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Samsung May Start Making ARM Server Chips 116

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-ground dept.
angry tapir writes "Samsung's recent licensing of 64-bit processor designs from ARM suggests that the chip maker may expand from smartphones and tablets into the server market, analysts believe. Samsung last week licensed ARM's first 64-bit Cortex-A57 and Cortex-A53 processors, a sign the chip maker is preparing the groundwork to develop 64-bit chips for low-power servers, analysts said. The faster 64-bit processors will appear in servers, high-end smartphones and tablets, and offer better performance-per-watt than ARM's current 32-bit processors, which haven't been able to expand beyond embedded and mobile devices. The first servers with 64-bit ARM processors are expected to become available in 2014."
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Samsung May Start Making ARM Server Chips

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  • by toygeek (473120) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @03:56AM (#41916333) Homepage Journal

    I understand the implications of lower power for infrastructure reasons. Lower power means lower cost for power, lower cooling needs, etc. I get that. But what is the "Killer app" for these low power servers? Is it data warehousing? Simple web hosting? I can see these being useful for odds-and-ends servers in data centers with bigger iron for more heavy duty apps, but why is everyone jumping on this bandwagon?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2012 @04:00AM (#41916345)

    I seriously doubt Apple will ever switch to ARM chips in OS X (not iOS) machines. They don't provide enough performance to run at the level of current OS X machines, not to mention that ARM64 is immature as hell.

  • by White Flame (1074973) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @04:04AM (#41916361)

    I/O bound servers, where a more powerful CPU would be mostly idle anyway.

    Web hosting, data warehousing, networking infrastructure, and the like do fall that way pretty often, though obviously there are exceptions.

  • Remember now (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ADRA (37398) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @04:11AM (#41916391)

    The new Google Nexus phones are shipping with 2GB of ram, and its conceivable that tablets will being shipping with > 4GB of ram within a few years. It just looks like Samsung is covering their bases for the future.

  • Re:Remember now (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrDoh! (71235) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @05:11AM (#41916591) Homepage Journal
    Very true, but marketing will probably prefer 64bit chips over 32bit chips with LPAE as it just sounds more powerful to have the 64bit. These go to 11.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @05:46AM (#41916741)

    While it is a workable hack to support more than 4GB of RAM without expanding the virtual address space, it is a hack. Much better to just g 64-bit and call it good. Hence I imagine that's what you'll see with mobile devices. When they start to need more RAM, they'll shift to 64-bit.

    Same shit with desktops and many Intel servers. Intel supported PAE, and Windows implemented it as AWE, with 32-bit chips. Was never very popular though, due to the limitations and performance issues with paging. Now, with actual 64-bit chips, it has gotten much more popular.

  • by sydbarrett74 (74307) <> on Thursday November 08, 2012 @05:57AM (#41916787)

    I seriously doubt Apple will ever switch to ARM chips in OS X (not iOS) machines. They don't provide enough performance to run at the level of current OS X machines, not to mention that ARM64 is immature as hell.

    No, but the threat of switching will provide that extra minute push to ensure Intel's continued refinement of Atom chips, and perhaps force them to release subsequent generations a year or two sooner than otherwise. Now that MS is actively promoting ARM-based tablets, Intel should be worried if not outright scared.

  • by Luckyo (1726890) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:12AM (#41916847)

    There is. The fact that ARM architechtule an order of magnitude or more behind the current x86 generation in terms of performance is a technical issue, and ARM is clearly having issues making its chips scale in speed without completely losing whatever advantage it has in low power. Hence all the talk about dark silicone in ARM world.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <{ten.3dlrow} {ta} {ojom}> on Thursday November 08, 2012 @08:37AM (#41917367) Homepage

    It depends entirely on the application. For heavy maths processing in games or Photoshop ARM is way behind, but for typical server applications it is fairly competitive. Being low power is a huge advantage in datacentres and you often get better performance by having more cores than you do by having fewer faster cores.

    Look at graphics cards. Lots of small, simple and not even terribly fast cores (in terms of clock speed). For that application they blow any CPU away. Now look at a typical server and you will see that it already has lots of small, simple and relatively slow cores dedicated to things like TCP/IP offloading, RAID array control and SSD management.

  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:26AM (#41917591)

    No, we invented SSDs to alleviate that. Even an SSD is much, much slower than the CPU. Hell, your *RAM* is much slower than the CPU; that's why CPUs have memory caches. Even with SSDs, there's a lot of load profiles where the CPU is not the bottleneck. A slower CPU that's cheaper, uses less power and generates less heat looks good to anybody with that kind of load profile.

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan