all the hardware support guys laughed and the software support guys didn't.

Re:They should be called AAA. (1)

katz (36161) | more than 2 years ago | (#40316311)

Hey that was me up there with the bulldozer suggestion :) Thanks for letting me know it made others laugh!

Re:They should be called AAA. (4, Funny)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312563)

Is tow truck after piledriver?

Re:They should be called AAA. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40312547)

what's a phone book?

Re:They should be called AAA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40312613)

It's like a Kindle but you can make calls on it.

Re:They should be called AAA. (4, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312745)

what's a phone book?

It's that lump of wood pulp that is left on your doorstep once a year. It is completely filled with advertisements and phone numbers, but no reviews at all.

Re:They should be called AAA. (1, Funny)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312905)

What's the use of phone numbers without the notice "for a good time"?

Re:They should be called AAA. (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313251)

Why so many A's Why not just simplify to AA that's much less confusing.

Re:They should be called AAA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40313531)

We try to avoid AAA while flying, the shrapnel reduces our chance of mission completion.

Re:They should be called AAA. (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#40319521)

We try to avoid AAA while flying, the shrapnel reduces our chance of mission completion.

When you are in the flak, you may be nearing the target.

Re:They should be called AAA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40317145)

Exactly. When you go out of your way to support "DRM Integration", you must be an *AA.

Re:They should be called AAA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40319369)

No, AMD's strategic plan is this: AMD -> DAAMIT -> ARMADAMIT -> ... -> ARMAGEDDON -> profit?

Re:They should be called AAA. (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320287)

It would be a gift to headline writers on snarky tech-news sites, who, whenever a new AMD processor was slower than its Intel competitor, would talk about AAA being 'downgraded'.

It's AMAZING (1)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312549)

So AMD is outsourcing DRM with an ARM core... somehow I don't think this is the utopian fairytale nirvana that the fanboys were trolling about when they started rumoring that AMD would go ARM.

OMG TPM (4, Informative)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312633)

Before you start flaming about DRM and TPM taking over your computer and all, please remember that all TPM chips currently available allow you to install your own keys. This hardware root of trust allows you to verify that your Linux installation has not been tampered with. It also is a good place to store hard disk encryption keys, because the TPM chip makes it extremely difficult to do brute force attacks on your password. I simply can not imagine why anybody would intentionally buy a modern computer without these wonderful capabilities.

Re:OMG TPM (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312747)

Before you start flaming about DRM and TPM taking over your computer and all, please remember that all TPM chips currently available allow you to install your own keys.

And once you're tied to using them, they'll stop allowing you to install your own keys.

Vendor lockin FTW.

Re:OMG TPM (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313135)

That isn't really how a TPM works.

First, most machines don't possess one, so DRM can't really assume it is there.

Second, it is shipped off and disabled. A user has to explicitly flip the TPM on in BIOS setup, then allow the OS to take ownership.

Of course, this technology is a double-edged sword. Look at the PS3 is an example.

However, on laptops, it provides an additional security boost, especially with a full disk encryption utility like BitLocker. The enhanced security it provides (allowing the OS to boot without a password needed, as well as protecting against "evil maid" attacks) is a help.

Re:OMG TPM (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#40319541)

That isn't really how a TPM works.

First, most machines don't possess one, so DRM can't really assume it is there.

Second, it is shipped off and disabled. A user has to explicitly flip the TPM on in BIOS setup, then allow the OS to take ownership.

Of course, this technology is a double-edged sword. Look at the PS3 is an example.

However, on laptops, it provides an additional security boost, especially with a full disk encryption utility like BitLocker. The enhanced security it provides (allowing the OS to boot without a password needed, as well as protecting against "evil maid" attacks) is a help.

Like an Au Pair in the middle attack.

Re:OMG TPM (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312825)

I simply can not imagine why anybody would intentionally buy a modern computer without these wonderful capabilities.

Ever since TPM was created, we're always just a few bits and bytes away from having it leveraged against us, by them.
And by "us" I mean "the computer users."
By "them" I mean "the hardware manufacturers and software/media companies."

Example: The newest motherboards don't need the ability to disable trusted boot. Heck, it'd have been easier to not include it!
We're more or less at the mercy of a small number of companies and their design decisions.
Worse, we have no real power other than social pressure.

