Thursday, October 8th 2020

AMD to Enter the FPGA Market, in Advanced Talks to Acquire Xilinx

AMD is planning to enter the FPGA market by buying out one of Intel's largest competitors, Xilinx. The Wall Street Journal reports that AMD is in "advanced talks" to acquire the San Jose-based firm which specializes in FPGAs of all shapes and sizes, including large, high logic cell-count FPGAs under the Virtex UltraScale brand, the main competitor to Intel's Stratix 10. Xilinx is valued at $26 billion, although analysts estimate the AMD acquisition to go down at close to $30 billion, making it one of the largest tech acquisitions of the year, after NVIDIA's buyout of Arm from Softbank. An FPGA lineup would give AMD a near complete portfolio of computing hardware IP: CPUs with x86 and Arm licenses, GPUs, GPU-based scalar compute processors, semi-custom SoCs, low-power media processors, and now FPGA.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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57 Comments on AMD to Enter the FPGA Market, in Advanced Talks to Acquire Xilinx

#1
Anymal
30 bills? Too big chunk to chew?
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#2
InVasMani
I like the idea of it especially since Intel has FPGA's and Nvidia is acquiring ARM possibly depends how that trade goes through or not. The price is quite a chunk of money, but AMD's been on a roll lately. I like this prospects of this acquisition more than a lot of others they could make though.
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#3
okbuddy
Xilinx is the FPGA king
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#4
lynx29
they really should hire more gpu driver engineers first... not trying to be mean or anything... lol
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#5
Unter_Dog
Have a huge project using Xilinx FPGA......... getting worried........ugh
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#6
natr0n
Those clone/emulation consoles use fpga. Really cool chips.
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#7
chaosmassive
this is the first AMD major acquisition since ATI purchase,
I really hope that they don't overpaid it otherwise, they might not even be able to financially recover this time and perish for good.
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#8
Anymal
chaosmassive
this is the first AMD major acquisition since ATI purchase,
I really hope that they don't overpaid it otherwise, they might not even be able to financially recover this time and perish for good.
6 vs 30, piece of cake.
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#9
InVasMani
I think that Xilinx is a good acquisition target for AMD, but 30B is a enormouse chunk of money. I guess the question is projected growth relative to acquisition cost and debt they'd have to leverage.
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#10
delshay
lynx29
they really should hire more gpu driver engineers first... not trying to be mean or anything... lol
Within the company of Xilinx I would assume they have highly skilled programmers.
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#11
R-T-B
natr0n
Those clone/emulation consoles use fpga. Really cool chips.
Unlikely. They are probably developed on FPGAs but FPGAs tend to be pricier than ASICs and there is no call for them in an emulation style console where costs are generally cut as much as possible.
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#12
sollord
I wonder if this is going to turn out to be some financial gymnastics for a merger to get around some license agreement stuff
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#13
ratirt
AMD reaching for ARM as well. How about that.
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#14
Mysteoa
ratirt
AMD reaching for ARM as well. How about that.
They already have a license.
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#15
Pap1er
Can anyone explain what is AMD looking for with Xilinx acquisition? I am lacking deeper understanding. What benefit would AMD gain?
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#16
ratirt
Mysteoa
They already have a license.
For x86 but not for ARM.
You are right. AMD has the license already. damn :)
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#17
Vya Domus
ratirt
For x86 but not for ARM
Anyone can have a license for ARM. Well, for now ...
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#18
bencrutz
Anymal
6 vs 30, piece of cake.
what?

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#19
chaosmassive
bencrutz
what?
in case you don't get it, he referring to ATI acquisition was valued at 6Bil (5.6 to be precise) which was super-overpaid at that time.
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#20
Valantar
bencrutz
what?


I think it was a reference to the price of ATI vs. this acquisition.
Pap1er
Can anyone explain what is AMD looking for with Xilinx acquisition? I am lacking deeper understanding. What benefit would AMD gain?
The ability to deliver more solutions to enterprise customers, mainly. FPGAs have tons of uses in HPC, datacenter and similar usage scenarios. Not really relevant at all for consumers.
R-T-B
Unlikely. They are probably developed on FPGAs but FPGAs tend to be pricier than ASICs and there is no call for them in an emulation style console where costs are generally cut as much as possible.
You're thinking of the wrong type of consoles. These are premium "retro gaming on modern TVs" consoles. Though there's no emulation; the FPGA-based ones run native code. Some are DIY solutions, others are pre-made.
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#21
Vya Domus
chaosmassive
ATI acquisition was valued at 6Bil (5.6 to be precise) which was super-overpaid at that time.
Thing is there weren't many GPU silicon manufactures at the time, they got a rather unique collection of IP, FPGA makers are a dime and a dozen on the other hand. Buying Xilinx for 30 billion looks like an order of magnitude worse idea.

AMD isn't Intel yet, they shouldn't shell out billions on companies like it's nothing.
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#22
bencrutz
chaosmassive
in case you don't get it, he referring to ATI acquisition was valued at 6Bil (5.6 to be precise) which was super-overpaid at that time.
ah, i see, thanks for clarifying it :roll:
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#23
ratirt
Vya Domus
Thing is there weren't many GPU silicon manufactures at the time, they got a rather unique collection of IP, FPGA makers are a dime and a dozen on the other hand. Buying Xilinx for 30 billion looks like an order of magnitude worse idea.

AMD isn't Intel yet, they shouldn't shell out billions on companies like it's nothing.
Maybe they have cash to spare and they don't want to just keep it but invest in something that has future. This acquisition would improve AMD's portfolio and as you may all think, AMD is not Intel, it doesn't make much sense. AMD and Intel are huge companies and they are thinking about the future of the companies and since both have enormous number of advisors who think what the strategy will be and how the companies will evolve in the future to come. I'm sure AMD has a plan for this acquisition just like NVidia has a plan for acquiring ARM.
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#24
silentbogo
Valantar
The ability to deliver more solutions to enterprise customers, mainly. FPGAs have tons of uses in HPC, datacenter and similar usage scenarios.
And most importantly telecom and high-speed networking. I think AMD is after that 5G infrastructure sweet pie, since xilinx already has a decent portfolio of comms&accelerator solutions.
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#25
Valantar
silentbogo
And most importantly telecom and high-speed networking. I think AMD is after that 5G infrastructure sweet pie, since xilinx already has a decent portfolio of comms&accelerator solutions.
That's probably true. AMD also theoretically has a leg up on Intel in terms of integration given that their entire CPU portfolio is based on chiplets - adding an FPGA or two into the mix for an embedded EPYC or similar product series would probably be relatively easy.

As for why they're looking at this in a broader perspective, I think AMD is seeing significant growth but are also seeing the limits of the X86 CPU + GPU/compute accelerator market, and want to diversify. Makes sense business wise, though there is definitely a need to not over-reach when doing something like this. Buying a company worth between 1/3 and 1/4 of your own? That's defintely a big ask. Though that should also mean buying into a solid source of revenue, of course, and as such it should pay for itself in time even if left to its own devices (as long as the interest on the loans needed to buy isn't egregious).

Given the way Intel has been gobbling up companies left and right for the past decade, I think we need someone else of a similar size to balance things out and avoid Intel entirely cementing themselves as the one-stop-shop for all enterprise compute solutions. (No, I don't think NvidiARM+Mellanox quite does that, as ARM's main business is (still) consumer chips.)
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