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AMD Announces First ARM Processor

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the welcome-to-the-bigs dept.

AMD 168

MojoKid writes "AMD's Andrew Feldman announced today that the company is preparing to sample its new eight-core ARM SoC (codename: Seattle). Feldman gave a keynote presentation at the fifth annual Open Compute Summit. The Open Compute Project (OCP) is Facebook's effort to decentralize and unpack the datacenter, breaking the replication of resources and low volume, high-margin parts that have traditionally been Intel's bread-and-butter. AMD is claiming that the eight ARM cores offer 2-4x the compute performance of the Opteron X1250 — which isn't terribly surprising, considering that the X1250 is a four-core chip based on the Jaguar CPU, with a relatively low clock speed of 1.1 — 1.9GHz. We still don't know the target clock speeds for the Seattle cores, but the embedded roadmaps AMD has released show the ARM embedded part actually targeting a higher level of CPU performance (and a higher TDP) than the Jaguar core itself."

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ARM processing (-1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 6 months ago | (#46097315)

"AMD Announces First ARM Processor"
So, how fast CAN it process an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?

Re:ARM processing (3, Funny)

ne0n (884282) | about 6 months ago | (#46097629)

I believe you've read it wrong. Basically, AMD actually traveled back in time to develop the first ARM processor.

Re:ARM processing (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 months ago | (#46098233)

I believe you've read it wrong. Basically, AMD actually traveled back in time to develop the first ARM processor.

No - its making a food processor for cannibals. The design brief was that you should be able to process a whole arm.

Pretty low bar... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46097319)

OK, RISC is good and all, but they're claiming performance well below the competition at a higher cost per flop in watts. And it's going to need everything recompiled.

Seriously, WTF happened? The Opteron 2300s were very good and extremely competitive, but AMD decided to burn that to the ground for really no reason. It's not their engineering that kills them, it's their execution. I know of no other company that can piss away 5-6 years of R&D and then claim over and over that the inferior new stuff is so great. It's mind-blowing.

Re:Pretty low bar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46097561)

2-4x compute performance of Jaguar cores is indeed a very low bar, especially if the new one has a higher TDP as well.

If they want to go for microservers they must specialize and not just put out another X core SoC. So what should be the purpose of this SoC? Since they haven't put out any performance details in regard to competition we can only speculate. Either they compete with the ~10W (?) Bay Trails or the lower end Xeons.

But much more important, what is the benefit of using ARM over x86 here?

Re:Pretty low bar... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 months ago | (#46098359)

But much more important, what is the benefit of using ARM over x86 here?

I don't know much about servers but ARM chips are currently outselling x86 ships. It makes sense for chip manufacturers to get into the ARM market (unless you're Intel).

Re:Pretty low bar... (1)

dwater (72834) | about 6 months ago | (#46098481)

> unless you're Intel

I'm curious about the arguments for and against for Intel...

Re:Pretty low bar... (3, Interesting)

gtall (79522) | about 6 months ago | (#46098771)

And the point is that this is about servers, it doesn't matter if there are more ARM chips selling....you wouldn't compare a smart phone SoC with a server chip.

I've heard arguments on both sides about server stats for ARM vs. Intel servers. Personally, I hope Intel gets kicked in the teeth, but I have yet to see a knock down argument that ARM has what it takes to beat them. There will probably be applications for both were each excels.

Making comparisons now is also somewhat pointless. What's more important are the trajectories of both architectures, and Intel could also try to pull another Itanic, only be successful this time. At that point, attempting to plot trajectories now is pointless because a new Intel architecture is an entirely different trajectory.

Re:Pretty low bar... (3, Funny)

fisted (2295862) | about 6 months ago | (#46099069)

ARM chips are currently outselling x86 ships

That doesn't surprise me at all. It might be interesting to have an ARM-powered x86 ship though.

Despite it's name (4, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | about 6 months ago | (#46097355)

Jaguar is for tablets and seems to be designed for price point and not speed. That's why they are comparing it with the ARM stuff and not using an Opteron 6386 as a comparison.

Re:Despite it's name (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46097385)

2 * 10Gb ethernet
8 * SATA 3
128GB DDR3 RAM
great for a storage box

Re:Despite it's name (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 6 months ago | (#46098013)

A "storage box" should not need more than 128 megabytes of RAM.

Re:Despite it's name (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 6 months ago | (#46098087)

Depends, if its running Windows Storage Spaces, it'll need more than the 128 GB.

Re:Despite it's name (1)

isama (1537121) | about 6 months ago | (#46098159)

Or anything ZFS. git it 16G minimum for caching otherwise it will work like that windows server :P

Re:Despite it's name (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 6 months ago | (#46098419)

Most 10Gb Ethernet ports use a gig each just for buffers.

Re:Despite it's name (2)

petermgreen (876956) | about 6 months ago | (#46098539)

Depeneds what exactly the "storage box" is doing with the data.

If it is doing block level deduplication then ram starts to become very important since you really want to keep the deduplication tables in ram. The freenas guys reccomend 5GB of ram per terabyte of storage for ZFS deduplication.

If it's serving up the same files repeately then more ram means more chance that those files will be cached in memory rather than having to be read from relatively slow storage devices.

