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Posts Tagged ‘arm’

AMD to Launch ARM Cortex A57 “Amur” Mobile SoCs in 2015, ARM “K12″ Mobile SoCs in 2016

May 1st, 2015 10 comments

AMD started using ARM Cortex A5 to add TrustZone security to their x86 processor, they followed with their ARM based Opteron A1100 processor for server last year, recently they announced Hierofalcon embedded processors powered by up to eight Cortex A57 processor, and starting this year and beyond, the company will launch “ultra-low power’ mobile SoCs  using ARM cores, at least according to a leaked roadmap.

AMD Roadmap 2015 - 2016 (Click to Enlarge)

AMD Roadmap 2015 – 2016 (Click to Enlarge)

Two ARM families are planned:

  • “Amur” APU planned for 2015 with:
    • Up to 4 ARM Cortex A57 cores
    • GCN Graphics Compute Units
    • AMD Secure Processor (Trustzone?)
    • ~2W TDP
    • 20nm process, FT4 BGA package
  • “Styx” APU planned for 2016 with:
    • Up to two “K12″ CPU cores. These should be high performance custom-designed ARM cores.
    • Next-gen GCN Graphics Compute Units
    • Full HSA 1.0 support (Heterogeneous System Architecture)
    • AMD Secure Processor
    • ~2W TDP
    • 14 nm process, FT4 BGA package

With this kind of thermal dissipation, AMD Android and Windows tablets are the likely candidates for such chips, as well as certainly low power mini PCs and HDMI sticks.

Via Liliputing and CPU World

PS: I will be on the road for some time, so I’ll post a bit less often, maybe 4 to 5 posts a week, and as usual tips / post ideas will be very welcome.

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ARM: “Microcontrollers Are Better Because There’s No GPL”

April 30th, 2015 5 comments

[Update: ARM has pulled down the video and issued a statement]

ARM has uploaded a video today entitled “Microcontrollers for Makers” showing the benefits of using micro-controller boards instead of processor based development boards such as Raspberry Pi or ODROID-C1, and their four first points are right on target, but the last one, as mentioned by Olimex, is completely wrong, and already made several people upset.

ARM_No_GPLLet’s go through the first four points:

  • Micro-controllers are more energy efficient, so if your project is requires years on a cell-coin battery, MCUs are the way to go.
  • MCU are cheaper too, now you can even get an MCU board for $1.
  • They are smaller. The chip shown on the golf ball is Kinetis KL03
  • If you need real-time I/O, processors can’t beat micro-controller, that why people decide to connect an Arduino board to their Raspberry Pi, or products like UDOO Neo are brought to market.

And now the last point: “No GPL”, “as you can keep your source code closed”. What?

First, there’s nothing that forces you to write your application with GPL code, so you can still run and release proprietary apps on Linux. Second, running code on an MCU does not systematically mean you don’t have to care of open source licenses, as for instance, ARM’s very own mbed TLS is licensed under a dual license including GPL. Finally, if they really aim to target hobbyists in that video, most of them don’t really need to care about licenses, as long as they only use their project internally, but I think many will still want to release their source code, simply because sharing your work is the default behavior for many in the makers’ community, and GPL’ed source code or other open source code is what allowed the makers’ community to prosper and grow.

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Categories: Hardware, Video Tags: arm, gpl, mcu

ARM Roadmap Reveals Plans for 10nm FinFET Processors

April 23rd, 2015 3 comments

A few slides have been leaked including ARM Cortex-A roadmap, allowing to have a peak at what the future will bring after the recently announced Cortex A72, and other existing cores. There’s nothing about performance, but this provides details about the next cores codenames and their manufacturing process.

ARM_Roadmap_CortexARM cores are sorted into 4 categories:

  • High-end servers and large tablets – Cortex A72 (16nm FF+) will be supplanted by Ares core optimized for 10 nm FinFET process
  • Premium smartphones and tablets / servers – Cortex A15 and A57 cores will give way to Prometheus (10nm FF) and Artemis (16FF) cores
  • Enterprise data plane / big.LITTLE entry to mid range Mobile – Ananke cores should take over Cortex A17 and A53 cores.
  • Ultra-low cost mobile & wearables – Mercury cores will replace Cortex A5 and A7 cores.

There aren’t any date on the slides, but the new cores might be announced in 2016, before we see them in SoCs and products in 2017.

