Monday, February 5, 2018

Ampere emerges from stealth with 64-bit ARM server designs

Ampere, a start-up based in Santa Clara, California, emerged from stealth and revealed its plans for 64-bit ARM-based server processors aimed at hyperscale cloud applications and next-generation data centers.

Ampere Computing is headed by Renee James, the former president of Intel until 2016. Its team also includes three other Intel veterans: Atiq Bajwa, Chief Architect, and foremerly VP and GM of product architecture at Intel; Rohit Avinash Vidwans, Executive Vice President of Engineering, with 25 years experience at Intel including work on Xeon microprocessors for data center and enterprise servers; and Greg Favor, Senior Fellow, and 25 years experience at Intel including over 60 patents. Ampere is backed by The Carlyle Group.

Ampere said its processors will offer a high performance, custom core Armv8-A 64-bit server operating at up to 3.3 GHz, 1TB of memory at a power envelope of 125 watts. It will also offer mixed signal I/O features including PCIE Gen 3, SATA Gen 3, USB and workload accelerators, as well as the high-performance on-chip fabric. The processors are sampling now and will be in production in the second half of the year.


In October, The Carlyle Group acquired the compute business of AppliedMicro from MACOM, which earlier in 2017 acquired Applied Micro Circuits Corporation (AppliedMicro") in a deal was valued at approximately $770 million on the day it was announced.

In March 2017, AppliedMicro announced the sampling of its third generation 16-nanometer FinFET Server-on-a-Chip (SoC) solution, X-Gene 3.  The device is an ARMv8-A compatible processor that matches comparable x86 processors in CPU throughput, per-thread performance, and power efficiency while offering advantages in memory bandwidth and total cost of ownership. It features 32 ARMv8-A 64-bit cores operating at speeds up to 3.0 GHz, eight DDR4-2667 memory channels with ECC and RAS supporting up to 16 DIMMs and addressing up to 1TB of memory and 42 PCIe Gen 3 lanes with eight controllers.

“We have an opportunity with cloud computing to take a fresh approach with products that are built to address the new software ecosystem,” said James. “The workloads moving to the cloud require more memory, and at the same time, customers have stringent requirements for power, size and costs. The software that runs the cloud enables Ampere to design with a different point of view. The Ampere team’s approach and architecture meets the expectation on performance and power and gives customers the freedom to accelerate the delivery of the most memory-intensive applications and workloads such as AI, big data, storage and database in their next-generation data centers.”

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