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Cavium ThunderX2 Processor goes GA for HPC and Beyond

Today Cavium announced the General Availability of ThunderX2, Cavium’s second generation of Armv8-A SoC processors for next generation data center, cloud and high-performance compute applications.

ThunderX2 combines our second generation Armv8-A custom core that delivers core and socket level performance comparable to highest end incumbent server CPUs, with best-in-class memory bandwidth, memory capacity and rich IO configurations to provide a highly differentiated offering for the server market, greatly expanding our serviceable server TAM,” said Gopal Hegde, Vice President and General Manager, Data Center Processor Group, Cavium. “We have been working with over 60 different partners including OEMs, ODMs, and independent software and hardware vendors to enable the seamless deployment of ThunderX2 based platforms, and we are pleased to announce general availability of ThunderX2.”

The ThunderX2 processor family is a single chip system on a chip (SoC). Key ThunderX2 features include:
Single chip system on a chip (SoC) server CPU

  • Core and socket level performance comparable to highest end Xeon Skylake Platinum CPUs
  • Second generation of full custom Cavium Arm core
  • Quad Issue, Fully Out of Order
  • Full SMT support – 1, 2, 4 threads per core
  • Up to 2.5 GHz in normal mode, up to 3 GHz in Turbo mode
  • 3X single thread performance compared to ThunderX
  • Up to 32 cores per socket delivering > 2.5-3X socket level performance compared to ThunderX
  • Cache:
    • 32 KB L1 instruction and data cache, 256KB L2 per core
    • 32 MB distributed L3 cache
  • Advanced server class RAS features covering memory, CPU, cache, CCPI2 and PCIe interfaces
  • Advanced power management
  • On-chip management engine for dynamic voltage and frequency scaling across the chip
  • Full Turbo mode support
  • Single and dual socket configuration support using 2nd generation of Cavium Coherent Interconnect with > 2.5X coherent bandwidth compared to ThunderX
  • System Memory
    • 8 DDR4 memory controllers per socket
    • Dual DIMM per memory controller, for a total of 16 DIMMs per socket
    • Up to 4 TB of memory in dual socket configuration
    • 33% higher memory bandwidth and memory capacity compared to Xeon Skylake Platinum CPUs
  • Flexible IO:
    • Integrated 56 lanes of PCIe Gen3 interfaces, x1, x4, x8 and x16 support, 14 integrated PCIe controllers
    • Integrated SATAv3, GPIOs, USB interfaces
    • 16% higher IO bandwidth compared to Xeon Skylake Platinum CPUs

      In related news, the Mont-Blanc project announced that their new motherboard with Cavium ThunderX2 processors is now GA from Atos under the name of Atos BullSequana X1310.

Since the first Mont-Blanc project, our vision has been that Arm based CPUs would be a good alternative for high end servers and HPC in particular,” said Eric Eppe, Global Head of Solution Marketing & Portfolio – HPC & Quantum at Atos. “The HPC community was waiting for it, BullSequana X1000 and ThunderX2’s augmented memory bandwidth are offering the best-in-class TCO for customers using memory-bound applications.”

The ThunderX2 family includes over 40 different SKUs for both scale up and scale out applications, ranging from top bin 32 core 2.5GHz parts to 16-core 1.6GHz parts, mapping directly across Intel’s Xeon Skylake server CPUs from highest end Platinum to low end SKUs. With list prices for volume SKUs (32 core 2.2GHz and below) ranging from $1795 to $800, the ThunderX2 family offers 2-4X better performance per dollar compared to Xeon Skylake family of processors.

The ThunderX2 family is fully compliant with Armv8-A architecture specifications as well as the Arm Server Base System Architecture and Arm Server Base Boot Requirements standards. The ThunderX2 SoC family is supported by a comprehensive software ecosystem, ranging from platform level systems management and firmware to commercial Operating Systems, Development Environments and Applications. Cavium has actively engaged in server industry standards groups such as UEFI and delivered numerous reference platforms to a broad array of community and corporate partners.

Sandia has been actively testing a range of key codes and applications on ThunderX2 as part of our ASC Advanced Architecture Testbed project,” said Jim Laros, Principal Member of Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories. “Sandia’s experience with ThunderX2 to date has significantly accelerated our ability to expand our compute environment to support the Armv8 based system architecture along with optimized software solutions that are key to our research and development community.”

Cavium has also demonstrated its leadership role in the Open Source software community driving upstream kernel enablement and toolchain optimization, actively contributing to Linaro’s Enterprise and Networking Groups, investing in key Linux Foundation projects such as DPDK, OpenHPC, OPNFV and Xen and sponsoring the FreeBSD Foundation’s Armv8 server implementation.

We are impressed with the customer response to our early deployments of HPE Apollo 70 Servers utilizing Cavium’s ThunderX2 Arm processors,” said Bill Mannel, Vice President and General Manager of High Performance Computing and Artificial Intelligence at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). “Integrating ThunderX2 into the HPE Apollo 70 Servers is another example of HPE’s leadership in driving innovation and superior technical solutions into the HPC server market. The ThunderX2 processor provides excellent compute and memory performance that is critical for our HPE Apollo 70 customers and the applications they depend on.”

ThunderX2 processors with full design collaterals and reference platforms are available. Multiple ODM and OEM platforms are also available.

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