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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 Joce640k (829181) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @03:42AM (#41916493) Homepage

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

    Didn't we invent SSDs to fix that...?

  • by Morlenden (108782) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @05:23AM (#41916883)

    The I/O limit could be on memory. Servers can have >1000 times more RAM than there is cache on a CPU chip. With enough threads and/or processor cores the cache hit rate drops, so that the memory bus is 100% busy. At that point a faster CPU gives no benefit, may as well us a low-power one.

  • by YoopDaDum (1998474) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @05:26AM (#41916893)

    It is not clear that they can beat future Intel CPUs on power usage, especially since Intel's manufacturing process leads the industry by a significant margin.

    Everybody says that, but it's only true for the high performance / high power consumption process variant. It's not true for the lower power variant(s), which have some differences and are more tricky than the high perf ones (I'm not an expert on this but one issue for example is that LP needs larger wires to reduce resistance and power consumption. This requires in turn more precision to avoid shorts between wires. People who know more on this topic, please share. It's important to understand how the race can turn in the low power area). For low power Atom chips Intel is right now on 32 nm, while TSMC has been on 28 nm for a while now. It's a one year and half-node advantage for TSMC clients. And Samsung is also now on 32 nm (par). Intel announced they will speed up the availability of new finer processes for low power in the future, but based on their respective announcements Intel and TSMC would be on par for LP (we'll have to see how this turns out in practice...). This means that ARM clients can have a competitive process in the low power space today, and possibly tomorrow. It's likely that ARM clients would focus on many cores / low power servers for I/O bounds loads. They can be competitive there, and gain a foothold. Going to higher single thread performance can come later, it would be hard to attack Intel there in the short / medium term anyway. If you pick a fight, pick one you can win. And the ARM world has more experience in LP.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:00AM (#41917003)
    POP3/IMAP/SMTP server:
    95-98% idle
    Anti-Spam server:
    70-45% idle
    These are both ISP servers, with many thousands of active accounts.
    In both cases having more, slower cores would be better than a few faster cores.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:14AM (#41917045)

    An order of magnitude behind? No. A15 is close to Pentium M in terms of IPC. It should be around half way to Ivy Bridge IPC, I would think. That's not an order of magnitude, unless you're counting in base 2.

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