AMD set to ship x32 Naples processors in Q2

Article By : Rick Merritt

The AMD Naples features 32 dual-threaded cores in scalable SoC design, eight 2,400MHz memory channels and 128 PCI Express Gen 3 lanes.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is set to present its first server processor based on AMD Zen x86 core at the Open Compute Project event in California. Initially available by June, Naples packs more cores, memory and I/O than Intel’s Broadwell, beating it in seismic analysis benchmarks, according to the company.

The Naples processor features 32 dual-threaded cores, eight memory channels running up to 2,400MHz and 128 lanes of PCI Express Gen 3.

AMD showed it finishing seismic analysis tests faster than Intel Broadwell chips, even when the AMD-based systems were throttled back to the slower memory speeds and fewer cores on Broadwell. AMD noted that Naples completed one test that the Broadwell chips could not because the Intel chips did not support enough main memory for the test. Yet initial reports from people testing the chips showed results that were less flattering than original benchmarks that AMD revealed last month.

In an interview, Forrest Norrod, a former Dell server executive who now heads AMD’s server and semi-custom group, reiterated that AMD set low expectations for Naples. He noted that the company has negligible market share in x86 server CPUs today.

[AMD Naples processor (cr)]
Figure 1: The server processor Naples based on AMD’s Zen x86 core is due to be launched at the Open Compute Project event.

Norrod further noted that even the web giants at the OC event, such as Google, have many different workloads, such as search indexing, serving up search results and serving adds. “Some of those workloads, I’m not going to break in,” he said.

Although Naples supports more I/O than current Intel server CPUs, it arrives late in the life of 8GTransfers/s PCIe Gen 3. IBM expects to ship Power9 server processors this year, the first such chips to support the 16GT/s Gen 4. As AMD was one of a broad group of companies last year supporting open interfaces such as CCIX for accelerators and Gen-Z for new memory types. AMD server chips are not expected to adopt such links until late 2018 or early 2019, Norrod said.

The 14nm, 32-core Naples chips will also need to compete with Qualcomm’s 10nm, 48-core Centriq, although such ARM-based SoCs have not gained traction in servers to date.

First published by EE Times.

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