But will you ever be able to buy one? Gigabyte has shown of both x-gene1 and thunderx machines, at least one of which has prices and preorder options at various dealers (and has had for 3 months) but can you actually buy one? No, of course not. If we could, we would buy one today (or maybe two).
Qualcomm, the maker of processors for Nexus smartphones and other mobes and tablets, has revealed early specifications for its upcoming server chips. The California company is best known for designing the brains in handheld devices, networking kit, and other embedded gear. Now, in the past few minutes, it's unveiled a pre- …
Thursday 8th October 2015 21:41 GMT Anonymous Coward
Yeah, I don't know what you would do with yours but if you write parallel code/algorithms it's great to have a machine with many cores to see how the algorithms scale.
I was shopping for a machine with many cores a while ago. I assumed I would buy one of these ARM chips/servers but they all seem to be vaporware.
Fortunately I found that eBay has an active market for old server hardware. There are many blade servers with dual Opterons or dual Xeons with 16+ cores total that are a few years out of date and only cost a few hundred dollars. Very cost effective and amusing to own!
Friday 9th October 2015 18:01 GMT Charlie Clark
Thursday 8th October 2015 20:12 GMT The Axe
Thursday 8th October 2015 21:44 GMT CaitlinBestler
Thursday 8th October 2015 22:45 GMT Henry Wertz 1
What held back ARM so far...
What held back ARM so far...
1) 32-bit chips. This really is the big one, they apparently have an equivalent of PAE (which allowed/allows >4GB of RAM on 32-bit Intel systems) but server buyers have been buying 64-bit for a while and did not want to go backwards in this regard.
2) Single-threaded performance. If you're running some number-crunching task(s) that do not paralellize and should finish as fast as possible, the top of the line Intel cores still outrun top-of-the-line ARM cores. A lot of server loads (both with and without virtualization being used) will split up quite well between cores though. If you have a situation where it wouldn't matter much if you have (say) 2 cores versus 3 cores that are each 2/3rds the speed, then you're god to go for ARM.
3) To a lesser extent, compatibility. If you want to run Windows on these... well WinRT and "Windows IoT" are basically a joke, you're stuck with Intel. Linux? I ran a full Debian for ARM desktop (via X over wifi) off a Droid 2 Global (1ghz *single core* ARM, 512MB of RAM) years ago (long enough to test it), and you would not have noticed it wasn't an Intel system until you looked and saw a phone where the desktop should have been. If you follow good programming practices for stuff written in C or C++, it should port right over. If you're writing in virtually anything else (Python, Java, C#, etc.) there's no porting to do, the runtimes are already ported over.
Friday 9th October 2015 00:34 GMT Anonymous Coward
So we're in a race to the cellar for cost/compute and watts/compute. Effectively TCO/compute in my book. I just can't see Intel being any more worried in that market, here or in China. Perhaps even less after the Chinese competition authority (wrongly IMNSHO) fined Qualcomm. Also who has the bigger wallet. Still I want one. I have several projects that it would be ideal for even though I'd have to design my own boards for them.
Thursday 28th January 2016 09:55 GMT Alan Brown
"So we're in a race to the cellar for cost/compute and watts/compute."
Until 4 years ago I would have said that _anything_ would outclass x86 on the latter, but Intel has been rolling out a continuous set of surprises.
That said, the x86 instruction set is a bloody mess and walking to a clean sheet design would help a lot in terms of going forward. The thing which stops us buying ARM is more inertia (and availability) than actual requirements for binary compatibility (as long as I can put RHEL on them, I'm good to go)
Friday 9th October 2015 02:33 GMT Henry Wertz 1
"So we're in a race to the cellar for cost/compute and watts/compute. Effectively TCO/compute in my book. I just can't see Intel being any more worried in that market, here or in China."
Yup, I didn't think Intel had anything competitive, but Intel's got some low power Xeons that use much more power than contemporary ARM, but also run quite a bit faster, so the performance per watt is pretty good. Atom also, (pretty slow but low power), but apparently Intel's planning to keep it for "consumer" usage and not for servers. Whoever gets best instructions per clock will be used. I guess Google, Facebook, etc. are looking at Xeons, Power8, and ARM primarily, but whatever gets bets performance per watt and density will be what they use. They don't have a bunch of purchased non-portable software, so they have no actual reason to run Intel if there's something better.
I can tell ya, back in the day I ran Linux on an ARM, MIPS, PowerPC, Alpha, PA-RISC, as well as x86. Debian do a good job of this, you had a complete distro on all of these, not some noticeably smaller subset of packages.. To bootstrap linux on a new CPU you basically get gcc, the kernel, and glibc to build on it (there's a few lighter libc for embedded use too), and (in Debian's case) a build system builds all other packages from source, logging which packages failed to build. Once your GCC and glibc are up to snuff, everything should build (it won't try to build something platform specific like virtualbox, it'd be flagged x86-only). ARM, and POWER/PowerPC have been supported for years, modern ARM and Power8 are already supported so I don't think a company with a home-built Linux-based software stack should have huge problems porting over if they prove more power-efficient (or to a future power-efficient chip, once it's got gcc, Linux, and glibc on it everything else should follow and you end up with a full distro on there too. Hopefully the C/C++ portions of your custom software stack build and whatever else (python or shell script or whatever) should just copy straight over.)
Friday 9th October 2015 03:02 GMT Nuno trancoso
I have a dream
That one of these days VIA gets off it's collective ass and starts bringing what it already has to the general market at a sensible price...
While not as fast as Intel or as power saving as ARM, they do fill that nice spot where it doesn't use too much power, isn't that dog slow AND runs Win.
AMD also has Geode in that niche, but neither company seems to be interested in truly giving it a decent chance.
:Get the pj's and off to bed, dreaming of a low power 8 core that runs Windoze and costs <€100
Friday 9th October 2015 08:39 GMT kryptylomese
I can really see the benefit of using ARM and not just because Linux works 100% on it due to the fact the software is open source and can be recompiled for the platform (Unlike Windows) but also because of emulators available from http://eltechs.com/
Have any of you used it? If it is good then it is most definitely a game changer that will allow Windows software x86 (64?) to run on ARM!
Monday 12th October 2015 14:43 GMT nick soph