Welp, it is the season for silicon mega-mergers... AMD rumored to be in advanced talks to buy FPGA slinger Xilinx for $30bn+

Let the chips fall where they may


AMD is said to be in advanced talks to buy Xilinx in a deal set to top $30bn.

The acquisition could be confirmed as early as next week, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday night.

The newspaper cited "people familiar with the matter," which is typically code for someone at or near the top of AMD or Xilinx confirming the negotiations are underway. We're warned it's not a done deal, though: merger discussions between the pair stalled previously and only lately restarted, it is reported.

AMD is riding high at the moment, using its Zen CPU architecture in Ryzen and Epyc microprocessors for PCs and servers, respectively, as well producing graphics cards for various systems and parts for games consoles. Just hours ago, it launched its third-generation Zen chips primarily for gaming rigs. Its shares are up 90 per cent from the start of the year to about $86 apiece, valuing the Silicon Valley giant at more than $100bn, as people snap up computers powered by its chips to work from home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The NVIDIA EGX A 100 GPU/DPU

Meet the ‘DPU’ – accelerated network cards designed to go where CPUs and GPUs can’t be bothered

READ MORE

Xilinx, meanwhile, designs FPGAs, which contain circuitry that can be configured pretty much as and when needed to perform specific tasks in hardware or accelerate data processing. These components can range from modest parts acting as logic glue in equipment, all the way up to beefy units that pack in Arm CPU cores, vector and signal math coprocessors, network interfaces, and plenty more besides. It even designs silicon brains for spacecraft.

This rumored acquisition deal comes at a time when consolidation is ongoing in the semiconductor world, most notably with Nvidia trying to absorb Arm for $40bn.

AMD's arch-rival Intel bought FPGA biz Altera for $17bn in 2015, and Omnitek last year; AMD may want to gobble up Xilinx and get on Chipzilla's level.

We imagine AMD might also be interested in producing hardware that has not only fixed acceleration engines but also customizable elements that Xilinx could provide and join them up with CPU and GPU cores to speed up particular workloads. On the other hand, Intel hasn't really done much at all with Altera, and Xilinx similarly might be left feeling like a gooseberry on AMD's CPU-GPU roadmap.

A spokesperson for Xilinx told us: "We don’t comment on rumors and speculation." Spokespeople for AMD were not available for immediate comment. ®

Broader topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Dog forgets all about risk of drowning in a marsh as soon as drone dangles a sausage

    It's not the wurst idea in the world

    Man's best friend, though far from the dumbest animal, isn't that smart either. And if there's one sure-fire way to get a dog moving, it's the promise of a snack.

    In another fine example of drones being used as a force for good, this week a dog was rescued from mudflats in Hampshire on the south coast of England because it realised that chasing a sausage dangling from a UAV would be a preferable outcome to drowning as the tide rose.

    Or rather the tantalising treat overrode any instinct the pet had to avoid the incoming water.

    Continue reading
  • Almost there: James Webb Space Telescope frees its mirrors and prepares for insertion

    Freed of launch restraints, mirror segments can waggle at will

    NASA scientists have deployed mirrors on the James Webb Space Telescope ahead of a critical thruster firing on Monday.

    With less than 50,000km to go until the spacecraft reaches its L2 orbit, the segments that make up the primary mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) are ready for alignment. The team carefully moved all 132 actuators lurking on the back of the primary mirror segments and secondary mirror, driving the former 12.5mm away from the telescope structure.

    Continue reading
  • Arm rages against the insecure chip machine with new Morello architecture

    Prototypes now available for testing

    Arm has made available for testing prototypes of its Morello architecture, aimed at bringing features into the design of CPUs that provide greater robustness and make them resistant to certain attack vectors. If it performs as expected, it will likely become a fundamental part of future processor designs.

    The Morello programme involves Arm collaborating with the University of Cambridge and others in tech to develop a processor architecture that is intended to be fundamentally more secure. Morello prototype boards are now being released for testing by developers and security specialists, based on a prototype system-on-chip (SoC) that Arm has built.

    Arm said that the limited-edition evaluation boards are based on the Morello prototype architecture embedded into an Armv8.2-A processor. This is an adaptation of the architecture in the Arm Neoverse N1 design aimed at data centre workloads.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022