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Old 31st May 2012, 09:16   #1
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Dell launches ARM-based server range

Dell has launched Copper, a range of ARM-based many-core servers.

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardwar...-arm-servers/1
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Old 31st May 2012, 14:05   #2
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ARM for all!

I've always been a bit of a fan of RISC architecture; it always seemed to make more efficient use of clock cycles compared to x86. ARM-powered servers will be a godsend for power consumption and heat, not to mention space. One of these 48-core machines could easily be virtualised into multiple different virtual servers. I realise that you can do that with x86 machines, but the ARM version would use much less power. The article doesn't state how fast each core is, but I know the Cortex A15 can be pretty speedy. Allocate 4 cores per virtual server and - in theory - you've suddenly got one system providing 12 servers.

Any word on what the clock speed of the individual cores are, or what sort of cooling they need? It would be a pretty incredible prospect if they can survive high-load situations with passive cooling.
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Old 31st May 2012, 14:17   #3
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Any word on what the clock speed of the individual cores are, or what sort of cooling they need? It would be a pretty incredible prospect if they can survive high-load situations with passive cooling.
1.6GHz - they're Armada XP 78460 quad-core chips.
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Old 31st May 2012, 14:24   #4
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1.6GHz - they're Armada XP 78460 quad-core chips.
Wait...what? Quad-core chips? So one of these machines fully-packed with 48 SoCs has 192 processing cores available?

The mind boggles.

Again, yes I know you can do that with an x86 server, but I doubt that would fit in 3U. Plus an x86 server with 48 processors would eat gigawatts of power before it's even spent two minutes booting.
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Old 31st May 2012, 14:39   #5
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Just found some more info on The Register when googling that chip. Apparently each sled, or server node, consumes 15W under peak load; it doesn't state whether that includes the hard disk power consumption, but assuming it does that equates to a total of 180W draw across 12 sleds at peak load. That's less than a PC from 5 years ago - hell, even 10 years ago. Not to put too fine a point on it, but...F*** ME!
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Old 1st Jun 2012, 10:43   #6
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processors based on ARM's Cortex-A15 'Eagle' IP in a 64-bit implementation
This is completely wrong. They're Marvell ARMADA-XP, not Cortex-A15. And they're ARMv7 so definitely not 64-bit either.
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Old 1st Jun 2012, 10:48   #7
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This is completely wrong. They're Marvell ARMADA-XP, not Cortex-A15. And they're ARMv7 so definitely not 64-bit either.
My mistake: they have a 64-bit memory bus, but a 32-bit local bus - I just saw "64-bit." I'll correct the piece. The Cortex-A15 confusion came from Dell's less-than-clear press release in which it singularly failed to actually mention what chip it was using - you'd think if it really wanted to be seen as leading in a brave new market, it'd make a bit more information available at launch...
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Old 1st Jun 2012, 11:02   #8
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Regardless of the specific chip being used, it's still a pretty damn tasty prospect.
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Old 1st Jun 2012, 11:51   #9
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Yeah, looks awesome! As you said, 192 cores in 3U!

Gareth, the Armada XP is the chip - Armada XP is a core, just like each of the Cortex series and the Scorpion/Krait CPUs in Qualcomm products. Good job on the fix - it's great that bit-tech does corrections, loads of websites are happy to fire and forget with news articles!
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Old 1st Jun 2012, 12:48   #10
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Gareth, the Armada XP is the chip - Armada XP is a core, just like each of the Cortex series and the Scorpion/Krait CPUs in Qualcomm products. Good job on the fix - it's great that bit-tech does corrections, loads of websites are happy to fire and forget with news articles!
I realise that - but Dell's original launch announcement completely fails to name the chip or even the manufacturer - it just says ARM with no other details. I found out it was an Armada chip from Marvell itself and posted the update in the comments - but forgot I'd written Cortex-A15 in the article!

I'm always happy to update pieces if there's a mistake or new information - it does nobody any good to have misleading our outdated information published. That's the trouble with the web - everything lives forever..
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