Re:Despite it's name (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 6 months ago | (#46098965)

And harddrives should not need more than 4KB of cache.

Re:Despite it's name (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 6 months ago | (#46097397)

Which is why I don't get this chip. After all they have the Jaguar for ULV applications, Opteron for when you need more horsepower, what good are these ARM units?

And I'm sorry ARM fans but as we keep seeing ARM just doesn't scale, you bump up the IPC and you blow the power budget, which is why I've been saying for awhile that days of "ARM Mania" will be quickly coming to an end. Folks want their handhelds to perform like an HTPC in their pocket and that means high instructions per second which ARM can't do without blowing through the power. This is why Nvidia is up to 5 cores, Samsung to 6, because ARM just doesn't scale. Its gonna be easier for AMD and Intel to cut X86 down with jaguar and Atom than it is to get ARM to scale.

So I just don't get what the market for this is exactly. Most server code is X86 anyway, be it wintel or Linux, so you are talking about some serious expense porting it over and with jaguar on the low end and Opteron on the high? Well i just don't see a huge market for ARM servers, am I missing something?

Re:Despite it's name (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46097429)

Nonsense.

Most serve code can just be recompiled and it just works. Even that is not required it are are running a Linux distro.

That's before we think that a lot of server code is Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, JavaScript etc that does not even need recompiling.

I can't speak for the power budget on servers but clearly someone thinks there is a gain there.

Besides, some competition in that space cannot be a bad thing can it?

     

Re:Despite it's name (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46097459)

These things seem almost purpose-built for memcached servers and... well, can't think of much else. And for a memcached box, all the profit is going to the DRAM vendors. Saw somewhere else that "AMD will take a loss on every chip, but make up for it in volume..." That sounds about right for their business plan, but can they even execute on that...? Will be an interesting year for them, I suppose.

Re:Despite it's name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46097483)

Most serve code can just be recompiled and it just works. Even that is not required it are are running a Linux distro.

Linux magically enables you to run x86 binaries on ARM hardware without recompiling the code? Wow!

Re:Despite it's name (0)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 6 months ago | (#46097501)

Most serve code can just be recompiled and it just works. Even that is not required it are are running a Linux distro.

Linux magically enables you to run x86 binaries on ARM hardware without recompiling the code? Wow!

Most business apps are written in Java or are multiplatform unlike desktops.

Re:Despite it's name (1)

afidel (530433) | about 6 months ago | (#46097833)

Most business apps are written in java (as understood by one or two supported java server engines, probably not the ones available on ARM unless one of those happens to be Apache Tomcat). Seriously, most of the time even upgrading the java server to a newer subrelease will break things for any non-trivial application which is why you have very specific requirements in the support matrix.

Re:Despite it's name (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#46098247)

Write once, debug in some places, abandon all hope elsewhere...

Re:Despite it's name (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 6 months ago | (#46098805)

But again what EXACTLY does this give you over AMD's current offerings? Low power? nope the Jaguar has that beat. High IPC? Nope Opteron curbstomps them, so what EXACTLY are these for? After all there is a hell of a lot more X86 code for server than there is ARM and whether you are gonna run Java or not there is still gonna be bugs and headaches with switching arches, its not like every bit of code is gonna work perfectly with better efficiency than it had before.

So what am I missing here? Because other than having a checkbox that says ARM, which IMHO is a couple years too late for the party thanks to Jag and Atom, what market does this serve? Is there a market for ARM chips that suck MORE power than their Jaguar units, but less than the Opteron? The jag is actually a nice chip ya know, so I really don't see what the selling point is on these chips.

That has not been our experience. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46098897)

We've been using Java for desktop and embedded work for the last 10 years.
The codebase is over a quarter of a million lines. We've never had an upgrade
break our code.

Re:Despite it's name (1)

tibman (623933) | about 6 months ago | (#46097585)

You would have to go way out of your way to get x86 binaries on an arm box. Your package manager certainly won't be giving you pre-built packages for the wrong architecture.

Re:Despite it's name (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 6 months ago | (#46097655)

No, you'd probably use something already built for ARM like apache and a PHP (or something better) interpreter.
We've gone full circle back to the early PC days of interpreted instead of compiled code so that leaves a space for these things.

Re:Despite it's name (2)

qpqp (1969898) | about 6 months ago | (#46097821)

I'm sure the point was that most packages are also available as binaries for ARM.

Re:Despite it's name (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46098261)

No of course not. Don't be silly.

But if I run a Debian setup, for example, I could just as easily use the ARM version of Debian which provides all the same packages built for ARM. I don't have to recompile anything there.

My application code, if it's in C/C++ or some other compiled language can easily be recompiled by me just like I build for x86. No problem.

All the Java, PHP stuff does not need compiling at all.

Around here we do that a lot moving code around from x86 to ARM, but so far going down scale to embedded systems not up scale to servers.

I see no reason why it should be hard. Or even much of an inconvenience at all.

