In recent years, ampere is thanks to the processors altra And altra max has established itself as one of the leading manufacturers of server arm chips for large cloud service providers. Now the company has announced a family of AmpereOne processors based on Arm cores of its own design – the flagship has 192 such cores at once!
The Altra Max chips that will ship in 2021 run on the Arm Neoverse N1 architecture, while the new processors are designed in-house based on the Arm architecture. They are manufactured with 5 and 7 nm technologies – a chiplet layout is used. AmpereOne is compatible with the ARMv8.6+ instruction set, so software developers don’t have to take any extra steps to support it – moreover, the company has optimized it itself for the needs of its customers.
The new generation chips can offer up to 192 cores, while the Altra Max had 128; and each core has 2MB of L2 cache – it was 1MB. Models with 136, 144, 160, 172 cores are also offered, the frequency reaches 3 GHz. The developer added several other innovations: each core has access to a certain memory bandwidth at the customer’s request; More precise power management tools are provided. Processor aging monitoring has been introduced, thanks to which the customer can more effectively manage the chip lifecycle and track its failures; There is a brownout detector and new safety features.
The AmpereOne processor received eight channels of DDR5 memory with ECC support, which allows the server to be equipped with up to 8 TB of RAM. The chips have up to 128 PCIe 5.0 lanes. The chips are manufactured in an LGA package and have 5964 pins.
The core idea of the project is the development of a processor that is specially designed for operation in the cloud infrastructure. Ampere noted that there is growing demand from the company’s customers to reduce data center carbon emissions and optimize energy costs, particularly from European cloud providers.
The developer continues to insist that server arm processors offer higher performance per watt compared to their Intel and AMD counterparts. However, amps are based on performance per rack: In a benchmark with a typical web application, a rack of 36 amp processors delivers the same performance as two racks of AMD Epyc chips or three of Intel Xeon chips. The company did not provide updated test results with AmpereOne, but indicated that the performance per watt was comparable to the Altra family.
Ampere’s top customers include cloud providers Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud, Alibaba and Tencent, as well as OEMs HPE and Supermicro. The only exception among the behemoths is AWS, which relies on its own graviton arm chips, and this is unlikely to change anytime soon. Ampere does not plan to remove Altra chips from production, but there will be no new models in this family either – now AmpereOne will become the basis.