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First tests of 80-core ARM-processor Ampere Altra published online



In the spring of 2020, Ampere introduced the 80-core ARM-based Altra processor. Recently, the processor was sent to thematic publications, and the first test results were not long in coming.

The processor is based on the ARM V8.2 + architecture and has up to 80 cores. The Arm CoreLink CMN-600 mesh bus is used to connect the cores. Kernels are supported by the cache system: 64 + 64 KB L2, 1 MB L2 and up to 32 MB L3.

Peripherals are connected via a PCIe 4.0 controller on 128 lanes. The two-socket version has 192 lines.

Unlike its counterparts, Ampere Altra has no multithreading. The developers refer to this as an advantage because the removal of the SMT lowers power consumption, which is extremely important for high-density systems.

The journalists received two-socket Mount Jade platforms, consisting of two 80-core Altra Q80-33 processors with a frequency of 3.3 GHz and a thermal package of 250 W. Each chipset has 512GB DDR4-3200 memory.

For comparison, the AMD EPYC 7742 64-core (SMT2, 225W) processor cost $ 6,950 and the 28-core Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 (SMT2, 205W) cost $ 10,009.

If we compare prices, the solution offered by Ampere is more attractive – the processor is priced at $ 4,050. The offer becomes even more attractive when you look at the characteristics of the chipset.

It should be noted that unlike most processors, for which “turbo mode” is exceeding a certain frequency, the Ampere Altra model always operates at the maximum declared frequencies, occasionally reducing this figure.

Altra was one of the leaders in the bandwidth test, demonstrating all the benefits of a flexible DRAM usage model.

In single-threaded tests, Altra Q80-33 showed results that are inferior only to the Intel Xeon Platinum 8280, beating in some tests AMD EPYC 7742.

In the multi-threaded test, the Altra processor became the clear leader. As we have already reported, the model almost always operates at maximum frequencies.

But in Java tests, things turned out to be worse. Firstly, the Altra lacks SMT, and secondly, the chipset software is imperfect. The lack of multithreading and the oversaturation of the internuclear mesh network also played a role.

The new processor also performed well when working with ray tracing.

The test authors said the Mount Jade system performed excellently. It offers users 160 efficient cores and low power consumption, as well as a pool of RAM up to 8 TB.

A source: servernews

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