In what could be a move to broaden its attack on rival chipmakers Intel and Nvidia, the Wall Street Journal reports that AMD is in advanced talks to buy FPGA-maker Xilinx in a deal that could top $30 billion. The decision could come as early as next week.
Xilinx is primarily known for its FPGA products. The two companies have a history of working in close collaboration on deep learning projects, such as the Xilinx deep learning solution on AMD EPYC processors (among many other pursuits).
FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) are semiconductor devices that can be rapidly reconfigured on the fly. They offer certain advantages over other types of devices, like CPUs and GPUs, in a wide variety of workloads.
Xilinx has a full spate of cutting-edge tech under its roof. Its latest 7nm Versal Premium ACAPs feature the PCIe 5.0 interface and support the CXL interconnect, 112G transceivers, 600G ethernet cores, and 123 TBps of bandwidth across its network-on-chip (NOC). You can read the full details of the company’s APAC platform here.
Bringing Xilinx’s technology portfolio into AMD’s war chest could enable tightly integrated CPU+FPGA solutions that would fit well within AMD’s current chipset-inspired design methodologies. It’s easy to envision future EPYC data center processors with integrated FPGA chiplets to boost AI workload performance.
Xilinx’s broad technology pallet includes leading-edge connectivity options that could also serve as a backbone for more expansive data center architectures. AMD would certainly have plenty of options with Xilinx under its roof; the FPGA maker currently engages in the automotive, aerospace and defense, data center, HPC, industrial, IoT, and communications markets. The firm also has deep experience in software development/enablement.
Notably, Intel purchased Xilinx’s main rival, FPGA-maker Altera, for $16.7 billion in 2015, and has integrated the company into its Programmable Solutions Group (PSG). If the reported AMD purchase of Xilinx goes through, it will certainly open another front in its attack on Intel’s broad TAM.
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