Re:Despite it's name (2, Interesting)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 6 months ago | (#46097731)

I agree. Recompiling is not a big deal. C/C++ is standardized. The heavy lifting is the creation of standard libraries, and any sensible chip and system vendor will help do that because it's absolutely necessary. This is not the same thing as porting from an Oracle database to MariaDB or some other DB. That's a big job because every database has their own unique set of extensions to SQL.

x86 never was a good architecture. It was crap when it was created back in the 1970s, crap even when compared to other CISC architectures of that era, and despite tremendous improvement, it's still crap today. Motorola's 68000 series was superior. Intel went with a load/store design for the integer math, which is okay, but then for no good reason whatsoever they didn't stay consistent for the floating point math, opting for a horrible stack based approach. The reason the true underlying architecture of a modern x86 CPU is RISC is that RISC is just that much better. Yes, so much better that even after allowing for the overhead in translating from x86 to RISC instructions, it is still faster than a CPU that executes x86 operations natively. They've done an amazing job of working around and amending the shortcomings of the x86 design, but it would be better to ditch the legacy cruft and make a fresh start. I mean, the instruction set has specialized instructions for handling packed decimal! And then there's the near worthless string search REPNE CMPSB family of instructions. The Boyer-Moore string search algorithm is much faster, and dates back to 1977. Another sad thing is that for some CPUs, the built in DIV instruction was so slow that sometimes it was faster to do integer division with shifts and subtracts. That's a serious knock on Intel that they did such a poor job of implementing DIV. A long time criticism of the x86 architecture has been that it has too few registers, and what it does have is much too specialized. Like, only AX and DX can be used for integer multiplication and division. And BX is for indexing, and CX is for looping (B is for base and C is for count you know-- it's like the designers took their inspiration from Sesame Street's Cookie Monster and the Count!) This forces a lot of juggling to move data in and out of the few registers that can do the desired operation. This particular problem has been much alleviated by the addition of more registers and shadow registers, but that doesn't address the numerous other problems. Yet another feature that is obsolete is the CALL and RET and of course the PUSH and POP instructions, because once again they used a stack. Standard thinking 40 years ago, but today, we know that more flexibility is better, and calls and returns can be achieved with a JMP instruction that stores a return address at a location determined through some indirection, rather than using a specialized CALL and RET instruction that pigs out on a precious register to hold and update a stack pointer for a call stack, and which is a pain to work around to implement things like tail end recursion. Finally, the support for task switching, virtual memory, and concurrency was lacking. Their so-called segmented memory architecture was terrible. The first attempt at OS level instructions, in the 80286, was so badly done that hardly anyone tried to use it. The 80386 was much better, but still lacked an atomic instruction for handling semaphores. Wasn't until the 80486 that they finally got it good enough to support a real OS. That's a big reason why PCs had such a poor reputation compared to Big Iron, and were often dismissed as toys.

That's not to say that ARM and other architectures don't have issues. But the x86-- it's like they were trying for the worst possible design they could think of.

Re:Despite it's name (3, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 6 months ago | (#46097781)

Its not x86 today, which kind of makes me think you have no idea what youre talking about.

opting for a horrible stack based approach.

Im not one to argue architectural advantages, but id point out that both of the top two cpu manufacturers chose the same instruction set. Noone else has been able to catch the pair of them in about a decade.

Re:Despite it's name (3, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 6 months ago | (#46098109)

its unfortunate, but sometimes the best way to drive a screw into a piece of wood is just to keep smashing at it with bigger and bigger hammers.

I guess this approach is what Intel and AMD have been doing with x86.

Re:Despite it's name (0)

goarilla (908067) | about 6 months ago | (#46098583)

IIRC Ibm's power 6 architecture outperformed intel's then current offering.

Re:Despite it's name (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 6 months ago | (#46099147)

In which ways? Branchy code? MIPS per joule? Flops per Joule? Raw MIPS or FLOPS? Performance per core? Otherwise you're just saying something like "My semi beat your car".

Re:Despite it's name (1, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 6 months ago | (#46098665)

That depends on how you're measuring success. If it's by fastest available CPU, by most sales, or by highest profits, then neither AMD nor Intel has been dominant since the '80s.

Re:Despite it's name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46097851)

Hint: paragraphs.

Re:Despite it's name (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 6 months ago | (#46097981)

tl;dr

Something about Kermit - I think that was a networking protocol popular in the 80s.

x86 IS efficient (4, Informative)

Crass Spektakel (4597) | about 6 months ago | (#46097923)

Actually x86 IS efficient for for something completely different. The architecture itself is totally unimportant as deep inside it is yet another micro code translator and doesn't differ significantly from PPC or Sparc nowadays.

x86 short instructions allow for highly efficient memory usage and for a much, much, much higher Ops per Cycle. This is just that big of a deal that ARM has created a short command version of ARM opcodes just to close in. But then this instruction set is totally incompatible and also totally ignored.

Short instructions do not matter on slow architectures like todays ARM world. These just want to safe power and therefore it fits in well that ARM also is a heavy user of slow in-order-execution.

A nice example, increasing a 64 bit register in x86 takes ONE byte and recent x86 CPUs can run this operation on different register up to 100 times PER CYCLE, all commands to be loaded in THREE to EIGHT Cycles from memory to cache. On the other hand, the same operation on ARM takes 12 bytes for a single increment operation, to load some dozend of these operations would take THOUSANDS of clock cycles.