Re:OMG TPM (-1, Redundant)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312939)

Example: The newest motherboards don't need the ability to disable trusted boot. Heck, it'd have been easier to not include it!
Worse, we have no real power other than social pressure.

You have the power to not purchase locked down motherboards. And while it is true that most motherboards are made for mass-market packagers like Dell, the margins on those are not nearly as good as the high end motherboards from companies like Asus and Gigabyte. You can be sure that both of them are paying attention to what the hobbyists want and would not disable TPM modification capabilities. If they do, only their low-end stuff will sell and they would have to make a lot of volume to make up for smaller margins.

Re:OMG TPM (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313041)

You have the power to not purchase locked down motherboards.

Of course once Windows requires that all systems are locked down before it runs, there'll be a remarkable lack of affordable motherboards that will run any other operating system. Nor will you be able to buy a Windows machine and install another operating system instead.

Anyone who thinks this isn't intended to create vendor lockin is incredibly naive.

OMG antitrust (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313203)

You just described the Windows RT licensing policy. But if this policy were extended to desktop Windows, it would likely trigger a second round of antitrust suits in at least one jurisdiction.

Re:OMG antitrust (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40316051)

Who? The EU? Because sadly it won't be the USA as our DoJ seems to be toothless now. Hell after they didn't say shit about Intel using the "cripple code" to screw over AMD in benchmarks AND cut the throat of the competition by denying Nvidia access to the QPI and thus causing them to give up on the chipset business frankly if the MSFT antitrust trial were to be done over today they'd not only rule in favor of MSFT they'd probably pay their lawyer fees while they were at it!

I think though that the poster below is right, this smells more like a console chip than a general purpose CPU, but since AMD doesn't have the money to do "one off' designs they are probably hoping to make a little extra scratch by selling it as a poor man's TPM for budget tablets and laptops. After all one of the first things that gets cut from the budget builds are TPM units so that leaves AMD out in the cold. if they can make money off of it as a console chip and sell excess chips as poor man's bit locker support I say go for it, I just won't be buying any personally as i have no use for TPM and i sure as hell don't want extra DRM, thanks anyway AMD.

Interchangeable motherboards for laptops? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313113)

You have the power to not purchase locked down motherboards.

One ordinarily does not buy a "motherboard" of a laptop computer separately from the rest of the package.

Re:OMG TPM (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40313093)

It also is a good place to store hard disk encryption keys, because the TPM chip makes it extremely difficult to do brute force attacks on your password. I simply can not imagine why anybody would intentionally buy a modern computer without these wonderful capabilities.

Actually, a TPM makes it easier to steal your keys if the thief has physical access to your computer, because the thief knows exactly where the keys are stored. See the famous paper at
  http://citp.princeton.edu/research/memory [princeton.edu]

No Internet without TPM (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313215)

please remember that all TPM chips currently available allow you to install your own keys.

Which won't help if both the cable company and the DSL company start using Trusted Network Connect [slashdot.org] to control home customers' access to their networks. In such a case, you wouldn't be able to get Internet service with your own key on the TPM.

Re:No Internet without TPM (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314371)

If you follow the chain of links, youll see predictions from 2005 that "within 5-10 years 50% of computers will support TNC", which just isnt true. It also assumes that TPM will ship on by default, which isnt the case with any computer I've seen.

Maybe that was once a threat, but right now its just fearmongering.

Re:No Internet without TPM (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40317253)

It also assumes that TPM will ship on by default, which isnt the case with any computer I've seen.

Heh. In my machine the TPM module wasn't shipped "on" as in "on the motherboard". There's just an empty spot on the board with some solder points.

Will they be calling it... (1)

pahles (701275) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312655)

ARMD?

Order of magnitude problem (1)

Erich (151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312693)

10-15 square mm? Do you even have any idea what you're talking about? Those A5's are more like 1-2 square mm, even with a l2 cache. They're tiny. And perform very poorly.

Re:Order of magnitude problem (1)

dmesg0 (1342071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40315305)

Actually A5 has a very decent performance. Check Qualcomm MSM7227A (A5-based 1GHz SoC) benchmarks for example. Many new phones are based on this chip.

Re:Order of magnitude problem (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40316801)

Qualcomm does not use ARM's reference Cortex designs.

