Ampere SoC Designed for Cloud Computing Comes with 32 ARMv8 Cores @ 3.3 GHz, Supports up to 1TB RAM

Ampere is a brand new company that has just launched to “address memory performance, cost, space and power constraints for emerging hyperscale cloud applications and next-generation data centers”, and whose founders include Renee James (CEO), former president of Intel, among other “semiconductor and cloud computing experts”.

Their upcoming 64-bit Arm server processors aim to achieve those goals via thirty two custom Armv8-A cores operating at up to 3.3 GHz, support for up to 1TB of RAM, and a 125 Watts power envelop, or around 4 Watts per core.

Ampere SoC specifications listed by the company:

  • Processor Subsystem
    • 32x Armv8 64-bit CPU cores up to 3.3 GHz with Turbo
    • 32 KB L1 I-cache, 32 KB L1 D-cache per core
    • Shared 256 KB L2 cache per 2 cores
  • System Memory
    • 32 MB globally shared L3 cache
    • 8x 72-bit DDR4-2667 channels
    • Advanced ECC and DDR4 RAS features
    • Up to 16 DIMMs, 1 TB/socket
  • Storage – 4x SATA Gen 3 ports
  • System Resources
    • Full interrupt virtualization
    • I/O virtualization
    • Enterprise server-class RAS
      • End-to-end data poisoning
      • Error containment and isolation
      • Background L3 and DRAM scrubbing
    • Expansion – 42x lanes of PCIe Gen 3 with up to 8 controllers: x16 or two x8/x4, x16 or two x8/x4, x8 or two x4, and two x1
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Advanced Power Management – Advanced Configuration Power Interface (ACPI) v6.x, Dynamic Frequency Scaling (DFS), on-die thermal monitoring, dynamic power estimation and Turbo mode
  • Power – 125 Watts TDP
  • Process – TSMC 16 nm FinFET+
Ampere SoC Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The SoC complies with SBSA Level 3 and SBBR (server base boot requirements) specifications, and supports EL3 secure memory and secure boot. There’s also a built-in Gigabit Ethernet port not shown in the block diagram, nor the specs, but mentioned in the product brief. CPU and I/O virtualization is also supported for running workloads and applications within virtual machines.

An Ampere Development Platform is also available with the following hardware and software features:

  • 19” chassis with an evaluation board featuring a built-in power supply, DRAM memory, storage disks and networking
  • Boot and Power management firmware
  • Arm Trusted Firmware (ATF)
  • AMI AptioV UEFI BIOS with support for all the device peripherals, VGA and a configuration GUI
  • CentOS Operating System
  • GCC and LLVM tool chains
  • AMI MEGARAC BMC firmware for baseboard management
  • Built-in support for workload accelerators
  • Documentation and collateral

The processors are sampling now, and mass production is schedule to start in H2 2018.

Via Twitter and Sanders

Support CNX Software - Donate via PayPal, become a Patron on Patreon, or buy review samples
Notify of
newest most voted
2 years ago

Yes eetimes posted yesterday, that it I a old design, being reused. Full two page article.

2 years ago

It’s nice that Ampere isn’t just the rebirth of AMCC X-Gene3. From the eetimes:
“To be fair, in restarting what used to AMCC’s third-generation ARM server SoC business, the Carlyle Group infused new blood into Ampere’s existing staff of 250 people.”

2 years ago

Good that X-Gene 3 was not lost. APM started the entire amv8 server foray with X-Gene 1 — that was a low-ball in single-thread performance, but their following designs were promising. Now we may get the chance to see how much they live up to their promises.

Philipp Blum
Philipp Blum
2 years ago

Whats the target price?

2 years ago

They have hired a lot of ex Intel people, um, lawsuit time? Either just to cause delays and money drain, or real infringement?