from the that's-epyc dept.
Amid the ongoing Meltdown fiasco, Intel has only one way to go in the data center... down. Intel may be forced to offer discounts or rebates to prevent customers from eventually moving to AMD x86 chips (such as Epyc) or even ARM chips:
Intel chips back 98% of data center operations, according to industry consultancy IDC. [...] Microsoft said on Tuesday the patches necessary to secure the threats could have a significant performance impact on servers.
[...] For Gleb Budman's company, San Mateo-based online storage firm Backblaze, building with ARM chips would not be difficult. "If ARM provides enough computing power at lower cost or lower power than x86, it would be a strong incentive for us to switch," said Budman. "If the fix for x86 results in a dramatically decreased level of performance, that might increasingly push in favor of switching to ARM."
Infinitely Virtual, a Los Angeles-based cloud computing vendor, is counting on Intel to replace equipment or offer a rebate to make up for the loss in computing power, Chief Executive Adam Stern said in an interview. "If Intel doesn't step up and do something to make this right then we're going to have to punish them in the marketplace by not purchasing their products," said Stern, whose company relies exclusively on Intel processors.
[...] Both Qualcomm and Cavium are developing ARM chips aimed at data centers. Cavium said it aimed to rival the performance of Intel chips for applications like databases and the content-delivery networks that help speed things like how fast online videos load.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
Qualcomm has confirmed its processors have the same security vulnerabilities disclosed this week in Intel, Arm and AMD CPU cores this week.
The California tech giant picked the favored Friday US West Coast afternoon "news dump" slot to admit at least some of its billions of Arm-compatible Snapdragon system-on-chips and newly released Centriq server-grade processors are subject to the Meltdown and/or Spectre data-theft bugs.
[...] Qualcomm declined to comment further on precisely which of the three CVE-listed vulnerabilities its chips were subject to, or give any details on which of its CPU models may be vulnerable. The paper describing the Spectre data-snooping attacks mentions that Qualcomm's CPUs are affected, while the Meltdown paper doesn't conclude either way.
[...] Apple, which too bases its iOS A-series processors on Arm's instruction set, said earlier this week that its mobile CPUs were vulnerable to Spectre and Meltdown – patches are available or incoming for iOS. The iGiant's Intel-based Macs also need the latest macOS, version 10.13.2 or greater, to kill off Meltdown attacks.
Cray is adding an AMD processor option to its CS500 line of clustered supercomputers.
The CS500 supports more than 11,000 nodes which can use Intel Xeon SP CPUs, optionally accelerated by Nvidia Tesla GPUs or Intel Phi co-processors. Intel Stratix FPGA acceleration is also supported.
There can be up to 72 nodes in a rack, interconnected by EDR/FDR InfiniBand or Intel's OmniPath fabric.
Cray has now added an AMD Epyc 7000 option to the CPU mix:
- Systems provide four dual-socket nodes in a 2U chassis
- Each node supports two PCIe 3.0 x 16 slots (200Gb network capability) and HDD/SSD options
- Epyc 7000 processors support up to 32 cores and eight DDR4 memory channels per socket
Top-of-the-line Epyc chips have 32 cores and 64 threads. An upcoming generation of 7nm Epyc chips is rumored to have up to 48 or 64 cores, using 6 or 8 cores per Core Complex (CCX) instead of the current 4.
Chinese-designed "Dhyana" x86 processors based on AMD's Zen microarchitecture are beginning to surface from Chinese chip producer Hygon. The processors come as the fruit of AMD's x86 IP licensing agreements with its China-based partners and break the decades-long stranglehold on x86 held by the triumvirate of Intel, AMD and VIA Technologies. Details are also emerging that outline how AMD has managed to stay within the boundaries of the x86 licensing agreements but still allow Chinese-controlled interests to design and sell processors based on the Zen design.
AMD's official statements indicate the company does not sell its final chip designs to its China-based partners. Instead, AMD allows them to design their own processors tailored for the Chinese server market. But the China-produced Hygon "Dhyana" processors are so similar to AMD's EPYC processors that Linux kernel developers have listed vendor IDs and family series numbers as the only difference. In fact, Linux maintainers have simply ported over the EPYC support codes to the Dhyana processor and note that they have successfully run the same patches on AMD's EPYC processors, implying there is little to no differentiation between the chips.
The new chips are surfacing against the backdrop of the trade war between the US and China that could escalate quickly, likely reinforcing China's long-held opinion that a lack of native processor production could be a strategic liability. Today's wars are won with chips, and their strategic importance certainly isn't lost on those in the halls of power. In fact, the Obama administration blocked Intel from selling Xeon processors to China in 2015 over concerns the chips were fueling the country's nuclear programs, and subsequent actions by the US have largely prevented China from achieving the technical know-how and equipment to develop its own chips through acquisitions and mergers.
That makes it even more surprising that AMD has managed to establish a franchise that allows Chinese processor vendors to develop and sell x86 processors in spite of US regulations and the licensing restrictions with Intel, but now more information is coming to light about how AMD pulled off the feat.
Related: Intel Launches New Chips in China as US Bans Sales to Supercomputing Centers
Intel Hints at Patent Fight With Microsoft and Qualcomm Over x86 Emulation
Data Centers Consider Intel's Rivals
Tencent Chairman Pledges to Advance China Chip Industry After ZTE "Wake-Up" Call
The process of AMD ramping up its EPYC efforts involves a lot of 'first-step' vendor interaction. Having been a very minor player for so long, all the big guns are taking it slowly with AMD's newest hardware in verifying whether it is suitable for their workloads and customers. The next company to tick that box is Oracle, who is announcing today that they will be putting bare metal EPYC instances available in its cloud offering.
The new E-series instances will start with Standard E2, costing around $0.03 per core per hour, up to 64 cores per server, Oracle is stating that this pricing structure is 66% less than the average per-core instance on the market. One bare metal standard instance, BM.Standard E2.52, will offer dual EPYC 7551 processors at 2.0 GHz, with 512 GB of DDR4, dual 25GbE networking, and up to 1PB of remote block storage. Another offering is the E2.64 instance, which will offer 16 cores by comparison.
Related: AMD Epyc 7000-Series Launched With Up to 32 Cores
Data Centers Consider Intel's Rivals
Cray CS500 Supercomputers to Include AMD's Epyc as a Processor Option
AMD Returns to the Datacenter, Set to Launch "7nm" Radeon Instinct GPUs for Machine Learning in 2018
Chinese Company Produces Chips Closely Based on AMD's Zen Microarchitecture
More on AMD's Licensing of Epyc Server Chips to Chinese Companies
TSMC Will Make AMD's "7nm" Epyc Server CPUs