Cavium takes on Chipzilla with 48 cores

It is starting to look like things are hotting up in the data centre with a war brewing between ARM vendor Cavium and Intel.

Cavium has come up with a 48-core chip which it hopes to blow Intel’s efforts out of the water. Dubbed ThunderX, it will be built on the 28 nm process, with between 24 and 48 custom 64 bit ARMv8 cores at 2.5 GHz, and will run at between 20 and 95 W. Intel’s Xeon processors run 100 W just for the processor.

ThunderX will be sampling in Q4 2014 and there is little out there on performance. Cavium claims its SoCs should match the power dissipation of Intel-based systems but then it would say that.

Other things leaked about ThunderX range include statemetns like “hundreds of gigabits/second” and ” I/O, cache coherency across dual sockets, four DDR 3/4 72 bit memory controllers that will cope with up to 1 TB in a dual socket configuration, integrated hardware accelerators for applications like storage, networking, virtualisation and security”.

There will be five flavours of ThunderX. There will be the ThunderX_CP for content serving applications; the ThunderX_ST for Hadoop; the Thunder_SC for Web front-end, security and cloud; and the Thunder_NT for embedded applications and NFV workloads. The ThunderX CN87xx 8-16 core range, with two DDR3/4 controllers, multiple 10GbE, SATAv3 and PCIe Gen3 interfaces will look after the lower end.