Re:Order of magnitude problem (1)

YoopDaDum (1998474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320063)

Yes and no. They don't use the Cortex reference designs on their high and middle end application processors (AP), where they have an architecture license and derived their own implementations (Scorpion and Krait). But for low end chips and more embedded use-cases they use some reference designs (they've been using ARM11, and now Cortex A5). This is what the GP is referring too, and he's correct. You can Google the part number to check this.

Re:Order of magnitude problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40321323)

A P3 including L2 on a modern process would be ~2sqmm, too...

Look Past 'DRM' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40312707)

Think of what you could do with an ARM subcore to handle transactions for math equations, or even graphics. Don't get hung up just because you saw 'DRM' in the article. I think this is a neat idea, especially if you have full access to the ARM core from your x86 OS

Re:Look Past 'DRM' (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313047)

I think it's a bad idea for many reasons. The main one being that the swiss army knife approach means mediocre subcomponents.
While a SoC solution may be good for embedded devices, it just doesn't seem a good idea for a desktop device; it's like replacing a discrete component stereo system with a receiver - it's bigger, lower quality, and you can't upgrade the one component that's not up to par - you have to toss the whole thing. Yay for consumerism.

Yes, having components on the chip can have advantages, when the bottleneck is the access latency and electrical path length. This is not the case here - the A5 is way too slow for it to be significant whether you have it in the CPU or in a box across the room.
I'd much rather be able to buy the TPM modules and coprocessors that I want, and even keep them if I upgrade the CPU.

Re:Look Past 'DRM' (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40318451)

Not to mention there is another BIG problem. As i'm sure some have read the ONLY chance faildozer has with keeping up with Intel is to OC the crap out of them but as we saw with llano OCing tying more components into the chips limits the OCing thus making the AMD chips a worse value. the last bench i saw had them struggling to get a few bumps in speed with the APU but in some of the Faildozer CPUs they managed to get over 1GHz on air thus making the performance closer to the Intel chips.

So i wouldn't be surprised if this weak ARM chip killed any chance of OCing which has frankly been a lot of what has been keeping AMD in the game. What AMD needs to do is hire some good engineers, milk faildozer while they come up with a new design that will hopefully if not put them on top at least get them back in the game. Other than as a console chip i can't see TFA lighting any fires under those of us who bought AMD to buy again.

Re:Look Past 'DRM' (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313105)

Yes. You could do that, but that is not what this is for. This is specifically designed to perform operations that need to occur securely, against even physical access. It offers great possibilities for purposes of computer security, but chances are it won't be used for much beyond trying to prevent the rightful owner from doing things.

Re:Look Past 'DRM' (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314097)

Think of what you could do with an ARM subcore to handle transactions for math equations, or even graphics. Don't get hung up just because you saw 'DRM' in the article. I think this is a neat idea, especially if you have full access to the ARM core from your x86 OS

What could you do with the DRM logic block that you couldn't do with the many cpu cores or the fucking gpu that's also on-die?

Re:Look Past 'DRM' (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40315707)

Exactly because even on the low end AMD APUs frankly you have some truly insane power at your command. Here is a video [youtube.com] of someone playing L4D II on an E350 netbook and that is about the weakest chip AMD still has in production.

So with the amount of insane power the CPUs and GPU provides there really isn't a reason for an on-chip really wimpy ARM except for DRM, where you don't want the user accessing the code which they could on a general purpose chip. this is why I hate this announcement as we had all hoped AMD was gonna do something cool with ARM, personally I had hopes they were gonna somehow integrate a dual core A9 or something so that you could put the X86 to sleep when not needing all that power but with a chip like the A5 the only real use i can think of is to keep the user at bay for DRM. Yay AMD, way to make those of us that have been loyal feel like crap.

Android development (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40312731)

Hopefully this can give us better and faster development environments for all our portable gadgets!

I remember my old Amiga 2000 which had both a 6510 and a z80.

the start of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40312735)

the end of the x86 instruction is here to come :)

It's a good fit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40312749)

Both companies have "A" and "M" in their name.

Re:It's a good fit (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320309)

Maybe call it the ARMD platform?

what (2)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312763)

Seriously, you go through all that trouble to cram an ARM core in there, and you use it for exactly what it's *worst* at?

Crypto is best done by specialized, single-purpose hardware. Intel has special units on their chips just for certain common crypto algorithms. Doing it in software, on a core that's underpowered compared to the x86 cores next to it is retarded.

