Ampere Altra is The First 80-Core, ARM-based Server Processor

That's right, Ampere is here! This one though is in fact from a company called Ampere. They are shipping the industry's first 80-core server CPU and the first cloud native CPU for cloud and edge computing data centers.

Ampere Altra is the company's next generation cloud-focused product, and first in a new class of CPUs rolling out on an annual basis from Ampere's roadmap. The Ampere Altra processor delivers 80 cores up to 210 W, giving a performance boost for use cases such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, database, storage, telco stacks, edge computing, web hosting and cloud native applications. Atiq Bajwa, Ampere's CTO and chief architect, explained that the company chose to build Ampere Altra with single-threaded cores in order to create a processor focused on the needs of the modern cloud. Bajwa said, "CSPs strive to deliver reliable, sustained performance and high levels of isolation and security to each customer, irrespective of what other tenants may be running in multi-tenant environments. Ampere Altra's single-threaded cores, and the dense, power-efficient servers they make possible, will enable our customers to maximize the number of services they can deploy in the cloud and at the edge."

Ampere Altra is a 64-bit Arm processor based on the Arm Neoverse N1 platform and has been manufactured using TSMC's advanced N7 process technology. It offers up to 80 cores at up to 3.0 GHz speed with sustained turbo performance. Each core is single threaded by design with its own 64 KB L1 I-cache, 64 KB L1 D-cache, and a huge 1 MB L2 D-cache, delivering predictable performance 100% of the time by eliminating the noisy neighbor challenge within each core.

Coherent mesh-based interconnect topology provides bandwidth with 32 distributed home nodes and directory-based snoop filters to enable connectivity between the cores. Supporting eight, 2DPC, 72-bit DDR4-3200 channels, the Ampere Altra processor offers high bandwidth and memory capacity of up to 4 TB per socket.

With 128 lanes of PCIe Gen4 per socket with support for 192 PCIe Gen4 lanes in 2P configuration that can be bifurcated down to x2, Ampere Altra provides flexibility to interface with off-chip devices, including networking cards up to 100 GbE or more, and storage/NVMe devices. 64 of the 128 PCIe Gen 4 lanes support CCIX, that could be used for networking, storage, or accelerator connectivity. Ampere Altra processor’s power management capabilities include Advanced Configuration Power Interface (ACPI) v6.2 support, Dynamic Frequency Scaling (DFS), on-die thermal monitoring, dynamic power estimation and Turbo mode support.

Data in memory is protected with advanced ECC in addition to standard DDR4 RAS features. End-to-end data poisoning ensures corrupted data is tagged and any attempt to use it is flagged as an error. The SLC is also ECC protected, and the processor supports background scrubbing of the SLC cache and DRAM to locate and correct single-bit errors before they accumulate into uncorrectable errors. Ampere has offered some performance numbers, which as always we take with a grain of salt. These include 2.23x the performance on SPEC2017_int rate over a single 28-core Intel Xeon Platinum 8280, and 1.04x over a single 64-core AMD EPYC 7742.

Ampere Altra Features






Ampere Altra is already shipping to cloud service providers with both 2-socket and 1-socket platforms available. The processor will enter production in mid-2020.

Ampere Altra is The First 80-Core, ARM-based Server Processor

Printed from: