(Image courtesy of Fritzchens Fritz, Flickr).

Arm Backs Server Chip Startup Ampere Computing

Arm participated in the latest funding round raised by Ampere Computing, a startup selling server chips based on Arm's energy-efficient architecture, which is used in nearly all of the world's smartphones. The invesment comes months after Arm announced its first chip designs dedicated to cloud data centers, where Intel's Xeon CPUs dominate. Arm's chip designs are also targeted at the infrastructure of the internet, such as switches, routers and base stations.

The startup was founded with financial support from Carlyle Group—which also invested in its new funding round—and is led by former Intel president Renee James. Looking to erode Intel's roughly 98 percent market share in server chips, late last year Ampere started selling its first 16-nanometer server processors based on Applied Micro's Arm-based GeneX technology. The startup declined to disclose how much it raised in the round announced Thursday.

Ampere is aiming to undercut Intel by delivering better performance per watt per dollar. The idea is to cut data center operating costs for potential customers. Ampere is also trying to take advantage of Arm's increasing investment in the data center space, where Arm-based chips have struggled to catch on. Arm launched its Neoverse product line last year in order to lower the bar for companies like Ampere to tap into the energy efficiency of its architecture.

"This significant investment from Arm and our initial investors signals their confidence in the future of Ampere and allows us to continue to accelerate and deliver our robust roadmap," James said. Rene Haas, who leads Arm's IP Products Group, added: “Investing in Ampere underscores Arm's commitment to accelerating both our ecosystem and availability of diverse Arm-based silicon solutions for an infrastructure market long deprived of choice and flexibility."

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