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What the AMD acquisition of Xilinx means

By Ken Wong - on 15 Feb 2022, 3:20pm

What the AMD acquisition of Xilinx means

Image source: AMD.

AMD has announced the completion of its purchase of Xilinx in a deal estimated to be worth around US$50 billion with Xilinx stockholders receiving 1.7234 shares of AMD common stock and cash in lieu of any fractional shares of AMD.

This comes just a week after NVIDIA’s abandonment of plans to buy ARM from SoftBank due to "significant regulatory challenges preventing the consummation of the transaction, despite good faith efforts by the parties".  

In a release to the media, AMD said that Xilinx, will become part of a new business unit in AMD called the Adaptive and Embedded Computing Group (AECG) led by former Xilinx Chief Executive Officer Victor Peng.


What this means for AMD

Image source: AMD.

Combined, AMD will have more than 15,000 engineers and a total addressable market expected to reach US$135 billion next year.

Xilinx was a supplier of both field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and System-on-a-Chip (SoC).

FPGAs are integrated circuits designed to be configured by a customer or a designer after manufacture and used in systems ranging from data centre servers to satellites. SoCs are integrated circuits that put together all or most components of a computer or other electronic system into a silicon single chip.

AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su said:

Xilinx offers industry-leading FPGAs, adaptive SoCs, AI engines and software expertise that enable AMD to offer the strongest portfolio of high-performance and adaptive computing solutions in the industry

Mario Morales the group vice president of enabling technologies, semiconductor, storage, and DataSphere research, from analyst firm IDC, said that the acquisition serves three goals:

  • Combines distinctive architectures that provide higher performance computing 
  • Diversifies AMD's business by leveraging the footprint of FPGAs.
  • Brings scale and platforms to AMD to continue to extend its business into key segments like the data centre, network infrastructure, auto, and embedded.

Image source: AMD.

Morales added that the acquisition provides AMD with an opportunity to diversify into markets like communications and embedded where the combination of FPGAs and CPUs are gaining traction as compute continues to move to the edge and AI plays a larger role in each segment and integration in a package will be a unique offering now with AMD.

A Forbes report stated that the biggest opportunity for the new company was in the data centre market where both companies could bring their respective strengths to bear, with AMD having much stronger offerings to compete with both NVIDIA and Intel.

This is due to the strength AMD has in server CPUs and its line of data centre GPUs while Xilinx offers IP, products, and expertise in SmartNICs, AI inference, and AI analytics.

Morales summed it up by saying that AMD is the computing leader and will have three unique architectures (CPU, GPU, FPGA) in its arsenal which will provide more solutions for customers, partners, and developers who demand high performance. 

Intel can't be ruled out of the picture either as it has been the leader in server CPUs, has FPGA offerings through Altera acquisition some years back, and more recently, has been building its GPU momentum through its Xe HPG microarchitecture and the Intel Arc branding. As such, the rivalry between AMD and Intel is only going to get more interesting.

Source: Reuters, AMD, Forbes

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