Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by martyb on Friday June 04, @06:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the seen-any-good-deals-on-Xeons-lately? dept.

Google Replaces Millions of Intel's CPUs With Its Own Homegrown Chips

Google has designed its own new processors, the Argos video (trans)coding units (VCU), that have one solitary purpose: processing video. The highly efficient new chips have allowed the technology giant to replace tens of millions of Intel CPUs with its own silicon.

For many years Intel's video decoding/encoding engines that come built into its CPUs have dominated the market both because they offered leading-edge performance and capabilities and because they were easy to use. But custom-built application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) tend to outperform general-purpose hardware because they are designed for one workload only. As such, Google turned to developing its own specialized hardware for video processing tasks for YouTube, and to great effect.

However, Intel may have a trick up its sleeve with its latest tech that could win back Google's specialized video processing business.

[...] Instead of stream processors like we see in GPUs, Google's VCU integrates ten H.264/VP9 encoder engines, several decoder cores, four LPDDR4-3200 memory channels (featuring 4x32-bit interfaces), a PCIe interface, a DMA engine, and a small general-purpose core for scheduling purposes. Most of the IP, except the in-house designed encoders/transcoders, were licensed from third parties to cut down on development costs. Each VCU is also equipped with 8GB of usable ECC LPDDR4 memory.

[...] Intel isn't standing still, though. The company's DG1 Xe-LP-based quad-chip SG1 server card can decode up to 28 4Kp60 streams as well as transcode up to 12 simultaneous streams. Essentially, Intel's SG1 does exactly what Google's Argos VCU does: scale video decoding and transcoding performance separately from the server count and thus reduce the number of general-purpose processors required in a data center used for video applications.

Google still uses Xeon servers to attach up to 20 of the Argos VCUs. It's estimated that it replaced between 4 to 33 million Xeons.


Original Submission

 
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
(1)
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by crafoo on Friday June 04, @06:16PM (12 children)

    by crafoo (6639) on Friday June 04, @06:16PM (#1141853)

    Holly hell, that's a lot of hardware! I guess I never really considered the scale of youtube and the massive amounts of hardware, energy, and space it must require.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by fustakrakich on Friday June 04, @06:25PM (4 children)

      by fustakrakich (6150) on Friday June 04, @06:25PM (#1141855) Journal

      Holly hell, that's a lot of hardware!

      Hope it's not just going into the bin, but releasing them to the public could crash prices, we'll see what the accountants say

      --
      Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, @07:07PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, @07:07PM (#1141861)

        I'd like to buy one or two in a Google garage sale.

      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Saturday June 05, @03:43AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Saturday June 05, @03:43AM (#1141955) Homepage

        Yeah, trashing 'em would be a gawdawful waste. Give them to us, so we can watch more video!

        Look for an explosion of cheap Xeon-based boards (with recycled chips) coming from China... already plenty on Ali Express.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @10:39AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @10:39AM (#1142010)

        Hope it's not just going into the bin

        Since Google is not a bunch of idiots, they probably repurposed the hardware? I know, shocking idea, but that's what they do. They use it for other things in their data centers.

        But in the end, it all goes into the bin.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @11:53PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @11:53PM (#1142962)

        Who knows how many ridiculous patents those chips violate. Selling them to the public could subject Google to a bunch of patent lawsuits. They might just decide to keep them in house.

        As a side note part of the reason companies no longer release technical documents is because they are afraid of getting sued by patent trolls with bogus patents that simply read through technical documents in search for patent infringements. So the solution is to stop releasing those technical documents. Hence patents result in less product transparency.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Friday June 04, @07:30PM (3 children)

      Over 8 hours of video uploaded every second.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, @07:48PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, @07:48PM (#1141864)

        lol, keep watching @ x 28'800 speed.
        -or-
        that many people who can real-time chat to each other (and comment) and watch @ x1 speed.
        -else-
        some stuff will probably never ever get watched ...

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, @10:38PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, @10:38PM (#1141901)

        and 9 hours of it sucks.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, @09:27PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, @09:27PM (#1141884)

      That is the point of the tech monopolies. To be so big, to lose so much money, that competing with them is all but impossible.

      Why you might ask? Many wondered. Then, once they had what they felt was a total lock on the market, they showed us all. Yes, "Broadcast yourself" all you want, unless you are a dirty double-plus ungood crimethinker, Then you don't just upload your material and watch the Googlebux flood in. No, you get to pay for hosting your content, pay for every viewer of it and grovel for donations or subscriptions as the companies who were allowed to gain a near monopoly in facilitating those things also banish you.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @10:37AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @10:37AM (#1142009)

        No, you get to pay for hosting your content, pay for every viewer of it and grovel for donations or subscriptions as the companies who were allowed to gain a near monopoly in facilitating those things also banish you.

