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Report: Amazon prepping revamped data centre chip

Written by Thu 28 Nov 2019

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Amazon’s new server chip 20 percent more powerful than previous generation

Amazon is readying a new data centre processor that is 20 percent more powerful than its predecessor, Reuters reports.

Like Amazon’s first chip, Graviton, the revamped processor will be based on Arm architecture. Amazon is reportedly ditching Arm’s older Cortex A72 technology in favour of the company’s updated Neoverse N1 tech, and the chip is expected to have 32 cores compared to Graviton’s 16.

The news indicates Amazon is doubling down on efforts to reduce its dependence on Intel and AMD for the processors that power its 90-strong global data centre fleet.

Amazon’s cloud unit AWS dominates 36 percent of a public cloud market worth $27.5 billion — the growth of which has been a boon for chipmakers Intel and AMD. Intel, which commands 90 percent of the market for server chips, generates around half of its profits from its data centre division.

Despite the improvements made on its first effort at fabrication, Amazon’s new chip will be less powerful than Intel’s Cascade Lake or AMD’s Rome chips that recently came to market, Reuters sources claim.

Nevertheless, Arm chips, which dominate the smartphone and tablet landscape, are growing in popularity in the data centre due to their comparatively low cost and energy requirements, which lowers the total cost of ownership when deployed at scale.

In addition, their relatively small form factor and flexibility make Arm processors a great fit for cloud infrastructure. And as cloud servers are increasingly tasked with less-intensive workloads, high-end Intel chips are often overkill.

Earlier this year, Huawei unveiled its own data centre chip based on Arm architecture and former Intel president Renee James heads up a startup that designs Arm server processors for cloud data centres.

Written by Thu 28 Nov 2019


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