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AmpereOne with 192 Cores 128x PCIe Gen5 Lanes and DDR5 in 2023

Today Ampere discussed its new server processor roadmap, including the new AmpereOne processors in its annual update. Server CPUs are on the verge of a complete revolution. For more than a decade, the standard server CPU is a big performance core with SMT/ hyper-threading. That core was designed to do everything well from web serving to HPC calculations. We are at the point where that is basically too much, and leading the charge in the opposite direction is Ampere.

AmpereOne with 192 Cores 128x PCIe Gen5 Lanes and DDR5 in 2023

Ampere is focused on offering more physical cores, without SMT, than the x86 players. They also trade-off things like a focus on HPC compute (e.g. AVX-512) to further streamline cores and fit more onto a chip. Ampere is not focused on per-core performance. Instead, it has a bunch of cores and then lets its chips push down the voltage / frequency curve and become more power efficient as a result. Ampere sells this as magic. While it is a smart architecture, it makes a lot of sense for the market Ampere Altra is targeted at.

On the performance per rack, this is something a lot of data centers are struggling with. How to get more cores into a rack when power is a major constraint.

While we have looked at the Ampere Altra and Altra Max, Ampere’s next generation is very different.

The AmpereOne no longer uses stock Arm Neoverse cores. Instead, it is a custom core designed by Ampere. It still uses the Arm ISA, but it is Ampere’s core. It also has a host of new features like DDR5 and PCIe Gen5.

Ampere is increasing the core count. AmpereOne will cover 136-192 cores, leaving Altra/ Altra Max to core counts of 128 and below. The cache is doubled. PCIe Gen5 doubles the bandwidth. We asked, Ampere still has 128 total lanes in dual socket configurations, but the focus now is really on single socket since that is how their chips are being deployed. That being said, we saw a dual-socket design at OCP Summit 2022.
Ampere also has a higher TDP in this generation and adds new features like Bfloat16, confidential computing, nested virtualization, and more.
There is still an 8-channel memory controller but it is now DDR5. That means a big bandwidth jump and an increase in theoretical bandwidth to match the increased core count. You can learn more about DDR5 in Why DDR5 is Absolutely Necessary in Modern Servers.

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