        Holy fuck, you sound butt hurt. You know, if your 'content' is not about putting propaganda videos for ISIS or inciting genocide or posting bullshit about covid or similar idiocy, or posting videos of other movies, no one will remove you from youtube. On the other hand, if you want to start a fascist movement centred on lies (the bigger the lie the better) and you get thrown off a free platform and then you can't be arsed to pay a little bit for bandwidth (like 1Gbps flat connections are with dedicated equipment in datacenter are $50), then I'm sorry, but you sound worse than a beggar on a street next to an open soup kitchen asking for money so they can buy a "meal". Or someone bitching they are poor but getting a job would only allow them to buy better weed so no need to work and why are smokes so expensive?

        Yeah, some people, hopeless like that. gimme gimme gimme and whaa whaa whaa.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, @06:32AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, @06:32AM (#1142286)

        > To be so big, to lose so much money...

        STOP right there. You sound like my wife.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Frosty Piss on Friday June 04, @06:37PM

    by Frosty Piss (4971) on Friday June 04, @06:37PM (#1141858)

    This is terrible news. Once again, Google leverages its monopoly position to dominate and destroy the little guy. Once Intel is on the ropes, will Google offer them chicken feed to buy them out?

  • (Score: 2) by epitaxial on Friday June 04, @08:04PM (3 children)

    by epitaxial (3165) on Friday June 04, @08:04PM (#1141865)

    What happened to all the old hardware? It should be showing up on eBay.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, @08:24PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, @08:24PM (#1141872)

    What this really means is that the formats for which this ASICs are optimized are now going to be around for as long as it takes for GOOG to 'earn them back', regardless of whether or not any better encoding appears. This is GOOG stopping innovation.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, @09:41PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, @09:41PM (#1141890)

    So does this mean we'll be seeing google branded trans-coding cards in the future? I'd love to be able to convert file formats without having to wait for the results.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by dltaylor on Friday June 04, @09:44PM (1 child)

    by dltaylor (4693) on Friday June 04, @09:44PM (#1141891)

    One of the features of the Amiga brought to the game, and that required 486/Pentium-class processors to supplant original 68000s, was the video/audio coprocessor named "Copper". The Amiga could display multiple color densities on a raster line by line basis, so video could be monochrome (lowest memory use) up to 4096 (take that, EGA), but use more memory. It had the ability to perform Boolean operations on video memory, sprites and collision detection, and memory relocation with DMA (IIRC on the last, it has been a while). Modern GPU have much more capability, but it has been 35 years.

    It also took until the Sound Blaster 16 (1992) for PCs to catch up on sound, but that's a different story.

    At one point Motorola built communication processors (DMA, and protocol packing/unpacking for many frame types) 4 at once into a chip with a 68000 core to supervise them, Put 4 of those (16 channels) on a single VME card, shut down the internal CPUs to free up some memory bandwidth and supervised them with a 68040. Streamed 16 video channels per card, 4 cards in the system, from hard drives for hotel video distribution back in '91. Did more cards per backplane in testing, but the customer spec'd 4x4.

    Higher density silicon allows many of the coprocessor function to be built into a single chip, but dedicated coprocessors taking load from the core CPU is an architecture that goes back, at least, to the Amiga.

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Saturday June 05, @08:20AM

      by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Saturday June 05, @08:20AM (#1141989) Homepage
      Sounds quite similar to the TI C80MVP - one RISC master core, 4 DSPs (56K family, IIRC), and a SDMA unit on one chip - that I was doing similar stuff on back in the early 90s. Similar application too. Happy days. When microkernels fit in 3.5K.
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
  • (Score: 0, Troll) by Frosty Piss on Friday June 04, @11:02PM (3 children)

    by Frosty Piss (4971) on Friday June 04, @11:02PM (#1141909)

    Argos? Argo? What does that even mean? Why didn’t they name it something sensible like Purple Penguin or Applesauce Pie or Moon Cheesecake or something else all the crunchy Linux geeks would under?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @07:18AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @07:18AM (#1141985)

      Argos was a Greek giant with a lot of eyes. Also called Argus Panoptes [wikipedia.org].

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by FatPhil on Saturday June 05, @08:25AM (1 child)

      by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Saturday June 05, @08:25AM (#1141990) Homepage
      Proper crusty linux geeks think the idiotic cutesy distro names are retarded too. Proper crusty linux geeks get wound up that Linux goes from 2.odd.X/2.even.X release numbers to odd.X/even.X release numbers.
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, @06:34AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, @06:34AM (#1142287)

        Greeks.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @12:56AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @12:56AM (#1141930)

    YouTube is now building its own video-transcoding chips
    Google throws custom silicon at YouTube's massive video-transcoding workload.

    Ron Amadeo - Apr 22, 2021 6:24 pm UTC

    https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2021/04/youtube-is-now-building-its-own-video-transcoding-chips/ [arstechnica.com]

    guess someone just swept it away

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @03:53AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @03:53AM (#1141957)

    I critiqued their TPU paper for a class some time ago, where they developed new silicon for ML applications at a cost of millions and ended up with a unit that didn't quite meet goals.

    Seems like they did it again? I should take a closer look at what they did here.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, @06:36AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, @06:36AM (#1142288)

      Ha ha failure. When they finally crack it, China will develop one just like it much faster then WHOOSH past us onto Mars probably.

(1)