Via Liliputing and Fudzilla

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Categories: Android Tags: arm

Linux 4.0 Release – Main Changes, ARM and MIPS Architectures

April 15th, 2015 9 comments

Linus Torvalds “Ima Sheep” released Linux Kernel 4.0 on Sunday:

So I decided to release 4.0 as per the normal schedule, because there really weren’t any known issues, and while I’ll be traveling during the end of the upcoming week due to a college visit, I’m hoping that won’t affect the merge window very much. We’ll see.

Linux 4.0 was a pretty small release both in linux-next and in final size, although obviously “small” is all relative. It’s still over 10k non-merge commits. But we’ve definitely had bigger releases (and judging by linux-next v4.1 is going to be one of the bigger ones).

Which is all good. It definitely matches the “v4.0 is supposed to be a_stable_ release”, and very much not about new experimental features etc. I’m personally so much happier with time-based releases than the bad old days when we had feature-based releases.

That said, there’s a few interesting numerological things going on with 4.0. Looking at just the statistics in git, this release is not just when we cross half a million commits total, but also cross the 4 million git object limit. Interestingly (if you look for numeric patterns), Linux 3.0 was when we crossed a quarter million commits and 2 million git objects, so there’s a nice (and completely unintentional) pattern there when it comes to the kernel git repository.

[ Another quick historical numerological footnote: the old historical BK tree was getting close to the 16-bit commilt limit that BK originally used to have. So that whole “quarter of a million commits” is actually quite a lot. During all of the BK years we only got 65k commits. Of course, we only used BK for three years, and we’ve now been on git for almost exactly ten years, but still – it shows how the whole development process has really sped up a _lot_ ]

Feature-wise, 4.0 doesn’t have all that much special. Much have been made of the new kernel patching infrastructure, but realistically, that not only wasn’t the reason for the version number change, we’ve had much bigger changes in other versions. So this is very much a “solid code progress” release.

Go get it and enjoy,

Linus “we’re all sheep” Torvalds

Linux 3.19 brought improvement to btrfs (raid), the network stack, added ARM Coresight, device tree overlays support, and more.

Some key changes made to Linux 4.0 include:

  • pNFS (Parallel NFS), UBIFS, F2FS and BTRFS File Systems improvements
  • Live Kernel Patching – Install kernel updates without rebooting
  • Intel Quark x86 SoC support
  • Various patches to improve Linux running on a  Playstation 3
  • Open source AMD Radeon driver supports DisplayPort Audio and improves fan support

Some of the new features and improvements specific to the ARM architecture include:

  • Allwinner:
    • A20 – PS/2 Controller
    • A31 – IR receiver
    • A31s – Bring-up sharing majority of drivers with A31, pinctrl driver
    • A80 – MMC
    • All SoCs – LRADC Input driver, CPUFreq, PWM Driver
    • AXP209 power button input driver
    • New boards and devices:  CSQ CS908, LeMaker Banana Pro, Chuwi V7 CW0825, Rikomagic mk802, Rikomagic mk802ii, Rikomagic mk802_a10s, MarsBoard A10, Hyundai A7HD
  • Rockchip
    • Fixes for rk808 regulator
    • Watchdog fix
    • Add Rockchip timer for RK3288
    • HDMI output enabled on rk3288-firefly and rk3288-evb
    • Disable GMAC by default
  • Amlogic – pinctrl driver for Amlogic Meson SoCs
  • Mediatek
    • Regulator driver for Mediatek MT6397
    • Added watchdog driver
    • Added Mediatek MT8173 64-bit processor
  • ARM64
    • New processors: Exynos 7, Freescale LS2085A, and Tegra 132 (Denver)
    • Various fixes for ARM64 including UEFI and KVM code.
  • Preparation work for Atmel AT91 support for multiplatform
  • Other new platforms – Alphascale ASM9260, Marvell Armada 388, CSR Atlas7, TI Davinci DM816x, Hisilicon HiP01, ST STiH418, and Conexant Digicolor (CX92755).

There has also been some interesting changes for the MIPS architecture:

  • Fixes for KVM support
  • Support for MIPS R6 processors
  • Preliminary support for Cavium Octeon 3 SoCs which feature up to 48 MIPS64 R3 cores with FPU and hardware virtualization

A more detailed changelog for Linux 4.0 will soon be available on Kernelnewbies.org, and once it’s up you may also want to have a look at their ARM architecture and drivers sections for more details about changes related to ARM, MIPS and other platforms. I’ve also generated a complete Linux 3.19 vs Linux 4.0 changelog (3.4MB) with git (comments only, no code).

