Project Thunder looks to introduce 64-bit ARM servers-on-a-chip

Project Thunder looks to introduce 64-bit ARM servers-on-a-chip

Summary: Details are sketchy, but the advent of 64-bit ARM datacenter servers could affect the datacenter hardware market significantly


While ARM based system-on-a-chip (SoC ) have recently been making waves in the datacenter space with product introductions from many vendors including Calxeda, HP, and Dell, all of the products released so far share one common limitation. Despite the significant improvement in energy efficiency and server density introduced with these various vendors’ products, the entire current crop of massively dense ARM-based datacenter servers is using 32-bit CPUs, with the associated memory limitations of the 32-bit address space.

Semiconductor provider Cavium, who already produces lines of SoC processors based on MIPS and ARM architectures available in multi-core packages from 2 to 48 cores, announced their Project Thunder where they look to utilize their extensive SoC and embedded device experience to deliver a 64-bit multi-core ARM SoC based on the ARMv8 64-but design.

With a goal of building an entire family of 64-bit ARM SoC processors optimized for datacenter and cloud operations, Cavium has an opportunity to take advantage of the capabilities of the 64-bit architecture in the datacenter server space. Most development tools and appropriate Linux variants ar already available in 64-bit versions and the adoption of the 64-bit model further expands the options, in terms of performance and application suitability, of the dense-packed, power efficient, Arm-based datacenter server.

Cavium has yet to deliver any further details about Project Thunder at this time, but competitive pressure from the bleeding edge vendors in this market should provide sufficient motivation for Cavium to release details ASAP. 

Topics: Data Centers, Hardware, Servers

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  • The competitive pressure will come from intels 64bit socs

    Their performance crushes arm socs and eliminates arms power advantage. Unfortunately for arm they gave intel all the time they needed to catch up on the power end and arm didn't catch up on the perf or manufacturing end.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Re: The competitive pressure will come from intels 64bit socs

      What "Intel 64-bit SOCs" are these? Do they actually exist, or is there just some PR announcement somewhere?

      Incidentally, MIPS recently made its appearance in the Top500 supercomputer list with an entry at number 15 from China, consuming just one megawatt (about an order of magnitude less than anything else at that level).
  • I thought SoC . . .

    . . . was an abbreviation for "system on a chip", not "server on a chip".
  • This is why Intel is so bad for computing...

    The dirty little secret is that Intel did not come up with the idea for the Pentium processor. No, the design was created at Apollo. Apollo? Who's that? Well, it was a little company that had nothing to loose. Silicon chips had reached a dead end. The big guys were all stumped, but Apollo had to do something. They went with a design to do more than one operation per clock cycle, when the big guys were all working with gallium-arsenide processors. From this little guy, who was promptly ripped to shreds by the big guys (a cautionary story there!) came another 3 decades of computing progress.

    I'm very happy that there is competition in computing processors again. Just making the transistors smaller is not as good as making them all do more with less!
    Tony Burzio