Former Intel president launches new chip maker

Written by Mark Evans

Intel’s former president Renée James has emerged as the chairman and CEO of Ampere Computing, a new startup backed by the Carlyle Group that seeks to leverage the dramatic rise in cloud computing.

James left Intel in 2015 after nearly three decades and has been behind Ampere Computing’s entry into chip making, but the company that will specialise on server chips was not ready to be revealed to the public before public before a range of potential customers such as Oracle, Microsoft, and Lenovo had tested the products.

The announcement makes for interesting timing given the consolidation elsewhere (Broadcom’s bid for Qualcomm) and the lack of appetite for hardware from venture capitalists.

Ampere’s chips are based on designs from ARM Holdings – the processors offering a custom core Armv8-A 64-bit server operating at up to 3.3 GHz, and 1TB of memory at a power envelope of 125 watts. The processors will be in production in the second half of the year.

James explains: “We have an opportunity with cloud computing to take a fresh approach with products that are built to address the new software ecosystem. The workloads moving to the cloud require more memory, and at the same time, customers have stringent requirements for power, size and costs. The software that runs the cloud enables Ampere to design with a different point of view.”