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HPC Performance & Power Usage Comparison – Intel Xeon E3 vs Intel Atom C2720 vs Applied Micro X-Gene 1 vs IBM Power 8

April 14th, 2015 6 comments

Last year, the CERN published a paper comparing Applied Micro X-Gene (64-bit ARM) vs Intel Xeon (64-bit x86) Performance and Power Usage, and they’ve now added IBM Power 8 and Intel Atom Avoton C2750 processor to the mix in a new presentation entitled “A look beyond x86: OpenPOWER & AArch64“.
ARM_x86_Power_8_Test_Systems
So four systems based on Intel Xeon E3-1285L, Intel Atom C2750, Applied Micro X-Gene 1, and IBM Power 8 were compared, all running Fedora 21, except the HP Moonshot 1500 ARM plarform running Ubuntu 14.04 and an older kernel. All four systems use gcc 4.9.2, and Racktivity intelligent PDUs were used for power measurement.

I’ll just share some of their results, you can read the presentation, or go through the benchmark results to find out more.

HEP-SPEC06_Results

HEP-SPEC06 Benchmark (Click to Enlarge)

HEP-SPEC06 is a new High Energy Physics (HEP) benchmark for measuring CPU performance developed by the HEPiX Benchmarking Working Group, and here it’s not surprising to see the low power solutions under-perform the more powerful Intel Xeon and Power 8 processors, with the latter taking the crown.

Geant_4_ParFullCMS

Geant 4 ParFullCMS (Click to Enlarge)

Geant 4 simulates the passage of particles through matter, something that you would expect the CERN to do regularly. Intel Xeon E3 outperforms  IBM Power8 processor here.

But let’s move on to power consumption, and performance per watt.

Idle Power Consumption (Click to Enlarge)

Idle Power Consumption (Click to Enlarge)

IBM OpenPower 8 has a much higher power consumption than other systems, and HP Moonshot ARM 64-bit X-Gene 1 consumes more than both Intel servers. The chart under full load (not shown here) also shows a similar pattern.

HEP_SPEC06_Per_Watt

HEP-SPEC06 per Watt (Click to Enlarge)

When it comes to performance per watt however, both HP Moonshot ARM and Power 8 systems are the least efficient here, and Intel systems provide the best ratio. Bear in mind that X-Gene 1 is manufactured with a 40nm process, while Applied Micro X-Gene 2  and 3 will be manufactured using 28nm and 16 nm FinFET processes, so some large efficiency gains could be expected here.

We may find out soon, as the CERN expects to add these two new processors, as well a Cavium ThunderX to their benchmarks in the future.

Thanks to David for the tip.

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Relative Performance of ARM Cortex-A 32-bit and 64-bit Cores

April 9th, 2015 12 comments

Many people assume newer processors will be faster, or that 64-bit processor will provide a performance boost compared to 32-bit processors, but the reality can be quite different, and I’ve decided to have a look at ARM Cortex-A cores using ARMv7 (32-bit) and ARMv8 (64-bit) architecture, and see what kind of integer performance you can expect from each at a given frequency. To do so, I’ve simply use DMIPS/Mhz (Dhrystone MIPS/Megahertz) values listed on Wikipedia.

Vertical Scale: DMIPS / MHz

Vertical Scale: DMIPS / MHz


Drystone benchmark has no floating-point operating, so it’s a pure integer benchmark. I’m only looking at ARM core here, and once integrated in an SoC, other parameters like memory bandwidth, amount of cache,  GPU, etc.. will greatly affect the overall system performance. The figure above are per MHz, and it does not mean for example that a Cortex A5 processor will be slower than a Cortex A7 processor, as can be seen by the comparison between Amlogic S805 (4x Cortex A5) and Broadcom BCM2835 (4x Cortex A7), which shows the Amlogic processor is about 40% faster due to higher clock speed.

With that in mind, it can be seen than you may not expect all recent Cortex A53 processors to outperform existing Cortex A15 and A17 processors, and in some case even Cortex A9 processors, and the real performance benefit with 64-bit cores only start to show with Cortex A57, and especially Cortex A72 cores which is some cases could be twice as fast as Cortex A15 cores. The red zone on top of some bars represents the possible performance variation due to different implementations of the cores.

ARMv8 also brings some other improvement such as additional cryptographic extensions, an increase in the number of SIMD/floating point, and general purpose registers, and more, as shortly explained in that article. All of these should also deliver benefits provided the firmware and applications support them.