The strengths of ARM is low power. Doing what the Wii did would be a wonderful idea - they had a small ARM core on the northbridge, used to do online updates and such while in sleep mode. Imagine if your computer could keep your emails and RSS feeds synched and run updates while in sleep mode. Yes, it would need some OS-level support, and could probably be done better with an ultra-weak x86 core just for better compatibility (just take an old K6 core, shrink it down to 32nm and trim the cache - you don't need power, you just need small). Maybe it wouldn't be a killer feature, it would probably go unused by most users, but it's something that would actually *work*.

Re:what (1)

Chuckstar (799005) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313127)

Near as I could figure from the limited information, they're doing it this way so that the crypto-subsystem can be software-compatible with tablets and smartphones.

Re:what (3, Informative)

Chuckstar (799005) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314629)

Now that I've read more, I think I was only partially correct. It looks more like the main reason to go with ARM is that there was a fully-baked hardware/software solution already in place around ARM's implementation of TPM. So AMD could sort of glom on to the whole thing.

Re:what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40319947)

Imagine if your computer could keep your emails and RSS feeds synched and run updates while in sleep mode. Yes, it would need some OS-level support, and could probably be done better with an ultra-weak x86 core just for better compatibility (just take an old K6 core, shrink it down to 32nm and trim the cache - you don't need power, you just need small). Maybe it wouldn't be a killer feature, it would probably go unused by most users, but it's something that would actually *work*.

You mean like Apple's upcoming Power Nap?

Playstation 4? (5, Interesting)

dicobalt (1536225) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312803)

Sounds like a console chip to me.

Re:Playstation 4? (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 2 years ago | (#40317203)

Sounds like a console chip to me.

We have a winner!!!!

A5 is the smallest Cortex? (4, Informative)

draconx (1643235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40312847)

From the summary, which also appears in TFA:

The A5 is the smallest Cortex processor available

Really? I figured that the Cortex-M0 would be smaller. The M0 doesn't even have a cache. Indeed, ARM's Cortex-M0 product page [arm.com] agrees, saying:

The ARM Cortex(tm)-M0 processor is the smallest ARM processor available.

so it's not clear why the article is calling the A5 the smallest?

Re:A5 is the smallest Cortex? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40313161)

It is the smallest core with TrustZone support. The article is wrong.

Re:A5 is the smallest Cortex? (1)

YoopDaDum (1998474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320033)

Yes. It's also the smallest core in their A-line. There are 3 lines of Cortex: M for micro controllers (super small, super cheap, deeply embedded), R for real time (optimized for deterministic response time, no MMU) and A for application processors (A5, A7, A8, A9, A15 so far).
The A5 is commonly used in embedded applications too, as it's quite compact. It makes perfect sense here to leverage all the security applications developed on top of ARM TrustZone system. It's small, puny (compared to the x86 cores it will sit next to anyway, this is all relative) and cheap compared to the rest of the system. A case of not reinventing the wheel, for once.

Re:A5 is the smallest Cortex? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40314353)

From the summary, which also appears in TFA:

The A5 is the smallest Cortex processor available

Really? I figured that the Cortex-M0 would be smaller. The M0 doesn't even have a cache. Indeed, ARM's Cortex-M0 product page [arm.com] agrees, saying:

The ARM Cortex(tm)-M0 processor is the smallest ARM processor available.

so it's not clear why the article is calling the A5 the smallest?

You kids with your fancy GHz CPU's always forgetting about us small embedded microcontroller guys. Get off my lawn!

Re:A5 is the smallest Cortex? (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40319911)

You kids with your fancy GHz CPU's always forgetting about us small embedded microcontroller guys. Get off my lawn!

Gramps you don't even have your own account anymore... that isn't your lawn, it is a public park. And if I see you napping on the bench, I'm calling Homeland Security.

Or.... (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313027)

Or they could use those new 400 sq mm (or whatever) dies from Thailand that were just posted about on slashdot so I can also use my tablet to cook on. Just throwing it out there as a feature option lol.

Re:Or.... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#40315619)

You mean the 450mm wafers TSMC is building a factory for? a 450mm wafer is 159,043sq mm. Completely unrelated

I'm not sure where they got the 10-15sq mm from. The Cortex A5 takes up less than 1sq mm.

Dear AMD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40313035)

Dear AMD,

    What the hell?

    What a cop-out!

    How does this make your products better, or help repair your position in the market?

    Your x86 cores blow the pants off of anything that ARM has to offer. I can't see what value this adds to your business OTHER than generate a press release.

    How about boosting your core performance by 10%, THAT WOULD MAKE A GOOD PRESS RELEASE!

    I am very disappointed in what you have offered lately - my old dual-Opteron 252 stands as a backup machine to my core I7 now, but I long for the day when you can offer something competitive again. When you released the 2xx series you were a competitive company firing on all cylinders. The game was yours, and you lost it.

    Can you please bring back the guys who did the original Opteron - they had some fight in them. Bring back the full custom design, and concentrate on your core business.

Thank you,
    -bms20

So does AMD multicore mean... (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313347)

So will an AMD 3 core or a 6 core APU imply that 1 or 2 cores is Fusion, another 1 or 2 cores is Radeon and another 1 or 2 cores is Cortex?

But I'm not getting the logic. The only reason ARM consumes less power is its implementation more than its instruction set. If a multicore processor includes ARM, that's not gonna make it consume less power, since the other non-ARM cores will still be there for that. And is there a problem w/ lack of ARM compatibility the same way there is w/ x86 compatibility?

How is an ARM processor better for security than an x86 or any other CPU?

Re:So does AMD multicore mean... (1)

YoopDaDum (1998474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320079)

Because there's an already existing eco-system (with 3rd party sw / solutions providers) based on ARM TrustZone technology, which is supported by the A5. So instead of reinventing the wheel, AMD just reuses all of this for cheap. Performance is a non issue there, you don't run computation intensive software, you run security control software for credentials checks and access control. The A5 is plenty enough for that.

That is the stupidest idea i've heard today (1)

Marrow (195242) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313611)

For security transactions? How often are those occurring and what cant you handle them in software or on a separate chip?. Why put it on-die? I bought a zacate and now its in the closet because its slow.
We need to figure out what to replace AMD with so that we have a decent competitor for Intel.

Re:That is the stupidest idea i've heard today (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40319927)

My first thought was that this would be really great for Point Of Sale (POS) systems. Even if somebody manages to boot a flash device and get a virus in, you could still have your credit card validation secured.

There is already a linux kernel module for ARM's TrustZone, at least some of it. Seems like the people who are afraid are the ones who are already vendor-locked. lolol

maod up (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40313651)

And 5uggesting Declined in market you to join the guest and never get 80s, DARPA saw BSD

If you can't beat them... conjoin them! (1)

hedley (8715) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314473)

Suboptimal soln at best from the blurb.

H.

The smallest ARM Cortex? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314939)

Isn't the Cortex-M0 smaller? Perhaps they mean its the smallest Cortex-A series.

What this is really for. (Mod this up) (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40315107)

ARM's processors aren't powerful enough to run Win8 Boxes.

And lets be honest here, when Android, IPhone, and all the other big OS players in the mobile market were developing their OS's they were developing them to small Motorola, Arm, Apple and Intel embedded non-x86 processors. So that means VERY limited app functionality from their standpoint and to get cross platform compatability you need java and browser support because NOBODY is going to spend a fortune developing an app just for one vendor's OS.

What does the A5 have that AMD needs? it has Cell signalling functionality, a Mature TPM platform, a mature hardware security platform, and VPN acceleration.

AMD doesn't have the Mature TPM platform on it's x86 lineup which if you want to stop people from, say, jailbreaking your new Win8 tablet that was sold under contract, is a big thing; Intel Does but AMD isn't going to license it from their competition. Also Microsoft is going to write a new hardware standard for Win8 just like they did for Vista/7, which means new DRM requirements which means new hardware lockout requirements. Want your tablet to provide a "rich media experience"? Well, in order for your Tablet to wirelessly interface with your TV and enable playback of video from the tablet to the TV, you just GOT to have the newest DRM standard (think HDCP for Wifi).

They're also missing instructions on their cores for accelerating cell signalling functions which you need if you want to boosting signal resolution, which in turn, enables you to use less power for your cell connection. Finally, if your mobile device is always-VPN'd into your corporate network, and you want to run VOIP chat over it, you get 150MS end to end for your latency, and VPN encryption adds anywhere from 10-50ms of signal processing on EACH END of the connection. This is the reason you see 3des modules for Cisco security appliances; you can offload the processing onto a seperate board thus decreasing the latency substantially.

