Former Intel exec leads high-performance processor startup

February 05, 2018 //By Peter Clarke
Former Intel exec leads high-performance processor startup
Renee James, a former senior vice president at Intel Corp., is CEO of Ampere Computing Holdings LLC (Santa Clara, Calif.), a fabless startup that is intended to address cloud computing with 64-bit Arm processors.

Ampere is thought to have links back to the X-Gene processor business that previously belonged to Applied Micro Circuits Corp. Applied Micro was bought by Macom Technology Solutions early in 2017 and sold the X-Gene server CPU business to a vehicle created by private equity company The Carlyle Group called Project Denver Holdings LLC in October 2017.

Ampere has now emerged backed by Carlyle with an offering codenamed Skylark a 32-core ARMv8-A 64-bit server processor that operates at up to 3.3GHz clock frequency, with 1Tbyte of memory within a power envelope of 125 watts. The processors are sampling and will be in production in 2H18.

TSMC is collaborating with Ampere and is therefore likely to be the foundry for volume manufacturing.

"The workloads moving to the cloud require more memory, and at the same time, customers have stringent requirements for power, size and costs," said James, in a statement. "The software that runs the cloud enables Ampere to design with a different point of view. The Ampere team's approach and architecture meets the expectation on performance and power and gives customers the freedom to accelerate the delivery of the most memory-intensive applications and workloads such as AI, big data, storage and database in their next-generation data centers."

The company is reported to have between 300 and 400 employees already with offices in Santa Clara, California; Portland, Oregon; Taipei, Taiwan and Bangalore, India.

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