New Arm-based Workstation Opens the Doors for HPC Developers

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Today GIGABYTE Technology announced the availability of ThunderXStation: the industry’s first 64-bit Armv8 workstation platform based on Cavium’s flagship ThunderX2 processor.

Cavium is disrupting the server industry with our second-generation 64-bit Armv8 processor family by delivering significantly higher compute performance with best-in-class memory bandwidth, capacity and rich I/O configurations,” said Surya Hotha, Director of Product Marketing, Data Center Processor Group at Cavium. “ThunderXStation is an ideal platform for Arm software developers across networking, embedded, mobile, and IoT verticals. We are delighted to be working closely with GIGABYTE on this, and we look forward to supporting them on a number of innovative new platforms.”

Workstations are standalone platforms with high performance CPUs, lots of memory and excellent graphics capabilities, widely used for advanced software development. ThunderXStation integrates dual socket ThunderX2 motherboard in a 4U tower suitable for office environments. Arm has a very strong ecosystem with millions of developers and is the processor of choice for a variety of verticals such as mobile, embedded and IoT. Arm software developers currently utilize binary translators and cross compilers resulting in increased development and debug cycles. By delivering native performance and eliminating the need for cross compilers, ThunderXStation simplifies software development for Arm and significantly improves time to solution delivery.

Developers need their workstations to include comprehensive software development environment including latest compilers, tool chains, libraries and middleware. For gaming application development, excellent graphics capabilities are required. In addition, developers also need the ability to quickly test and debug their code.

ThunderXStation offers unprecedented performance and flexibility for Arm software development for Android, gaming, embedded and NFV applications. Each system comes preinstalled with comprehensive software development environment, enabling developers to rapidly develop, debug and release applications for Arm processors. Key preinstalled software development tools include gcc 7.2, LLVM, gdb, Golang, OpenJDK 9.0, HHVM, Python, PHP, Ruby etc. The CentOS 7.4 environment on ThunderXStation includes support for KVM and Docker, enabling developers to quickly test their applications in either hypervisor based or containerized environments. Open source graphics drivers included with the OS, enable development and testing of gaming applications quick and painless.

ThunderXStation Specifications:

  • Form Factor: 4U Tower
  • CPU: Single or Dual socket ThunderX2 ARM64 Processors
  • Memory: Up to 16 DDR4 Channels
  • PCIe: 6 x PCIe 3.0 Slots and 2 x OCP x16 slots
  • Network: 2 x 1/10 GbE QLogic NIC
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GT710 with dual monitor support
  • BMC: ASPEED AST2500 with IPMI management SW
  • Storage: 4 x NVMe + 2 x 2.5” U.2/SATA III combo bay
  • PSU: 1600W Platinum PSU (1+1)
  • Firmware: AMI Aptio V UEFI and AMI MegaRAC BMC
  • OS/Tools: CentOS 7.4 with gcc/LLVM/gdb tool chain, OpenJDK 9.0

ThunderX2 product family is Cavium’s second-generation, 64-bit Armv8-A server processor SoCs for data center, cloud and high-performance computing applications. The family integrates fully out-of-order, high-performance custom cores supporting single- and dual-socket configurations. ThunderX2 is optimized to drive high computational performance, delivering outstanding memory bandwidth and memory capacity. ThunderX2 family includes multiple SKUs for both scale up and scale out applications and is fully compliant with Armv8-A architecture specifications, as well as Arm’s SBSA and SBBR standards.

GIGABYTE has partnered with Cavium to deliver a broad range of server platforms optimized for cloud and HPC workloads based on ThunderX2 family of processors,” said Andy Chen, Assistant Vice President at GIGABYTE Technology. “With Arm servers moving mainstream, we saw significant customer demand for Arm workstations. ThunderXStation with its outstanding compute performance and excellent memory bandwidth coupled with graphics capabilities is designed to meet this demand. Our entire portfolio of ThunderX2 based systems are now available for order and we are seeing a strong demand for these platforms.”

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