back to article Qualcomm moved its Snapdragon designers to its ARM server chip. We peek at the results

Qualcomm moved engineers from its flagship Snapdragon chips, used in millions of smartphones and tablets, to its fledgling data center processor family Centriq. This shift in focus, from building the brains of handheld devices to concentrating on servers, will be apparent on Tuesday evening, when the internal design of Centriq …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's little risk in dropping Kyro

    There isn't anyone on the Android side able to beat ARM designed A72/A73/A75 cores by enough to matter. Sure, Apple is blowing away those ARM designed cores, but Android users aren't going to switch to iPhone over CPU performance, so that's irrelevant to Qualcomm.

    Interesting choice to go with 48 cores. I guess they know they can't compete with Intel in single thread performance / IPC, so there's no point in clocking aggressively high and will instead try to make up for it with the number of cores. Sort of like AMD's strategy with Threadripper.

    I'm sure the big cloud providers like Google and Amazon will give them a look, but they have such large scale these days they could afford to fund their own ARM design and create a complete SoC that does everything they need it to do and nothing they don't. So I wonder if there's really ever going to be a large enough market to justify Qualcomm designing an ARM server CPU.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: There's little risk in dropping Kyro

      Sorry to be picky but you're comment about ARM vs Intel holds just as true for ARM vs Apple: tweaking performance of the ARM designs doesn't make much difference to overall performance. Where Apple still has an undeniable lead is in the GPUs and in the custom hardware that the ARM design encourages.

    2. Hans 1

      Re: There's little risk in dropping Kyro

      Sort of like AMD's strategy with Threadripper.

      They're trying to outperform the Thunderx, if you ask me ...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There's little risk in dropping Kyro

      Except that's not true. Amazon acquired Annapurna Labs back in 2015 specifically for that purpose.

      https://www.extremetech.com/computing/198140-amazon-buys-secretive-chip-maker-annapurna-labs-for-350-million

      And google released their own custom "TPU" for AI processing earlier this year. While it's not a general purpose CPU, it could very easily be converted.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How will QC license these CPU's?

    IF they follow some of their current licensing practices then the servers that contain these CPU's cost some more dure to QC wanting to charge a percentage of the Server cost as a license as well as a license to use the chip in the first place.

    Double dipping at its best.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How will QC license these CPU's?

      Better not sell it in a server that ships with 1TB of RAM I guess!

  3. Zola
    FAIL

    So why bother with Kyro?

    It doesn't seem like Kyro is that critical to their mobile roadmap if they can swap out their fully custom design for off-the-shelf IP without any obvious impact on the bottom line, yet it's undoubtedly a damn sight cheaper/faster to use the off the shelf ARM cores.

    I always thought Kyro was a case of NIH, and never really justified the additional design cost given the marginal performance gain over stock ARM IP.

    At best Kyro is just a dick swinging marketing exercise - no real gain or benefit for the end user, but look how clever we are to design our own stuff.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So why bother with Kyro?

      I'll bet they began the effort believing could beat ARM cores by enough that it would give them an advantage in the market. However, as it turns out their design team either just isn't that good or Qualcomm isn't giving them sufficient resources.

  4. john.jones.name

    without a network interface its going to look a little bare... sure you can add a PCIe part however the advantage of a SOC is that its a system...

    otherwise it looks quite nice and would do well if they priced it at $50

  5. Steve K Silver badge

    The picture of Anand Chandrasekhar chosen for this article looks like he has a HUUUGE chip on his shoulder - is that intentional/subliminal?

    1. foo_bar_baz
      Coffee/keyboard

      Invoice for new keyboard

      Sent

    2. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Good spot

      Pint ->

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