So what AMD does is they aim to take their current GPU/CPU offering, which will do decent graphics on a 10" tablet running at, say, 1024x768 or similar resolution, then toss the A5 ontop to handle the cellphone end of the system, then wait for the die size to shrink to give them that extra 25% of die space, retool their chips to be ultra-ultra low power, toss all that goobly gop into a single chip, license the driver binaries from ARM, retool them for windows, and offer it to the market as a complete, embedded solution.

That is going to be VERY attractive to companies like HTC.

Lets face it, if we cut out the northbridge entirely from the equation and stick 1-2 southbridges all with embedded devices on them, really things get very tiny.

Re:What this is really for. (Mod this up) (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40318057)

Funny you mention android, if they expose the cortex A chip to user programs then one could develop on the amd64 and run the emulator on the ARM core.

Re:What this is really for. (Mod this up) (1)

YoopDaDum (1998474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320097)

Only the TPM part matters actually.

Cell signaling is not relevant here, for a cellular solution you need RF and DSP functions that are just not there. And don't expect AMD to go into the cellular market, it's a specialist area they don't know about and already crowded. By the way, there's no specific acceleration on the ARM cores for cellular. The part that run on the ARM is the protocol stack and it's regular software. Neon is not even used, it's good for media but for cellular DSP processing you need much more power and use specialized DSP core(s) and dedicated hardware.

And they certainly don't need the A5 to speed up VPN support. This is better handled on a x86 core with AES-NI support.

Stop buying this crap; DRM-Free chips exist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40316395)

You can get chips without the DRM. ThinkPenguin.com goes through a lot of trouble to ship freedom friendly systems and one of the things they started doing recently was verifying the CPU chips they used didn't have the DRM support. Intel labels it "Trusted Execution Technology" and you can investigate the proccessor specs to find out if the CPU you are looking to buy implements this or not.

One of the reasons ThinkPenguin.com does not use AMD chips already is because they are tied to ATI chipsets and AMD has not released the specifications needed to write a completely free solution. nVidia is no better. In order to get free software support the nouveau driver project was started without any assistance from nVidia. We actually have better support for older nVidia chipsets now than a supposedly "free" ATI chipset. AMD pulled the wool over our eyes.

I will not buy anything but Intel CPU /w Intel graphics. Unfortunately some companies (System76) are misleading customers into believing they are shipping Intel HD graphics when in fact they are shipping a hybrid system that isn't compatible with free software. Not to mention System76 doesn't actually see free software compatible systems in the first place. Which is another nightmare...

Anyway. I like ThinkPenguin the best anyway. The company supports freedom, they fund the Free Software Foundation, Linux Mint (although not a completely free distro), Trisquel, and some other free software projects. Plus they are working with chipset manufacturers to improve the support for free software and have focused in making GNU/Linux easier by putting together the largest catalog of hardware that can actually be supported on GNU/Linux. This is unlike the numerous vendors shipping laptops,desktops, and a handful of accessories depending on proprietary drivers/firmware.

*facepalms* (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40320107)

AMD, I am going to help you here. ARM is nice, and yes, Windows RT might possibly prove every analyst wrong and come out a winner, with a tremendous demand for ARM devices.

But, as a long time advocate of your processors, and (now) your video cards, I'd like to take a moment, and ask if you wouldn't mind listening to what I, personally, would like to see from you in...16 months. Here's what I'd like: you to fix your Bulldozer design / work with Microsoft & the open source community to patch their code / threading models into something that can take greater advantage of this new design; then I'd like you to make a consumer CPU with 12 or 16 or 24 cores. Don't listen to the nay-sayers who say there is no demand for it; they also said there was no demand for your Phenom 2 X6 processors, and you know how wrong they were. That's it, unless you want to make us all really happy, and design some PCI express boards with 7990 GPUs stuck on them (for OpenCl computing); think daughterboards.

And if you could lean on Asus to release a new Crosshair motherboard when the new chips are ready, as well as to convince them that the tech community wouldn't mind them making it so we can stick...I don't know...256-512 GB of RAM into them, and for them to get away from Creative / Realtek (just use Xonar, it crashes Steam less).

Honestly, I don't care if you take two Phenom 2 X6s, and laser weld them together. I want more cores, and full-fledged ones if I can get them. I am a Computer Scientist, I write my own programs...trust me, those extra cores will be used.

Emulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40321653)

Takes 0 square mm of die space

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