Ampere has successfully debuted on the server processor market with Arm architecture. At the beginning of the year, the 80th Altra nuclear platform showed very worthy results comparable in a number of tasks with indicators of single and two-plating AMD EPYC 7742.
Later, new Ampere boards were published, which said that this year the company intends to increase the number of cores on the chip from 80 to 128, which neither Intel, nor AMD. And ampere long-term plans are still ambitious.
It is worth reminding that the name ampere is very young by IT standards. The company was founded in 2017 by the former President of Intel Rene James (Renée J. James), and the solid backbone of the newly minted ampere also amounted to the immigrants from Intel. Soon, AppLiedMicro assets were acquired, including the developments on the X-Gene processor, but the success of Ampere came with the implementation of the processor on the basis of the Arm NeoVers nuclei.
Altra Quicksilver chips, unlike similar AWS processors of the GRAVITON series, there are not only specialized systems, which is practically impossible to buy an unauthorized system. This is a full-fledged platform with its LGA 4926 connector, there are its implementation with both one and two processor sockets.
Among the advantages of the AMPERE Altra platform can be called not only high efficiency and low, in comparison with the X86, the level of energy consumption. The performance of the platform is more predictable, since Quicksilver processors will practically “juggle” with their clock frequencies by holding it near the nominal value.
But Quicksilver is not a peak of the development of AMPERE processors. As it became known, the new generation of AMPERE ALTRA processors will receive the code name Mystique. Test samples must appear over the coming months, and a full-fledged release will be held this year.
Neuverse N1 is still based on the design of NEOVERSE N1, but at the expense of optimization in the former heat pipe 250 watts, it was not possible to put the 80, but 128 cores. It is twice as much more than the flagship AMD EPYC; Although the last and support SMT, but Mystique is talking about full nuclei that in a number of tasks can be more effective. The model range will be headed by the Altra Max M128-30 processor, that is, the clock frequency is still somewhat decreased in comparison with the current Top model Q80-33 (3.0 against 3.3 GHz).
The company intends to continue to develop the topic of “predictable performance”. However, the main news is much more curious: AMPERE is not going to continue to use only ARM developments. The generation of processors, which is now known at the code name Siryn now, will be based on the ARM nuclei of its own development. And new processors should appear already in 2022. They can get more than 128 cores and will use 5-nm technical process.
Such a decision is explained by the desire to make new processors more efficient in contemporary data center (first of all, clouds and hypersakers), both in terms of productivity and energy consumption. Within the framework of its own design, more subtle kernel optimization is possible. And Ampere has every chance, if even with a standard NeoVerse N1, it was able to increase the number of nuclei at a constant level of heat dissipation. While the details about the design of the nuclei of the SIRYN does not reveal, but, apparently, it is practically complete and currently developers “cause the last strokes”.
No matter how good AMPERE processors were, but without a client base, the new platform will not be widespread. And here companies also have something to boast. If an Ampere Quicksilver server platform from large names, which had to try out, could be called Oracle, which once invested in the company, is now announced on the partnership with Chinese giants such as Bytedance and TencentCloud.
In addition, Ampere’s clients are named CloudFlare and Microsoft. The latter is inferior in cloud services only AWS. Since AWS has its own ARM platform, Microsoft’s decision to cooperate with Ampere looks more than reasonable – from such a union should win both of his participant, even despite the rumors about the development of Microsoft’s own server ARM processor.
What is equally important, a software and hardware ecosystem is gradually created around Ampere Altra. For example, NVIDIA announced a set for the development of HPC-solutions based on Ampere Altra and its own GPUs, and VMware added Altra support for the ESXI experimental ARM version.