Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Friday, November 27, 2020
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Reports: AMD in Talks to Acquire Xilinx 

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When reports surfaced during the summer that IP chip vendor Arm Ltd. was on the block, among the potential suitors besides the eventual winner Nvidia were a number of chip rivals that included, down the list, Advanced Micro Devices.

That proved to be idle speculation. Instead, according to overnight reports, AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) is in “advanced” talks to acquire FPGA specialist Xilinx for more than $30 billion. The latest chip deal was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

An agreement could come as early as next week, the newspaper said, citing sources familiar with the renewed talks.

The two chip makers have a history of collaborating, one incentive being Xilinx is a direct competitor to rival Intel Corp.’s FPGA unit, Altera. Intel acquired Altera in 2015.

For example, AMD and Xilinx claimed an inference record back in 2018 running on the Xilinx Alveo accelerator card.

As mainstream CPU makers hustle to keep pace with GPU leader Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) in the race to help enterprise customers push AI workloads to production, FPGA accelerators have grown more important.

In June, for instance, Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) launched its Stratix 10 NX FPGA with an eye toward AI model training and inference. Xilinx (NASDAQ: XLNX) countered with validation of its Alveo FPGA running on VMware’s vSphere cloud computing virtualization platform.

A deal between AMD and Xilinx would also heighten competition to supply datacenter infrastructure, a sector dominated by Intel.

San Jose-based Xilinx has reportedly been hard hit by U.S. export controls on semiconductor technology, losing key Chinese customers such as Huawei Technologies.

AMD has yet to respond to a request for comment.

“We do not comment on rumors and speculation," a Xilinx spokesperson said Friday (Oct. 9).

--This story has been updated.

 

 

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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