Computex 2014: Cavium Introduces 48 Core ThunderX ARM Processors

Subject: Processors, Mobile | June 4, 2014 - 11:00 AM |
Tagged: computex, computex 2014, arm, cavium, thunderx

While much of the news coming from Computex was centered around PC hardware, many of ARMs partners are making waves as well. Take Cavium for example, introducing the ThunderX CN88XX family of processors. With a completely custom ARMv8 architectural core design, the ThunderX processors will range from 24 to 48 cores and are targeted at large volume servers and cloud infrastructure. 48 cores!

The ThunderX family will be the first SoC to scale up to 48 cores and with a clock speed of 2.5 GHz and 16MB of L2 cache, should offer some truly impressive performance levels. Cavium claims to be the first socket-coherent ARM processor as well, using the Cavium Coherent Processor Interconnect. The I/O capacity stretches into the hundreds of Gigabits and quad channel DDR3 and DDR4 memory speeds up to 2.4 GHz keep the processors fed with work.

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Source: Gigaom.com

Here is the breakdown on the ThunderX families.

ThunderX_CP: Up to 48 highly efficient cores along with integrated virtSOC, dual socket coherency, multiple 10/40 GbE and high memory bandwidth. This family is optimized for private and public cloud web servers, content delivery, web caching, search and social media workloads.

ThunderX_ST: Up to 48 highly efficient cores along with integrated virtSOC, multiple SATAv3 controllers, 10/40 GbE & PCIe Gen3 ports, high memory bandwidth, dual socket coherency, and scalable fabric for east-west as well as north-south traffic connectivity. This family includes hardware accelerators for data protection/ integrity/security, user to user efficient data movement (RoCE) and compressed storage. This family is optimized for Hadoop, block & object storage, distributed file storage and hot/warm/cold storage type workloads.

ThunderX_SC: Up to 48 highly efficient cores along with integrated virtSOC, 10/40 GbE connectivity, multiple PCIe Gen3 ports, high memory bandwidth, dual socket coherency, and scalable fabric for east-west as well as north-south traffic connectivity. The hardware accelerators include Cavium’s industry leading, 4th generation NITROX and TurboDPI technology with acceleration for IPSec, SSL, Anti-virus, Anti-malware, firewall and DPI. This family is optimized for Secure Web front-end, security appliances and Cloud RAN type workloads.

ThunderX_NT: Up to 48 highly efficient cores along with integrated virtSOC, 10/40/100 GbE connectivity, multiple PCIe Gen3 ports, high memory bandwidth, dual socket coherency, and scalable fabric with feature rich capabilities for bandwidth provisioning , QoS, traffic Shaping and tunnel termination. The hardware accelerators include high packet throughput processing, network virtualization and data monitoring. This family is optimized for media servers, scale-out embedded applications and NFV type workloads.

We spoke with ARM earlier this year about its push into the server market and it is partnerships like these that will begin the ramp up to wide spread adoption of ARM-based server infrastructure. The ThunderX family will begin sampling in early Q4 2014 and production should be available by early 2015. 

June 4, 2014 | 11:52 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Cavium is an OpenPOWER Partner with IBM just Like Nvidia, so the roots of their Cavium Coherent Processor Interconnect, are the same an Nvidia's NVlink (IBM's Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface). A whole lot of new ARM/Power8 server based products will benefit from the Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface technology sharing from Big Blue's labs. Will these parts find more uses than just, the cloud and communications industries. I would love to see some SKUs for render farming built around these parts, at least for ray tracing, and with all the PCIe lanes, maybe some GPU rendering ability also. AMD has its freedom fabric interconnect, I wonder how it compares, and AMD better get their custom ARM ISA based designs out there. These Cavium ARMv8 ISA based COREs are custom architectural license designs, and are not the generic ARM A53/A57 designs. If Cavium takes Power8 and does something similar, then it is a whole new market, and Cavium has the in house design capability for ARM, and MIPS, so Power8 may be just around the corner for them.

June 5, 2014 | 08:39 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hay AMD maybe your SeaMicro division could offer some of these, while you get your Custom ARMv8 server SKUs to market, why not SeaMicro sells Xeon based Kit, so that and get a Power8 license from Big Blue, I hear they are offering ARM style licensing for the Power/Power8, better become Quadra dexterous, with ARM, X86, Power8, and MIPS, whatever meets the workflows at hand.

Note, Power/Power8 is not PowerPC, so don't confuse the two.

http://www.enterprisetech.com/2014/06/03/cavium-thunderx-arm-chip-rumble...

http://semiaccurate.com/2014/06/03/cavium-thunder-x-ups-arm-core-count-4...

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