And now you know why high end x86 is 20-50 times faster than ARM.

Re:x86 IS efficient (5, Interesting)

luminousone11 (2472748) | about 6 months ago | (#46098353)

1 byte?, you have no idea what you are talking about. AMD64 has a prefix byte before first op code byte, so in 64bit mode no instruction is smaller then 2bytes, Also 64bit arm is a new instruction set, and it does not in any way resemble 32bit arm. The fact is 64bit ARM, looks much more CISC'y then 32bit ARM, providing access to multiple address modes for load instructions, integrating the SIMD instructions rather then using costly co-processor extensions, having lightly variable length instructions, dedicated stack register and access instructions, And in a huge break from prior arm instruction sets they drop the conditional execution instructions from the instruction set. And it manages to increase the register count from 16 to 32 to boot as well. ARM has a bright future, It is not forced to waste huge swaths of transistors on decoding stupidly scatter brained instruction encodings built from 40 years of stacking shit on top of shit.

Re:x86 IS efficient (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46098467)

What luminousone11 said with regard to 64-bit, but even if you compare old 32-bit ARM to x86 the CISC-vs-RISC comparison doesn't go as you expect, because with triple-operands, conditional execution and data processing I frequently encounter a single ARM instruction that does the work of many multi-cycle x86 instructions, not even considering all the expensive jumps on x86 which simply get stepped over for free in ARM.

Re:x86 IS efficient (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 6 months ago | (#46098689)

Actually x86 IS efficient for for something completely different. The architecture itself is totally unimportant as deep inside it is yet another micro code translator and doesn't differ significantly from PPC or Sparc nowadays.

This is true, unless you care about power. The decoder in an x86 pipeline is more accurately termed a parser. The complexity of the x86 instruction set adds 1-3 pipeline stages relative to a simpler encoding. This is logic that has to be powered all of the time (except in Xeons, where they cache decoded micro-ops for tight loops and can power gate the decoder, reducing their pipeline to something more like a RISC processor, but only when running very small loops).

x86 short instructions allow for highly efficient memory usage and for a much, much, much higher Ops per Cycle.

It is more efficient than ARM. My tests with Thumb-2 found that IA32 and Thumb-2 code were about the same density, plus or minus 10%, with neither a clear winner. However, the Thumb-2 decoder is really trivial, whereas the IA32 decoder is horribly complex.

This is just that big of a deal that ARM has created a short command version of ARM opcodes just to close in. But then this instruction set is totally incompatible and also totally ignored.

Thumb-2 is now the default for any ARMv7 (Cortex-A8 and newer) compiler, because it always generates denser code than ARM mode and has no disadvantages. Everything else in your post is also wrong, but others have already added corrections to you there.

Re:x86 IS efficient (2)

thogard (43403) | about 6 months ago | (#46099095)

There is one disadvantage of the different ARM modes and that is the an arbitrary program will contain all the needed bit patters to make some useful code. This means that any reasonable large program will have enough code to support hacking techniques like Return Oriented Programming if another bug can be exploited. I would love to see some control bits that turn off the other modes.

You have that wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46099051)

Your CYCLE is an instruction cycle.

On an ARM that would be a CLOCK cycle as most instructions execute in one clock cycle.

Intel wastes 100 clock cycles.

Plus all the overhead of huge caches, huge instruction buffers, translation tables, reordering processing.

ARM doesn't need all that.

The ARM designers haven't even begun to speed up the implementation yet, and already have threatened the low end Intel based servers.

Re:Despite it's name (4, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | about 6 months ago | (#46098271)

Your criticisms are probably quite apt for a 286 process. Some might be relevant to 686 processors too... But they make no sense in a world that has switched to x86-64.

The proprietary processor wars are over. Alpha and Vax are dead. PA-RISC is dead. MIPS has been relegated to the low-end. SPARC is slowly drowning. And even Itanium's days are severely numbered. Only POWER has kept pace, in fits and starts, and for all the loud press, ARM is only biting at x86's ankles.

    x86 has been shown able to not just keep pace but outclass every other architecture. Complain about CISC all you want, but the instruction complexity made it easy to keep bolting on more instructions... From MMX to SSE3 and everything in-between. The complaints about idiosyncracies are quite important to the 5 x86 ASM programmers out there, and compilier writers, and nobody else.

I wouldn't mind a future where MIPS CPUs overtake x64, but any debate about the future of processors ended when AMD skillfully managed the 64-bit transition, and they and Intel killed off all the competition. With CPU prices falling to a pittance, and no heavy computational loads found for the average person, there's no benefit to be had, even in the wildest imagination, of switching the PC world to a different architecture, painful transition or no.

Re:Despite it's name (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 6 months ago | (#46098383)

TL;DR but to paraphrase Churchill "x86 is the worst form of instruction set, except for all those other forms that have been tried". The rest are dead, Jim. The cruft has been slowly weeded out by extensions and x86-64 and compilers will avoid using poor instructions. The worst are moved to microcode and take up essentially no silicon at all, they're just there so your 8086 software will run unchanged. It's like getting your panties in a bunch over DVORAK, whether or not it's better QWERTY is close enough that the world will never change. The only reason ARM might be the next thing is legal, because there's patents tied to making a x86-compaitble processor (shouldn't they BTW start expiring soon?) while everyone can get an ARM license.

