AMD announced the availability of the AMD Opteron A1100 development platform. This is exciting news as it expands the availability of the ARMv8 based AMD platform. We have been waiting, for years now, to start seeing volume ARM server deployments outside of bleeding edge organizations such as Google. Now we are seeing those entrants, almost, hit general availability.
The specs of the development platform are straightforward:
- An AMD Opteron A1100-Series processor with 4 cores
- 2 Registered DIMM with 16 GB of DDR3 DRAM
- PCI Express connectors configurable as a single x8 or dual x4 ports
- 8 Serial-ATA connectors
- Compatibility with standard power supplies
- Standard UEFI boot environment
- Linux environment based on Fedora technology from the Red Hat-sponsored Fedora community
- Standard Linux GNU tool chain, including cross-development version
- Platform device drivers
- Apache web server, MySQL database engine, and PHP scripting language for developing robust Web serving applications
- Java 7 and Java 8 versions to enable developers to work in a 64-bit ARM environment
The high-point is clearly the 8x SATA connectors. It seems as though AMD has a seriously constrained $3000 platform. We saw a picture of this platform during the Seattle launch press releases.
The processors are quad ARM Cortex A57 design. This is the 64-bit processor we are eagerly awaiting. Unfortunately, the processor is quad core while the AMD A1100 is specificed to be either a 4 core or 8 core part. The $3000 developer kit uses the lower end 4-core variant.
The development platform comes with 8x SATA3 and DDR3 memory slots. Frankly, DDR4 modules are still in limited supply (as of July 2014) so the choice to put out DDR3 development platform makes sense.
Overall, this is a step in the right direction. On the other hand, these are expensive platforms that do not offer the full potential of ARMv8 performance. We certainly look forward to generally availability at less than 1/10th the development kit’s $3000 pricing.