Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has confirmed it is to purchase ‘High Performance Computing (HPC) leader Xilinx for a hefty $35 billion.

The all-stock transaction will deepen AMD’s battle with Intel in the data centre chip market, as the Xilinx acquisition will allow AMD to offer a range of HPC tech, including CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, and Adaptive SoCs.

The move will also add to the competition Intel is facing in the data centre sector as Xilinx is perhaps known for its programmable logic devices such as FPGAs, and these accelerators speed up the processing of compute-intensive tasks such as machine learning and data analytics on a large scale, without the power drain that would accompany the addition of general purpose CPUs.

Xilinx purchase

AMD’s purchase of Xilinx will close at the end 2021, the two firms announced.

The combined company will have a complement of “13,000 talented engineers and over $2.7 billion of annual R&D investment,” they said.

“The acquisition brings together two industry leaders with complementary product portfolios and customers,” the two firms said. “AMD will offer the industry’s strongest portfolio of high performance processor technologies, combining CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, Adaptive SoCs and deep software expertise to enable leadership computing platforms for cloud, edge and end devices.”

They said the combined company will continue and strengthen its focus on data centre, gaming, PCs, communications, automotive, industrial, aerospace and defense.

“Our acquisition of Xilinx marks the next leg in our journey to establish AMD as the industry’s high performance computing leader and partner of choice for the largest and most important technology companies in the world,” said AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su.

“The Xilinx team is one of the strongest in the industry and we are thrilled to welcome them to the AMD family,” added Dr Su. “By combining our world-class engineering teams and deep domain expertise, we will create an industry leader with the vision, talent and scale to define the future of high performance computing.”

Xilinx meanwhile said that its FPGAs, Adaptive SoCs, accelerator and SmartNIC solution would be a good fit with AMD.

“We are excited to join the AMD family,” said Victor Peng, Xilinx president and CEO. “Our shared cultures of innovation, excellence and collaboration make this an ideal combination. Together, we will lead the new era of high performance and adaptive computing. Joining together with AMD will help accelerate growth in our data centre business and enable us to pursue a broader customer base across more markets.”

Intel competition

Most observers point out the deal will increase the competition for Intel in the data centre space.

Intel had acquired Xilinx’s main rival, Altera Corp, for $16.7 billion in 2015, in what was then Intel’s largest-ever deal.

And some feel the AMD/Xilinx combination will have a more nimble offering, as AMD spun off its manufacturing factories nearly a decade ago, and uses TSMC’s fabs for manufacturing, as does Xilinx.

Intel on the other hand has retained its manufacturing capabilities, which has not been without its problems in recent years.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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