Re:Despite it's name (2)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about 6 months ago | (#46099099)

. I mean, the instruction set has specialized instructions for handling packed decimal! And then there's the near worthless string search REPNE CMPSB family of instructions. The Boyer-Moore string search algorithm is much faster, and dates back to 1977. Another sad thing is that for some CPUs, the built in DIV instruction was so slow that sometimes it was faster to do integer division with shifts and subtracts. That's a serious knock on Intel that they did such a poor job of implementing DIV. A long time criticism of the x86 architecture has been that it has too few registers, and what it does have is much too specialized. Like, only AX and DX can be used for integer multiplication and division. And BX is for indexing, and CX is for looping (B is for base and C is for count you know-- it's like the designers took their inspiration from Sesame Street's Cookie Monster and the Count!) This forces a lot of juggling to move data in and out of the few registers that can do the desired operation. This particular problem has been much alleviated by the addition of more registers and shadow registers, but that doesn't address the numerous other problems. Yet another feature that is obsolete is the CALL and RET and of course the PUSH and POP instructions, because once again they used a stack. Standard thinking 40 years ago.

It was standard on the 8086 (introduced in 1978). The 80368 (1985) is a general purpose register machine and can use a 0:32 flat memory mode. And modern x64 (2003) has twice as many registers and the ABI specified SSE for floating point, not 8087. Also in 64 bit mode segment bases and limits for code and data (i.e any instruction which does not have a segment override prefix) are ignored.

I.e pretty much all the things you're complaining about have been fixed and if you look at benchmarks x64 chips have been faster than their Risc competitors pretty much since x64 was introduced. Going on about segments, floating point stacks and REPNE MOVSD now is absurd.

And if you look at the way the 8086 took over from the 8080 what they did made a lot of sense. You could machine convert a CPM 8080 program to a MS DOS 8086 one and have it run fine. Meanwhile a native 8086 program had access to 1M of address space, up from 64K on 8080 and Z80. Like CPM MSDOS ran on commodity hardware which was cheaper than the big iron boxes and given most people were running things like Visicalc and Wordstar it was perfectly sufficient.

Re:Despite it's name (1)

edxwelch (600979) | about 6 months ago | (#46098811)

> Most serve code can just be recompiled and it just works.
Umm, you're hardly going to run recompiled enterprise software, without testing and certification. And what about if said software uses SIMD, or x86 assembler? That requires a rewrite.

That has not been our experience. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46098913)

We had one bright guy who decided to put an ARM in instead of the Power PCs
we were using. Well, it turns out a very complex driver for a very complex
comms chip used bitfields all over the place to describe the hardware
registers. And bitfield interpretation depends on endianness. ALL the
register and control structures that used bitfields had to be edited. It
was a nightmare.

Re:Despite it's name (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46097449)

So I just don't get what the market for this is exactly. Most server code is X86 anyway, be it wintel or Linux, so you are talking about some serious expense porting it over and with jaguar on the low end and Opteron on the high? Well i just don't see a huge market for ARM servers, am I missing something?

I agree. When you have Haswell x86 cpus running the full Windows OS in tablets now and for a decent amount of time between charges, well, what do we need ARM for anymore?

For that matter, other than for cellphones, what do we need android for anymore? Certainly not for tablets. I never touch the two android tablets I have now, and don't get me started on how the damned desktop gets wiped and reset everytime there's an update so I can't organize the damned apps... I've finally picked up a Surface Pro with Win8 and couldn't be happier.

So far as I'm concerned android is already dead, it just doesn't know it yet.

Re:Despite it's name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46097525)

The problem with ARM is that you lose the advantages of application compatibility. I don't know how much the Haswell chips have improved tablet battery life but if that can get comparable to ARM levels then I would have to agree that there is little point to ARM.

FWIW I also have a surface pro 1st gen so battery life isnt fantastic but my nexus 7 doesnt get any use. The nexus 7 isnt a bad device, I personally just dont have a use for it, everything i need i have on the surface, i have all my desktop programs and dualboot Ubuntu so it saves me carrying a laptop and a tablet and having to switch between the two, also i dont have to sync data between the devices. On the downside I already mentioned battery life but weight is also an issue, though since it means one device rather than 2 i can live with that, would be nice if it were a little lighter though.

Re:Despite it's name (3, Informative)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 6 months ago | (#46097537)

Microsoft supports Windows, IIS, SQL Server, and Exchange on ARM. Linux and its FOSS supports ARM as well. I believe RHES has an openJDK for java apps to run on ARM servers too.

Besides a few niche apps I really do not see the application compatibility problem.

It is not like these are used to run win32 desktop apps.

Re:Despite it's name (1)

afidel (530433) | about 6 months ago | (#46097859)

Microsoft supports Windows (kinda), on ARM

FTFY, MS only supports a limited set of the Windows 8 client piece on ARM (specifically Modern UI based apps)

Re:Despite it's name (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 6 months ago | (#46098047)

Who cares about the client API? - We're talking about a server, which depending on the quality of Microsoft's remote admin tools, should run entirely headless. (One would hope you don't *still* need to Remote Desktop into a server in 2014 to change a trivial setting)

Even if Windows RT dies a miserable death in tablet-land, all the necessary plumbing to run SQLServer, Exchange, Active Directory etc should be present.

