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Apple woos chip design guru away from Samsung

Former AMD chip designer Jim Mergard, a noted engineer of both desktop class and mobile processors, is said to have been hired Apple after working for a short time at Samsung.

Jim Mergard

Chip guru Jim Mergard.


According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple's new hire is quite the coup as Mergard, who designed and developed chips at Advanced Micro Devices for 16 years, serving as the company's vice president and chief engineer before leaving for Samsung, was thought to be one of the Korean company's top prospects.

Among the chip designer's more notable accomplshments is his work on a high-profile AMD processor dubbed "Brazos," which was tailored for use in low-end laptops.

Former AMD executive Patrick Moorhead said Mergard is an expert in both PC technology as well as systems on a chip, the latter being the architecture used by Apple in its A-series of mobile processors.

Moorhead contends that Mergard's expertise may possibly spill into Apple's PC sector, perhaps as a first step into desktop and laptop class processors, a proposition long-rumored to be in the cards for Apple.

“He would be very capable of pulling together internal and external resources to do a PC processor for Apple,” Moorhead said.

The Cupertino company has been dabbling with creating their own silicon for years, finally releasing its first consumer-ready chip with the A4, an ARM Cortex-A8 CPU first used in the original iPad.

Most recently, the new iPhone 5's A6 SoC features Apple's first custom-designed core, a major step away from the standard ARM architecture used by other manufacturers. Based on the ARMv7s instruction set, the core's design change allowed Apple to squeeze double the performance out the SoC without sacrificing efficiency.