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Is Qualcomm creating a 24-core datacentre processor?

Smartphone chipmaker hedges bets by diversifying into servers

Processor

Qualcomm, best known for making the processors used in the vast majority of Android and Windows Phone devices, is allegedly working on a 24-core 64-bit server chip.

The datacentre-bound processor is based on a version of the same ARM architecture underlying Qualcomm's smartphone processors - a significant development given that server processors are usually based on the x86 architecture or long-standing proprietary RISC designs, such as Oracle's Sparc.

Meanwhile, the final version of Qualcomm's server processor will allegedly have even more cores and can be used in multiprocessor servers. Making processors destined for the datacentre is a significant departure for a company best known for its mobile processors and wireless communication chips.

Allegedly due for release in early 2016, Qualcomm's unnamed server processor may beat AMD's delayed Opteron A1100 to market.

The A1100 is AMD's first ARM-based processor and was originally due to be on sale now, but is currently only available as part of a developer's kit. There's no word about operating system support, but Ubuntu and FreeBSD, among others, are already available for other ARM-based processors.

Given their novelty, few businesses are known to use ARM server processors in their datacentres. PayPal is apparently one of them, using ARM-based processors from British company Applied Micro.

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