Re:Despite it's name (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#46098283)

I suspect that the bigger problem is all those applications that are mostly just IIS/SQL Server/.NET; but have enough native binaries in assorted places to gum up the works. Not so much of an issue for fancy hyperscale web outfits that have total control over their server stack and software; but a lot of businesses depend on 3rd party software, often with a long upgrade cycle, and all it takes is a few x86 specific components to scotch the whole thing until the vendor fixes it and charges a large pile of money for the update.

Re:Despite it's name (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#46098275)

I have no love for Android; but there is one major difference between Intel's latest and assorted ARM:

Has Intel managed to cram some impressive x86 punch into ever lower power envelopes? Yes, yes indeed. Are they the only game in town, period, if you want reasonably speedy x86s at low power? Yes, unfortunately so. And, to the degree that the threat from iPads and the like doesn't keep them in check, prices reflect that.

ARM, by contrast, lacks some punch and a lot of legacy software; but approximately a zillion vendors using undistinguished foundry processes can achieve decent results at low power. Prices reflect this.

So long as ARM remains a looming threat, Intel will price their parts such that they (by virtue of Intel's unquestioned technical prowess) are very, very, compelling. If ARM shows any signs of weakness, it'll be back to the early Pentium M days, when Intel pretended that the 'Pentium 4 Mobile' was good enough, and that a Pentium M deserved a massive price premium. Not fun, at all.

Re:Despite it's name (0)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 6 months ago | (#46098857)

Except you are forgetting about AMD and how they have a total lock on the console space for the next 5 to 7 years which should keep plenty of money flowing towards the Jaguar. While I haven't gotten to play with jag yet I've built more systems using bobcat (the chip jag is based on) than I can count and its great, low power, long battery life, and does 1080P over HDMI. All reports indicate that jag improves on bobcat in every area, number of cores, power draw, and graphics muscle.

So unless they can figure out how to get serious IPC out of ARM the future isn't looking so bright, it'll be used in things where cost is the number 1 factor but in everything else? It'll probably be X86. And considering I've been picking up bobcat boards for $80 and looking on Tiger the quad jag laptops are going for just $350 the price advantage of ARM may end up in the really REALLY low end, we are talking the sub $100 space, where profits are measured in pennies. Not a great market to be stuck in.

Re:Despite it's name (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 6 months ago | (#46099103)

The Pentium M is a good example of how Intel remains dominant. It takes about 5 years to bring a CPU to market, for any vendor. You start with an approximate transistor and power budget and an estimate of what the market will want in 5-7 years. You then start work. Hopefully, the process technology gets where you need it to be and the market does what you expect. With the Pentium 4, neither happened: they were expecting to get to 10GHz with a thermal envelope of around 60W and didn't, and the market started caring about power as laptops and dense servers became big markets. If AMD had made this mistake, it would have cost the company a huge amount. Intel's size means that they don't start just one processor design, they start ten, and gradually cull them as either it becomes clear that the market isn't doing what they expected or that their designs aren't working out. They typically have 2-3 that can be ready to go in under a year, which is how they were able to pull the Pentium-M out of a hat.

This is also why ARM's strategy has changed with ARMv8 (and, to a lesser extent, with the later ARMv7 designs). Previously, most ARM customers build chips that were an ARM design plus some customisation. This was fine for ARM's traditional markets, because they were predictable and ARM could happily succeed with a small set of designs that covered this space. With ARMv8, they intentionally delayed the launch of their own designs and worked with other manufacturers (nVidia, AMD, and so on) to produce completely in-house implementations. This makes the ARM ecosystem a lot more resilient, because individual manufacturers can aim for different niches and they can bring them all to market. And, because many of these companies make money from producing SoCs, if they don't have a CPU core that makes sense for the current market, they can license one from one of the other manufacturers and add their own things on the side.

Re:Despite it's name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46099123)

Windows 8. Ha ha ha. Pile of shit.

Re:Despite it's name (0)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 6 months ago | (#46097465)

The bottleneck for servers is I/O, thread management, and SQL queries.

Not FPU or integer number crunching. Which is why Java is more popular than ever in the server room even if it is dying in the browser. Also it is why Solaris refuses to die because it can handle threads in hardware which wont become non responsive when overloaded unlike x86.

The question for me is how much money in power do these cut over traditional x86. Also if you look up the MIPS ont he atom processors they are really really slow as in 2002 AthlonXP +1600 era performance. While cpu is less important in a server, this might be too much of a cut to use an atom based server instead.

Re:Despite it's name (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 6 months ago | (#46097763)

its been scaling since the mid 1980's and a hell of a lot more gracefully than any other cpu ever made to date, and btw even windows NT 4.0 supported arm

Re:Despite it's name (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about 6 months ago | (#46098049)

even windows NT 4.0 supported arm

Not as far as I know. Maybe you are thinking about Alpha?

