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25 Views of Hot Chips 2014

By   08.18.2014 0

CUPERTINO, Calif. — ARM commanded much of the spotlight with a half-dozen presentations at Hot Chips, an annual gathering of top microprocessor architects. But the event made it clear Intel is still king of the silicon hill.

IBM and Oracle gave talks showing their Power 8 and Sparc architectures are still very much in the game. And two talks showed that chip stacks are on the rise.

One acronym I never heard uttered during the three-day event was CPU, a term that has become so last century. The advent of mainstream 28nm process technology — and a handful of chips built on more aggressive nodes – has clearly morphed the microprocessor into the SoC era.

Perhaps this historical trend is why ARM figured so prominently in the proceedings. The x86 may still be the 900-pound gorilla, but the ARM core is the one available for most engineer’s designs.

Next page: ARM tests IoT

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rick merritt   2014-08-18 19:33:20

I neglected to add Nathan Brookwoods astute observation of Intel's Ivy Briudge server talk:

Because Intel now has one integrated team they get the scale up and scale out versions of the chip out the door at almost the same time. In the past the delay could have been a year or more.

Kevin Krewell   2014-08-19 19:47:22

Hot Chips was a good example showing the rise of ARM processors - both tutorials included ARM speakers, the two keynotes were from ARM and ARM licensee Qualcomm, there was a whole session just for ARM server chips, and one of the biggest mystery unveiling was Nvidia's Denver ARMv8 CPU.

I thought the Applied Micro XGene roadmap was impressive - the company has the first generation in production, the second generation sampling, and the third gen defined and sampling next year. APM has to make up for some slips, but they are the reference design that most ARMv8 software is targeting. 

AMD's Seattle ARMv8 SoC incorporates a wide selection of I/O on chip, in addition to the eight Cortex-A57 CPUs, in order that AMD can apply the chip to multiple customer demands. The "swiss army knife" approach to the number and selection of I/O really allows AMD to showcase its capability to build customized server solutions for specific customer I/O requirements.

The oddball presentation was the ARM/Avago (former LSI Logic) where the tie-in was ARM's CCN-508 interconnect fabric used in the Avago Axxia 5516. The sixteen ARM Coretx-A15 cores in the 5516 can be allocated for control and data plane processing for Open Flow 1.3 network routing. Now that Intel is buying the business, I expect there's going to some changes made to the roadmap for future Axxia processors.

rick merritt   2014-08-20 22:03:50

Thx for the good commentary, Kevin!

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