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

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

  1. The last link in the tweet also implies Ampere SoC may be born from Applied Micro X-Gene processor:

    MACOM Technology Solutions Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: MTSI) (MACOM), a leading supplier of high-performance analog RF, microwave, millimeterwave, and lightwave semiconductor, today announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell the Compute business it acquired in its AppliedMicro acquisition earlier this year to Project Denver Holdings, LLC (NewCo), a new company backed by The Carlyle Group. Under the terms of the sale, MACOM will be issued a minority equity ownership interest in NewCo.

    since the Carlyle Group also backs Ampere, which may previously has been called Project “Denver Holdings”.

  2. 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.”

  3. 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.

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