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Macom X-Gene 3 is "the most powerful ARM CPU available"

by Mark Tyson on 10 March 2017, 13:31

Tags: ARM

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qade6p

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Macom Connectivity Solutions has announced that it is sampling the X-Gene 3 Server-on-a-Chip to select customers. This ARM powered SoC was launched last November (by the recently acquired AppliedMicro) and this third generation design is manufactured on the 16-nanometer FinFET process. Macom claims the X-Gene 3 is "the most powerful ARM CPU available today".

Inside the X-Gene 3 are 32 ARMv8-A 64-bit cores operating at speeds up to 3.0GHz. The chip can address 8 DDR4-2667 memory channels with ECC and RAS supporting up to 16DIMMs for up to 1TB of memory. Furthermore the X-Gene 3 supports 42 PCIe Gen 3 lanes with eight controllers. Compared to the X-Gene 2 processor Macom touts a five-fold performance gain.

Kumar Sankaran, associate VP of software and platform engineering at Macom's newly acquired compute business from AppliedMicro, said "We are excited to announce that the X-Gene 3 performance and power measurements are exceeding our expectations."

x86 beating

Earlier in the week, also from the OCP U.S. Summit exhibition floor, we heard that Microsoft had started to use ARM-based servers to run its internal cloud platform. Macom's news also appears to threaten Intel's server hegemony. In its press release announcement of X-Gene 3 sampling, Macom claims that its powerful SoC "matches comparable x86 processors in CPU throughput, per-thread performance and power efficiency, while offering advantages in memory bandwidth and total cost of ownership."

X-Gene 3 tests by The Linley Group back up Macom's claims, with the new SoC said to be capable of handling a broad range of cloud workloads. Linley Gwennap, principal analyst at The Linley Group said "The processor excels on big data, particularly in-memory databases, because of its high memory bandwidth. With X-Gene 3, ARM is ready for the cloud."

Macom is now shipping X-Gene 3 to select customers.



HEXUS Forums :: 12 Comments

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“matches comparable x86 processors in CPU throughput, per-thread performance and power efficiency” …

Concerned if it only *matches* in power efficiency. I thought the whole point of ARM on servers was to be more power efficient, potentially by sacrificing some performance for a lot of power draw. If it only matches x86 in every metric, what's going to drive uptake? It'll be easier to stay on x86 and know you're not losing out on anything…
scaryjim
“matches comparable x86 processors in CPU throughput, per-thread performance and power efficiency” …

Concerned if it only *matches* in power efficiency. I thought the whole point of ARM on servers was to be more power efficient, potentially by sacrificing some performance for a lot of power draw. If it only matches x86 in every metric, what's going to drive uptake? It'll be easier to stay on x86 and know you're not losing out on anything…

Looks like they are touting cost and memory bandwidth but I agree I don't see success for an ARM based CPU that performs like a Xeon.

There have been POWER, SPARC and other instruction set CPUs that could in theory compete with the contemporary Xeons but they haven't grabbed large market share, I don't see why an ARM based CPU will be any different.

ARM based CPUs are successful in mobile devices because the available SoC designs are better optimised for low power or performance in power constrained environments and not because using the ARM instruction set is fairy dust that just makes a CPU better…
While I agree that the power efficiency is a little disappointing for an ARM processor, being cheaper and increased memory bandwidth should go a long way to slicing out a share of the market.
The company has been around since 1950 - they must be doing something right if they are still around!! :p
PRICE? I'm guessing they aren't charging $7000 per chip? :) If you match the other guy in everything and sell at 1/2 or 6/10 the cost, you probably get a few customers who simply can't afford Intel.

“matches comparable x86 processors in CPU throughput, per-thread performance and power efficiency, while offering advantages in memory bandwidth and total cost of ownership.”