Re:Despite it's name (1)

CdBee (742846) | about 6 months ago | (#46099055)

Windows NT was supported on ARM. As well as Alpha. I've still got a copy of it somewhere...

Re:Despite it's name (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 6 months ago | (#46099081)

I cannot find any evidence of Windows NT supporting ARM before Windows 8.

Re:Despite it's name (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 6 months ago | (#46098391)

If one thinks ARM does not scale, it would be interesting if he would point out why he thinks so.
There is no thechnical reason for ARM not to scale ...

Re:Despite it's name (3, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | about 6 months ago | (#46098393)

Most server code? Most server code is Java, Python, PHP or some other abstraction running over the hardware. Providing the runtime exists to support the abstraction it is largely irrelevant what architecture is powering it. I expect that operations that are already using Linux or some other Unix variant are well positioned to jump over. Windows based operations, not so much though Microsoft are in the cloud computing space too and this might motivate them to support ARM.

Why companies might do choose ARM really depends not on whether it is faster than Intel CPUs, but whether it is fast enough for the task at hand, and better in other regards such as power consumption, cooling, rack space etc. Google, Facebook, Amazon et al run enormous data centers running custom boot images and have teams capable of producing images for different architectures. This would seem to be the market that AMD is targeting.

Re:Despite it's name (1)

higuita (129722) | about 6 months ago | (#46098643)

You are also forgetting that a x86 or a amd64 is a RISC cpu with a layer od CISC hidding the RISC. That layer takes cpu space, power and resources (both designing and working). Going to a simples CPU design saves silicon wafers, increasing the number of cpu per wafers and so increasing the profit. Also, a simpler cpu saved internal resources developing the cpu.

So AMD building ARM cpus is a way to reduce costs, increase potential profit per cpu and of course, being ready and testing the market demand for ARM CPUs

Re:Despite it's name (4, Interesting)

Alioth (221270) | about 6 months ago | (#46098953)

ARM scales fine (in another way). Sophie Wilson (one of the ARM's original developers) indeed said that ARM wouldn't be any better today than x86 in terms of power per unit of computing done. However, an advantage ARM has for parallelizable workloads is you can get more ARM cores onto a given area of silicon. Just the part of an x86 that figures out how long the next instruction is is the size of an entire ARM core, so if you want lots of cores this will count for something (for example, the Spinnaker research project at Manchester University uses absurd numbers of ARM cores).

Re:Despite it's name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46098979)

It's another AMD "me too" play, with some interesting innovations that will ultimately fail to live up to the hype because of poor execution...

Re:Despite it's name (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#46099063)

AMD is betting that their "APU" designs, where a GPU offloads a lot of heavy lifting from the CPU, will provide good performance and power consumption. Offloading to the GPU is actually more advanced on mobile platforms than on the desktop, so it makes sense.

Re:Despite it's name (5, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 6 months ago | (#46097451)

Jaguar is for tablets and seems to be designed for price point and not speed. That's why they are comparing it with the ARM stuff and not using an Opteron 6386 as a comparison.

The question is whether Jaguar itself is really 64-bit, or if it's just the graphics processor that's 64-bit and the rest is 32-bit.

Re:Despite it's name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46097683)

No, that's not the question. Jaguar is a full x86_64 core, with all that implies. Where you even came up with an idea like that is beyond me.

Re:Despite it's name (4, Informative)

gmhowell (26755) | about 6 months ago | (#46097801)

Where you even came up with an idea like that is beyond me.

Obviously [wikipedia.org] . BTW, isn't tonight a school night, kid?

Re:Despite it's name (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 6 months ago | (#46098705)

You fukkin n00b. Lurk moar and learn about Atari some time.

What rev of the core? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46097445)

A57 r0p0? So... no way they're going to production with that. Expecting quite a long gap between early samples and production parts (like shipping systems 2015). Will be interesting to see how this compares to Denverton.

Sounds good to me .. (1)

dogandpants (3398905) | about 6 months ago | (#46097497)

"breaking the replication of resources and low volume, high-margin parts that have traditionally been Intel's bread-and-butter.": Intel has served us sort-of well, only. That's one thing. I also have friends who worked there and found it unhappy. I also am personally unhappy that Intel broke Nat Semi's forward looking CPUs and that they worked on the standard salesmen's plan. ARM is a good idea, and is winning. Kudos. Good luck also to AMD.

Re:Sounds good to me .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46097515)

Every company has some folks that aren't super happy... Anecdotal, but I think AMD may have more than its fair share. That alone doesn't mean much, but see no reason to cheer them on just because they're not Intel. Why expect that they'd be any different than Intel, given the chance. I'd expect maybe they'd be even worse; seems just as likely. Scrappy underdog hero AMD is not. Big corporation that has had some successes, and quite a few failures,,, yeah, that they are.

Re:Sounds good to me .. (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 6 months ago | (#46097551)

If Intel thought ARM was a good idea long term, they wouldn't have sold their XScale business.

They still have a full ARM license, so there is nothing stopping making their own.

they sold it in 2006 (1)

Chirs (87576) | about 6 months ago | (#46097615)

Back then the mobile space hadn't exploded yet.

Re:they sold it in 2006 (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 6 months ago | (#46097941)

iPods had exploded, it was the year before the iPhone.

