Subject: General Tech | October 4, 2018 - 11:14 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, asus, ROG, rtx, 2080 Ti, amd, microsoft, surface, gigabyte, Intel, Thinkpad, yoga, Ampere, Xilinx, Versal, arm, GOG.com, cooler master, C700M
PC Perspective Podcast #516 - 10/04/18
Join us this week for discussion on ASUS ROG STRIX RTX 2080 Ti, AMD 7nm, and more!
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Hosts: Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath
Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg
Program length: 1:20:42
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Week in Review:
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Subject: General Tech | September 29, 2018 - 10:48 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Ampere, arm, armv8-a, datacenter, ddr4
Ampere recently announced the availability of its first ARM-based server processor dubbed eMAG. The new chips use 16 or 32 custom CPU cores built upon the X-Gene 3 (once pioneered by Applied Micro) compatible with the 64-bit ARMv8-A instruction set. Ampere, in partnership with Lenovo (and several smaller unspecified ODMs), has started shipping eMAG to its customers and partners. Current eMAG processors are based on TSMC 16nm FinFET+ and Ampere plans to move future eMAG processors to TSMC’s 7nm node while adding support for multi-socket servers as soon as next year.
Ampere’s eMAG processors are designed for the datacenter with big data computing workloads in mind that benefit from large amounts of memory and cores including big data analytics, web serving, and in-memory databases. The new ARM server CPU entrant is designed to compete with the likes of Intel’s Xeon and AMD’s EPYC X86-64 processors as well as other ARM-based offerings from Cavium and Qualcomm. Early reports suggest that eMAG is no slouch in performance, but where it really excels is in price to performance, performance per core per dollar, and total cost of ownership metrics.
Today’s eMAG processors feature either 16 or 32 custom ARM cores clocked at 3.0 GHz base and up to 3.3 GHz turbo with 32KB I-cache, 32KB D-cache (L1) per core, 256KB L2 cache which is shared between two paired cores, and a global shared 32MB L3 cache. There are eight DDR4 memory controllers (up to 1TB DDR4-2667 using 16 DIMMs for up to 170.7 GB/s memory bandwidth) as well as 42 lanes of PCI-E 3.0 I/O. The CPU cores, cache, and controllers are connected using a switch that is part of a coherent fabric. Additional I/O support includes four SATA 3 and two USB 2.0 along with 10GbE. The eMAG processors have a 125W TDP.
Perhaps most interesting is the pricing which Ampere has set at a rather aggressive $550 for the 16-core chip and $850 for the 32-core processor. The Ampere chips are interesting especially following Qualcomm’s seeming loss of interest in this space as it dialed back its Centriq efforts earlier this year. With a new ARM entrant that reduces the datacenter barrier to entry for workloads that need lots of acceptable performance cores paired with lots of memory and AMD’s renewed datacenter push on all fronts, Intel is going to have its work cut out for it when it comes to maintaining its datacenter dominance. At the very least it may shake up server CPU pricing. Further, perhaps beyond its intended use, these ARM-based offerings may also introduce some new server platforms that are accessible to enthusiast virtual lab-ers and small HPC developers (small shops, universities, etc) that can use lower cost systems like these for testing and research into developing highly parallelized code that will eventually be run on higher end servers in the “hyperscale” data center.
I am curious to see if the eMAG will live up to its performance claims and expectations of competing with the big players in this space. According to ExtremeTech, Ampere claims the 32-core eMAG is able to match the Intel Xeon Gold 6130 (16 core / 32 thread, 2.1-3.7 GHz, 22MB L3, and 125W TDP) in SPEC CINT2006 benchmarks. The company further claimed earlier this year that eMAG would offer up to 90% performance per dollar versus Xeon Silver and 40% higher performance per dollar compared to Xeon Gold processors from Intel.
What are your thoughts on eMAG and ARM in the server space?
- ARM Reveals First Public CPU Roadmap - Targeting Intel Performance
- ARMing the Cloud; Qualcomm's Centriq 2400 Platform will power Microsoft Azure instances
Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2018 - 12:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Ampere Computing, arm, Ampere
Ampere Computing have been busy developing an impressive ARM processor, which they talked to The Register about today. The new Ampere is a 3.3GHz 32-core 64-bit Armv8 CPU fabbed on TSMC's 16nm FinFETs. It can address up to 1TB of DDR4-2667 and sports 42 PCIe 3.0 lanes, all on a single socket with the next generation adding multiple socket support once it is fabbed on 7nm TSMC FinFET. This is not your normal ARM processor and its 125W power draw is more in line with an AMD or Intel server processor.
There are no benchmarks but there is quite a bit of detail to go through in the article, including confirmation that they have addressed the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities.
"Carlyle Group-backed Ampere Computing, run by ex-Intel president Renée James, says it is, at last, shipping its 64-bit Arm-compatible server processor."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Hackers Stole Customer Credit Cards in Newegg Data Breach @ Slashdot
- AMD targets gutsy laptops with Ryzen 5 2600H and Ryzen 7 2800H chips @ The Inquirer
- 9900K and 9700K Will be Soldered @ [H]ard|OCP
- 'I am admin' bug turns WD's My Cloud boxes into Everyone's Cloud @ The Register
- Chrome OS 69 brings Linux support to Chromebooks @ The Inquirer