AMD Set to Buy Xilinx, Challenging NVIDIA in HPC

GPU maker AMD to buy programmable chipmaker, seeking to boost HPC offerings

GPU maker AMD to buy programmable chipmaker, seeking to boost HPC offerings

Processor maker AMD to buy Xilinx as its HPC strategy. Image courtesy of AMD

This morning, AMD announced its intent to buy programmable chipmaker Xilinx in an all-stock transaction valued at $35 billion.

“The combination will create the industry’s leading high performance computing (HPC) company, significantly expanding the breadth of AMD’s product portfolio and customer set across diverse growth markets where Xilinx is an established leader,” according to AMD.

AMD's product portfolio is primarily made up of CPUs and GPUs. With the acquisition of Xilinx, the company is posed to add a healthy collection FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays) and Adaptive SoCs (systems on chips) to its offerings.

This morning, AMD also reported strong 2020 Q3 earnings, which partly explains the company's shopping spree.

The Battle for HPC Market Share 

With the work station market facing stiff competition from mobile devices, tablets, and virtualization, leading chipmakers—Intel, NVIDIA, and AMD—are looking at the emerging HPC markets to replenish their lost grounds. One area of growth in HPC is the use of AI (artificial intelligence) or machine learning, especially in autonomous vehicle development. The amount of processing power such applications demands, translates to new sales for processor vendors such as Intel, NVIDIA, and AMD. 

“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.

AMD's rival NVIDIA has made acquisitions as part of its strategy to bolster HPC offerings. Last year, NVIDIA purchased Mellanox, an interconnect solutions provider, adding a critical component to its HPC business. Earlier this year, NVIDIA snatched up its long-time partner Arm, aiming to raise its profile in the AI market. 

An Edgy Strategy

As a semiconductor maker, Xilinx serves markets unconnected gaming PCs and workstations, whcih have historically been the CPU and GPU makers' lifeblood.

“Our leading FPGAs, Adaptive SoCs, accelerator and SmartNIC (network interface card) solutions enable innovation from the cloud, to the edge and end devices,” said Victor Peng, Xilinx president and CEO. “Joining together with AMD will help accelerate growth in our data center business and enable us to pursue a broader customer base across more markets.”

Such chips are a critical part of IoT-type solutions and connected field devices capable to transmitting data, betting on 5G connectivity to offer more capabilities. Bringing Xilinx onboard lets AMD secure a position in the markets for edge devices and data center components.

With similar foresights, CPU maker Intel acquired programmable field-device maker Altera five years ago. The transaction gave birth to the Intel Programmable Solutions Group

“I'm not big on M&A (merger and acquisition). We don't do M&A for M&A's sake, but this is such a unique opportunity,” said AMD's Lisa Su on a call with the investors this morning. “There actually is no better match for us in the industry than Xilinx.”

“We have common visions not only in the data center business but also in the end-point and edge business,” said Xilinx's Peng on the same call. 

The two expressed an interest in combining thier respective software development energy to develop a programming environment that can rival NVIDIA's CUDA. 

More AMD Coverage

Accelerating Electric Vehicle Development with Multidisciplinary Simulation and High-Performance Computing
In this new Making the Case guide, learn how a unified approach to design and multidisciplinary simulation from Dassault Systèmes, combined with high-performance computing powered by AMD EPYC™ processors, can accelerate EV design.
AMD to Buy Silo AI
A large private AI lab in Europe aims to advance development and deployment of AMD-powered AI models and software solutions, AMD reports.
Expanded AMD Instinct GPU Roadmap Now Out
New AMD Instinct MI325X accelerator expected to be available in Q4 2024 with up to 288GB of HBM3E memory; new AMD Instinct MI350 series accelerators based on AMD CDNA 4 architecture expected to be available in 2025 .
AMD Offers AMD Instinct, Ryzen and EPYC Processors
Next-generation AMD EPYC processors to extend data center CPU enhancements, according to company.
MSI Unveils Server Platforms with Latest AMD EPYC Processors
These new platforms, designed for cloud-native environments, deliver performance and efficiency for data centers, according to MSI.
AMD Grows EPYC CPU Portfolio
The AMD EPYC 4004 Series CPUs offer enterprise-grade performance, scalability and modern security features powered by “Zen 4” architecture. 
AMD Company Profile

Share This Article

Subscribe to our FREE magazine, FREE email newsletters or both!

Join over 90,000 engineering professionals who get fresh engineering news as soon as it is published.

About the Author

Kenneth Wong's avatar
Kenneth Wong

Kenneth Wong is Digital Engineering’s resident blogger and senior editor. Email him at [email protected] or share your thoughts on this article at

      Follow DE