Ampere is coming out of stealth today as a maker of ARM-based server microprocessors that will compete with Intel for a slice of the lucrative datacenter chip market. The company is backed by private equity investment firm The Carlyle Group and led by CEO Renee James, former president of Intel. Ampere has a prototype 3.3-Ghz ARM-based processor, which it plans to launch later this year.
James’ new job will be to take some market share away from Intel, the world’s biggest chip maker, or to at least put a small dent in Intel’s 99 percent market share in servers. She hopes to do that with the ARM architecture that is used in the world’s smartphones and that is known for its efficiency in providing performance at very low power levels.
Santa Clara, California-based Ampere, which was built from the ashes of Applied Micro, wants to take ARM into a space where it currently has promise but little market share: the 64-bit chips that power servers and storage devices in the world’s datacenters. Ampere has hundreds of employees, including 300 that it acquired from Applied Micro through an acquisition. It’s placing a big bet.
“There aren’t a lot of people doing new CPUs,” said James, in an interview with VentureBeat. “We’re pretty unique. We’re building microprocessors for servers.”
The category of 64-bit ARM server chips went through its own hype cycle a few years ago, with companies such as Advanced Micro Devices and Applied Micro trying to design chips based on ARM instead of Intel’s x86…