Monday, June 12, 2006

Raza Acquires AMD's "Alchemy" MIPS-based Processors

Raza Microelectronics (RMI), a start-up specializing in high-performance silicon for networking platforms, will acquire AMD's MIPS-based "Alchemy" processor product line. At the same time, AMD will become an investor in RMI. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Alchemy product family from AMD consists of a portfolio of processors that are designed to address customer needs for high-performance, low-power embedded solutions. The technologies offered in the Alchemy processor line cover a wide range of applications targeted at multimedia, access and computing devices as well as growth opportunities in the communications and consumer markets.

The companies said the deal was part of a broad strategic agreement to cooperate in a number of different areas, including the recently announced "Torrenza" platform.

AMD's "Torrenza" is an open, x86 platform that leverages the Direct Connect Architecture and HyperTransport capabilities of the AMD64 architecture to enable other processor and hardware providers to innovate within a common ecosystem. AMD hopes "Torrenza" will enable a global innovation community to develop and deploy application-specific co-processors to work alongside AMD processors in multi-socket systems. The first phase of "Torrenza" enabled partner silicon chipsets. The next phase will entail licensing of coherent HyperTransport to members of a global ecosystem.


  • In April 2006, Raza Microelectronics, a start-up based in Cupertino, California, closed a $20 million round of financing to support is work in high-performance silicon for packet processing applications. The company's XLR and Orion processor families are complex, highly-integrated designs incorporating hundreds of millions of transistors and built on leading-edge TSMC silicon process technologies.

  • li>RMI's XLR Thread Processor, which incorporates 333 million transistors on 90nm CMOS technology, is a general purpose processor designed for network appliances, such as advanced firewalls, IDS, VPN boxes, intelligent switches and other edge applications. Significantly, the chip incorporates 8 MIPS64 CPU cores at up to 1.5GHz, each with 4 threads. This enables a single device to run 32 simultaneous instances of Linux. To support its high-performance threaded architecture, the XLR processor incorporates large Level-2 caches, full speed high throughput interconnects, networking accelerators, security acceleration and an interchip messaging complex. RMI said it is able to run 32-way Linux on the device.

  • RMI's Orion Intelligent Access Processor, which utilizes 180 million transistors on 130nm CMOS technology, is positioned as a "line-card on a chip." The integrated Orion chip is designed to serve as a Packet Processor Engine, a Traffic Management Engine, and a SONET/SDH Processor Engine. By combining Ethernet/MPLS/VPLS packet processing with next-gen SONET/SDH capabilities, the device could be used in range of network aggregation platforms, including customer-located equipment (CLEs or pizza boxes), micro-MSPPs, and Ethernet/MPLS line cards in IP DSLAMs. The design leverages Ethernet as a universal client interface while providing simultaneous support for legacy T1/E1 or T3/E3 delivered services.

  • Raza Microelectronics was founded by Atiq Raza, who is also the founder, chairman and CEO of Foundries Holdings, Inc. (formerly Raza Foundries). Previously, Mr. Raza was President and COO of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). At AMD, Raza oversaw the development of AMD's processor roadmap and brought the AMD-K6 and Athlon family of processor products to the market. Before that, he headed NexGen, which was acquired by AMD in January 1996.

  • In August 2003, Raza Microelectronics acquired SandCraft, which designed high-performance MIPS64 microprocessors for the communications, network storage and office automation markets.

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