Video: Ampere Altra is Industry’s First 80-Core Server Processor

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Today Ampere announced that it has begun shipping the Ampere Altra processor, the industry’s first 80-core server CPU and the first cloud native CPU for modern cloud and edge computing data centers. Ampere Altra is the company’s next generation cloud-focused product, and first in a new class of CPUs rolling out on an annual basis from Ampere’s roadmap, that will provide predictable high performance, secure isolation through single-threaded cores, scalability across the entire platform, and new levels of power efficiency. The Ampere Altra processor delivers 80 cores up to 210 W, giving an industry-leading performance boost for rapidly growing use cases such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, database, storage, telco stacks, edge computing, web hosting and cloud native applications.

Ampere Altra is the first of the next generation of server microprocessors that are designed for the workloads of today in the cloud and on the edge. The Ampere Altra is delivering breakthrough performance with the industry’s first 80-core, cloud native microprocessor,” said Renee James, Ampere Founder and CEO. “Since our founding two years ago, Ampere’s highly experienced team has focused on developing products that bring significant and unique innovations to cloud customers. Our team’s attention is on solving customers’ needs and ensuring execution that delivers an annual cadence of new capabilities to the market. It is an exciting time for our young company as we work diligently to invent the future of the server CPU business.”

Ampere Altra was designed to provide the features that are increasingly demanded by customers and specifically optimized for cloud usage. The way that the cloud utilizes performance, security, and power efficiency is much different than in more traditional enterprise data center environments. Power consumption is also growing challenge for all modern data centers, especially those operating at hyperscale. Due to the growth in data center use cases, power consumption continues to rise. It is estimated that data centers are currently utilizing 3% of the world’s electricity and that is projected to grow to 11% by 2030. Simply scaling up existing power-hungry CPUs is not the answer to address the need for more compute to feed the data explosion.

Ampere Altra Features:

  • Up to 80 single-threaded cores in a 1P and 160 cores in a 2P platform
  • 7nm process technology
  • 8 channels of DDR4-3200 at 2 DPC, supporting up to 4 TB memory per socket
  • 128 PCIe Gen4 lanes in 1P and 192 PCIe Gen4 lanes in 2P platforms
  • CCIX for coherent accelerator attach
  • Two 128 bit SIMD units
  • AI inference acceleration using int8 and fp16 instructions
  • Server class RAS
  • Arm v8.2+, SBSA Level 4

Atiq Bajwa, Ampere’s CTO and chief architect, explained that the company chose to build Ampere Altra with single-threaded cores in order to create a processor focused on the needs of the modern cloud. Bajwa said, “CSPs strive to deliver reliable, sustained performance and high levels of isolation and security to each customer, irrespective of what other tenants may be running in multi-tenant environments. Ampere Altra’s single-threaded cores, and the dense, power-efficient servers they make possible, will enable our customers to maximize the number of services they can deploy in the cloud and at the edge.”

Ampere Altra is a 64-bit Arm processor, taking advantage of the power-efficient and high- performance architecture. “The Ampere Altra processor based on the Arm Neoverse N1 platform represents a significant breakthrough in performance and power efficiency for the hyperscale cloud and edge markets,” said Rene Haas, president, IP Products Group, Arm. “The Ampere Altra, the industry’s first 80 core server processor, has focused on what is essential for today’s workloads in the datacenter, and we are proud to support Ampere in demonstrating the leading technology required to address the deluge of data in a world of a trillion connected devices.”

Ampere has also partnered closely with TSMC to utilize the leading process technology for the highest performance, most power efficient and densest transistors. “TSMC is very pleased to see the results of our collaboration with Ampere in developing and manufacturing its 80-core Ampere Altra high-performance processor, which combines TSMC’s advanced N7 process technology and manufacturing excellence with Ampere’s semiconductor product and engineering development expertise,” said Bradford Paulsen, Senior Vice President Business Management, TSMC North America. “TSMC’s technology leadership and rigorous commitment to quality make it possible for our customers to accelerate their silicon innovations for the high performance compute applications and time-to-market.”

Ampere has worked with many partners around the globe to deliver cloud-optimized software that lead the market in performance, scalability and power efficiency, as well as delivering the tools and hardware to take advantage of Ampere Altra in cloud environments of all types: from bare metal to virtualized and containerized solutions.

Ampere Altra is already shipping to customers around the world, including many of the top cloud service providers with both 2-socket and 1-socket platforms available. Customers are testing Ampere Altra today on their software stacks to drive optimized performance and power efficiency in the cloud.

Lenovo is committed to providing our hyperscale customers with a variety of platform choices to meet their needs,” said Paul Ju, Vice President and General Manager, Hyperscale Business Unit, Lenovo Data Center Group. “The Ampere Altra processor promises to address platform requirements that enable scalability and performance as customers look to push the boundaries of emerging workloads. We look forward to our continued partnership with Ampere.”


Ampere Altra is sampling now and will be in production in mid-2020.

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