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+
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
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
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