There's also absolutely nothing stopping them making ARM CPU's again. They'd also be the best in the industry, because they'd be a process node smaller than the competition.

NIH syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46097783)

Intel == x86. When x64 came alone, Intel tried to hang on to Itanium, which failed.

Intel will not go the ARM route, because Intel does not control ARM. Intel likes to have a monopoly (or in reality a slight duopoly with AMD).

If Intel went for ARM, Intel would have to wait for ISA improvements like SSE/NEON from ARM and would be limited to improving manufacturing, microarchitecture and SOC integration. And the (for mobile) important latter, Intel is Not Good.

Why ARM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46097771)

What exactly does ARM offer here that x86 doesn't?

Re:Why ARM? (1, Informative)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 6 months ago | (#46098005)

power efficiency which is important in datacenters. electricity isnt free.

Re:Why ARM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46098075)

The ARM cores don't scale up very well, exactly power efficiency is what they are not good at. The article says the TDP will be higher than the mentioned Jaguar core which already sucks in competitive Bay Trail setups.

Re:Why ARM? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 6 months ago | (#46098043)

A better instruction set.

Re:Why ARM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46098111)

Instruction sets don't matter anymore; at these nm numbers the occupied die area doesn't matter that much and besides legacy software no one cares about the underlying ISA if you can get the services you need. The ARM fanboys have to come up with something else here.

Re:Why ARM? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46098609)

1) cheap
2) competition
3) custom SoCs

If that is enough to work out remains to be seen.

Re:Why ARM? (1)

goarilla (908067) | about 6 months ago | (#46098813)

Fair(er) pricing.

Not bad (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about 6 months ago | (#46097777)

An FX-8150 has a specInt_rate of 115. I've never seen an 8350 but it should be around 130-ish, just like an Opteron 6212.

Another nail in the coffin for x86 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46097787)

Is this another nail in the coffin for the x86 architecture? Is it realistic to expect Windows/Mac OS X for ARM in their desktop versions in the near future? (Linux is already there). Of course x86 won't suddenly disappear, but may become "legacy". Intel should start moving on the ARM front

Re:Another nail in the coffin for x86 (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about 6 months ago | (#46098079)

x86 is thriving and will still be around for a very long time.

Re:Another nail in the coffin for x86 (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 months ago | (#46098239)

Is this another nail in the coffin for the x86 architecture? Is it realistic to expect Windows/Mac OS X for ARM in their desktop versions in the near future? (Linux is already there). Of course x86 won't suddenly disappear, but may become "legacy". Intel should start moving on the ARM front

No - ARM is still a long way off the high-end x86 chips. At the moment they largely complement each-other with some overlap in the low-mid range.

Re:Another nail in the coffin for x86 (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 6 months ago | (#46098631)

Is it realistic to expect Windows/Mac OS X for ARM in their desktop versions in the near future?

What I find really curious is that MS did all the work needed to put a full version of windows on arm.

Then they turned it into a crippled peice of shit with artificial restricitions. No third party desktop apps, no ability to join corporate domains, third party developers pushed hard into using the windows store with it's apple-like fees (AIUI there are ways to load your own metro apps without using the store but they aren't exactly user friendly).

"it's not clear what GPU IP is used" (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 6 months ago | (#46098103)

I would have thought AMD would have a licensing clause as part of the sale of the Imageon (Adreno) to Qualcomm in case they ever decided to re-enter the market.

Fep? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46098319)

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Competing for 0.46% of server market (2)

edxwelch (600979) | about 6 months ago | (#46098839)

The microserver market is still less than half a percent of the server market and most of that is x86, not ARM. That's probably why Calxeda went bust.

And the name: Opteron. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 6 months ago | (#46099149)

They're calling it the Opteron A. Seriously, AMD? That won't be confusing, when Opteron can now mean ARM or x86_64. AMD's processor naming scheme is already confusing, and they just decided to make it more confusing. Idiots.

Until ARM gets PCI, ACPI, UEFI equivalents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46099229)

Until ARM gets PCI, ACPI, UEFI, and other standardized hardware platform design equivalents, I don't want to see any more ARM hardware being built than I have to. The most severe problem with ARM devices is that the source code released for them bit rots and they become too difficult to maintain once interest in the platform wanes. In many cases the platform just never really quite picks up enough steam. Often these SoC devices have closed-source binary firmware blobs that are mandatory for even basic functionality. The Raspberry Pi even has this problem.

Until ARM hardware provides software with a common bootstrap method and a common hardware information presentation method a la ACPI or PCI, every ARM platform requires a unique kernel for that platform. This is the biggest obstacle to keeping ARM devices relevant beyond a few years after release, and while the current state is apparently okay for mobile phones since they're replaced constantly, any general purpose ARM computer must have a critical mass of users or a major corporation actively supporting it to stay up-to-date. Chromebooks have Google, RasPi has a massive user base, and routers have the Open/DD-WRT communities, but that's about it. Even mobile phones bit rot within 2-3 years due to the exodus to newer phones, and the WonderMedia platforms are largely stuck with older kernels that are difficult to get working.

tl;dr: ARM really needs the kind of standardization x86 PCs have to remain relevant long-term.

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