Qualcomm has announced that its new ARM-based server chip is available for commercial shipment. The Centriq 2400 is an ARMv8 64 bit CPU, with 48 cores running at upto 2.6Ghz. Using Samsung‘s 10nm FinFET process for its construction, able to access up to 768GB of memory, a 268Gb/s ring bus links the 48 cores. Centriq has circuitry providing 32 lanes of PCIe, and 8 SATA lanes, all packaged in a 55mm² 2808-pin chip.
Taking on Intel in the server space is a challenge, but even a small segment can lead to high revenues. It’s no surprise that Broadcom would like a slice of this marketshare too, hence its recent bid for Qualcomm. With a list price of $1,995 for the Centriq 2460 this compares with just under $4,000 for Intel‘s Xeon Gold 6152. The Intel processor uses a 14nm process, with 22 hyper-threading cores, running at a 2.1Ghz clock with 48 PCIe lanes. Those extra PCIe lines and a power draw of 140W TDP makes a larger 3647 pin chip. Qualcomm claims a 4x improvement in performance per dollar, and 45% improvement in performance per Watt over Intel’s chips. Qualcomm’s blog entry (Qualcomm Centriq 2400 – the world’s first 10nm server processor) has a lot more information on the efficiency of the Centriq 2400 series.
The Centriq 2400 comes in 48, 46 and 40 core flavours. This gives Qualcomm flexibility when the chip doesn’t yield a complement of working cores. Centriq is compliant with ARM‘s SBSA (Server Base System Architecture). Operating system support comes from Linux, in Canonical, RedHat and SUSE versions.
Don’t expect to see the chip on the virtual shelves of your PC parts retailer. Qualcomm are aiming this firmly at the high density compute farm environment. Microsoft has submitted a design to the Open Compute Platform for a Centriq 2400 motherboard, for powering it’s Azure clusters. Others, such as Alibaba, Cloudflare, LinkedIn (another Microsoft company), and Uber are all potential customers for this platform. All of them would welcome a competitor to the traditional Intel infrastructure.
“Today’s announcement is an important achievement and the culmination of more than four years of intense design, development and ecosystem enablement effort. We have designed the most advanced Arm-based server processor in the world that delivers high performance coupled with the highest energy efficiency, enabling our customers to realize significant cost savings.” – Anand Chandrasekher, SVP and General Manager, Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies, Inc.
“Microsoft and Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies have made tremendous progress since our announcement at the Open Compute Project U.S. Summit earlier this year. Qualcomm Centriq 2400 is well suited for highly parallelized workloads like those found in hyper-scale clouds. We believe that Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies has the ability to deliver extremely compelling performance per watt and total cost of ownership.” – Mike Neil, Corporate VP, Azure Infrastructure and Management, Microsoft Corp.
“Google is excited to see Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies launch the Qualcomm Centriq 2400 processor. We welcome choice in the processor design space for data centers. Choice leads to innovation which ultimately benefits our users. The 64-bit Armv8-A architecture and ecosystem is now a viable alternative for scale-out data center designs.” – Bart Sano, VP Platforms, Google.
“We are pleased to partner with Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies to enable high-performance, power-efficient server chips to drive datacenter innovation in China. We see opportunities for Qualcomm Centriq 2400 chipsets to grow in various use segments in China. We are optimistic that Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies can deliver competitive products that span across hardware and software ecosystem generations.” – Dr. Weifeng Zhang, Senior Director, Alibaba Infrastructure Services Group.
“With its highly efficient performance profile, HPE’s new Qualcomm Centriq 2400-based servers will meet and exceed our customers’ needs across a wide range of workloads from web front-end and data analytics, to NoSQL databases and telco cloud. We will ship these new server systems to early access customers in early 2018.” – Antonio Neri, President, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
“Samsung and Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies have expanded a decade-long strategic foundry collaboration to manufacture the Qualcomm Centriq 2400, the world’s first server processor built on industry’s first 10-nanometer (nm) FinFET process technology. Samsung’s 10-nm process technology with specific optimizations for high performance, combined with Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies’ leading-edge custom SoC design, allow us to deliver a world-class server processor that will disrupt the datacenter market.” – ES Jung, President and General Manager, Foundry Business, Samsung Electronics.