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Scaleway Provides Dedicated ARM Servers for 10 Euros per Month, 0.02 Euro per Hour

April 2nd, 2015 3 comments

Earlier this year, Online Labs launched a beta hosting program using custom-designed C1 dedicated servers powered by Marvell Armada 370/XP quad core processor. The company has now launched a commercial service called Scaleway providing hosting service on these baremetal servers for 9.99 Euros per month, or 0.02 Euro per hour, as well as a “Infinite Storage” service with 1GB data for 0.02 Euros per month.

OnlineLabs-C1-FrontBoard

Rack with 18 C1 Servers

Here are the details of the 10 Euros plan:

  • Server based on Marvell Armada 370/XP quad core ARM Cortex A9 processor
  • Memory – 2GB Memory
  • Storage – 50GB SSD Disk
  • 1x Reserved public IPv4
  • 200Mbit/s – Unmetered bandwith
  • Operating Systems – Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, ArchLinux ARM. Docker supported.

That’s no a VPS, but a dedicated server. For reference, I currently pay around $20 per month (Linode) for a server with an Intel Xeon E5-2680 dual core processor with 2 GB RAM and 50 GB SSD storage, and 3 TB free monthly bandwidth to host this blog. The Intel processor should be much more powerful than the Marvel one, but depending on your application, it might be enough. Overall Scaleway offer appears to be a decent deals, especially if you just need a server for development, where you’ll be charged per hour, so If you use the server 50 hour in a month, you’d only pay 1 Euros.

There are also options for higher bandwidth (1Gbit/s), 99.95% / 99.99% guaranteed uptime, extra storage (up to 1TB), bandwidth protection, and more. A simple REST API is available with the code soon-to-be on github.

You can find out more and/or sign-up for the service on Scaleway website.

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Gigabyte MP30-AR0 is an ARM Server Motherboard Powered by Applied Micro X-Gene 1 SoC

March 27th, 2015 14 comments

So far, it’s been pretty hard to buy ARM server motherboards for individuals, as most, if not all, products were reserved to corporate entities, but with Gigabyte MP30-AR0 server motherboard featuring the first generation Applied Micro X-Gene 64-bit ARM processor this might be about to change. [Update: As mentioned in comments I was probably wrong here, since the motherboard is listed on the Gigabyte’s B2B website, and not its B2C website].

MP30-AR0MP30-AR0 specifications:

  • Processor – AppliedMicro X-Gene 1 processor with 8 ARMv8 cores up to 2.4GHz (TDP 45W)
  • System Memory – 8 x DIMM slots, Single, dual rank UDIMM modules @ 1333/1600 NHz supported (up to 16GB)
  • Storage – 4x SATA III 6Gb/s ports + 1x SD card slot
  • Connectivity – 2x 10GbE SFP+ LAN ports (integrated), 2x GbE LAN ports (Marvell 88E1512), 1x 10/100/1000 management LAN
  • Graphics – Video Integrated in Aspeed AST2400. 2D Video Graphic Adapter with PCIe bus interface up to 1920×1200@60Hz 32bpp.
  • Expansion Slots – 2x PCIe x16 (Gen3 x8 bus) slots
  • Other Internal I/O
    • 1 x CPU fan header
    • 4x system fan headers
    • 1x USB 2.0 header
    • 2x Front panel headers
    • 1x APM strap header
    • 1x HDD back plane board header
    • 1x PMBUS header
    • 1x BMC JTAG header, 1x JTAG PLD header
    • 1x BIOS_H header
    • 1x Chassis intrusion header
    • 1x SATA DOM jumper, 1x BIOS recovery jumper, 1x ACK selection jumper
    • 1x IPMB connector
  • Rear I/Os
    • 2x USB 2.0, 1x Mini USB
    • 1x VGA
    • 1x Serial
    • 2x SFP+, 3x RJ45
    • 1x ID button with LED, 1x Power button with LED, 1x Status LED
  • Power – 1x 24-pin ATX main power connector; 2x 4-pin ATX 12V power connectors
  • Dimensions –  244 × 244 mm (microATX form factor)
MP30-AR0 Motherboard (Click to Enlarge)

MP30-AR0 Motherboard (Click to Enlarge)

The motherboard supports Ubuntu 14.04, and can also be configured with Avocent MergePoint IPMI 2.0 web interface.

Pricing information is still to be announced according to the motherboard page, and the company also integrated it into R120-P30 single socket 1U rackmount server with a 350W PSU and support for 4 hard drives.

Via Tom Cubie

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