AMD rationalises processor line in deal

Paul Boughton

AMD is reducing the number of different processor architectures it supports by selling its Alchemy line to US start-up Raza Microelectronics.

The low power, high performance MIPS-based Alchemy processors were developed by the same team that developed the StrongARM processor at Digital Equipment but left after the acquisition by Intel, but never sat well with AMD's core focus on the x86 architecture.

Raza has already developed its own XLR and Orion processors, based on 64bit MIPS cores. The XLR is a Thread processor that can run 32-way Linux in a single chip while Orion is optimised for Ethenet packet processing.

The Alchemy product line acquisition forms the basis for a broad strategic relationship between AMD and RMI to cooperate in a number of different areas, including the recently announced Torrenza platform that allows a coprocessor such as XLR or Orion to connect directly to the new quad core x86 processors via a HyperTransport link on the next generation of device.

AMD is investing in Raza as a result of the deal. “RMI is a well-respected company and we believe that RMI is in an excellent position to leverage their MIPS technology leadership to invest in the future growth of the world-class Alchemy processor family,” said Hector Ruiz, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of AMD.

“We are extremely pleased to enter into a strategic relationship with AMD and to bring them on as an investor,” said Atiq Raza, chairman and chief executive officer of Raza “The acquisition of the Alchemy product family bolsters our portfolio significantly and having a high-performance offering optimised for low-power applications enables us to leverage our existing successes in the networking and security markets and significantly extends our customer penetration into the consumer electronics markets.”

Raza launched in May last year after spending three years developing the two chips, and raised $20m in April from a third round of funding.