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...a contender (finally) to INTC dominance in the datacenter?

some interesting slides at the link below

Qualcomm Ships First 48-Core Centriq 2400 Server Chips To Take On Intel In The Data Center

by Brandon Hill — Wednesday, November 08, 2017

...Although we'd love to be able to give you actual real-life benchmarks numbers comparing the Centriq 2400 family to its counterparts, Qualcomm isn't quite ready to provide those numbers at this time. Instead, it says that the 48-core Centriq 2460 offers a 4x uplift in performance-per-dollar and a 45 percent performance-per-watt improvement over Intel’s Xeon Platinum 8180. Those are some pretty bold performance/cost/efficiency claims that we'll definitely want to see played out in the real world.

Qualcomm is hoping to make a splash with the Centriq 2400 family and it has lined up the following partners to showcase the power of the platform: Alibaba, American Megatrends Inc., Arm, Cadence Design Systems, Canonical, Chelsio Communications, Cloudflare, Excelero, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Illumina, LinkedIn, MariaDB, Mellanox, Microsoft Azure, MongoDB, Netronome, Packet, Red Hat, ScyllaDB, 6WIND, Samsung, Solarflare, Smartcore, SUSE, Uber, and Xilinx.

The 40-core Centriq 2434, 46-core Centriq 2453, and 48-core Centriq 2460 are priced at $888, $1,383 and $1,995 respectively. Considering that Intel's Xeon Platinum 8180 has an MSRP of $10,009, we have no doubt that Qualcomm will find more than a few companies that are willing to take a chance and kick the tires of its new server processors, if real world performance matches what the company is putting down on paper today. This ought to be interesting to watch unfold in the months ahead as Qualcomm powered servers are deployed in market.
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Let me know some market share numbers when they come out. Currently INTC has more than 99% CPU share in the data center. If QCOM can pull an AMD sort of thing and get 5-10% marketshare that would be a huge accomplishment. I will become interested when QCOM takes it first 1-2% of marketshare. Until then, it is basically a lab experiment and remains to be seen if customers will start to deploy in any meaningful manner. INTC did not get 99%+ marketshare just because other companies could not make equal or better chips. It is all in the software.

If QCOM can break this barrier it would be very big. Just as for INTC, if INTC could steal material 3G marketshare from QCOM would be.

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Living on the leading node (currently 10nm) has some serious advantages in terms of power, price and size. Used to be INTC had that advantage over all comers as the PC drove the leading node. Times have changed, now it's cell phone chips that drive the leading node. Time will tell if these numbers hold up for QCOM and it leads to real sales/volumes.
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Exactly. 5-10% of the that market is interesting money.

Will those sorts of price/performance/power consumption advantages being touted be enough to get traction? Place your bets (or stay on the sidelines if you'd rather).

FWIW (respectfully) this is past lab experiments. This hasn't been a lab experiment for at least a year what with QCOm and sampling to customers.

This is now at stage of soliciting and committing to production silicon orders..
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Optimized for the fringe and 5G wave of mobile data coming.

Qualcomm Chasing Clouds With The Launch Of Centriq 2400

Moor Insights and Strategy , Contributor
Straight talk from Moor Insights & Strategy tech industry analysts
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Matt Kimball

Matt Kimball is a senior datacenter analyst covering servers and storage at Moor Insights & Strategy

This week, Qualcomm officially jumped into the server chip market with the launch of its Centriq 2400 System on a Chip (SoC) in a server market that has seen a steady stream of product launches from AMD and Intel. Though Qualcomm announced Centriq some time ago, this launch represents a significant shift in the industry as we see the first performant Arm based server chip. For years, the question has been “can Arm find a place in the datacenter?” Based on what Qualcomm delivered, I believe the answer is “yes.”

What is Centriq?

Centriq is Qualcomm’s 48-core server processor comprised of 24 core pairs connected via a 250GB/s ring topology. This represents the highest number of cores per socket available in the server market. It was designed on the ARMv8 architecture to support scale-out datacenter architectures commonly seen in cloud environments.

Centriq is manufactured in Samsung foundries, using a 10nm FinFET process. What does this mean? Better performing transistors packed into a smaller space (18 Billion transistors in 398 mm2). Moreover, what does this really mean to an IT consumer? Better performing cores that consume less power.

The Centriq lineup will have three shipping SKUs:

Centriq lineup

Centriq will only support single socket server motherboard designs. Moreover, from the demonstrations shown at Qualcomm’s launch event – it appears half-width “brick designs” are what the market can expect to see from hardware vendors. This would make sense as Qualcomm focused its entire event on demonstrating cloud affinity...

The reason why companies failed in the past came down to performance. Arm server chips just couldn’t match the performance of their x86 counterparts. Even in the low end of the market, Intel was able to stave off Arm with the position of Xeon D.

Things are different this time around. Qualcomm claimed pretty impressive performance numbers during its launch event. When running SPECint_2006, the Centriq 2460 saw about 7% better performance than the Intel Purley Platinum 8160. Granted, they are comparing their 48 cores against 24 Skylake cores, but it is a competitive socket.

However, cloud providers do not just look at raw performance. “Price/performance” is a key measurement for success in the cloud as this articulates amount of productivity per dollar. Moreover, this is where Centriq has a real story, claiming up to a 4x advantage over Purley.

Centriq is tailored for cloud environments

If it has not yet been obvious, Qualcomm is targeting cloud providers with Centriq. Not just Azure, Amazon, Google, Alibaba and the like, but also the tier two players who provide “as a Service” to consumers. This seems like a good fit for a few reasons:

Density –The half-width form factor should make Centriq racks highly compute dense.
Price/performance – It appears Qualcomm will be able to claim bold price/performance leadership. This is especially attractive to cloud providers who live and die by OpEx.
Security – By implementing Arm TrustZone, Centriq delivers an immutable root of trust for servers. This prevents attacks at the lowest levels from penetrating cloud datacenters.
Power – A 120W TDP is not impressive. Being able to drive down idle power consumption to 8W is. This is what Qualcomm has achieved with Centriq.
Loyalty (or lack thereof) – Economics drive cloud providers. Not legacy. Not loyalty. If Qualcomm can really achieve a price performance advantage they claim – cloud providers will jump. Not only to lower their operational costs. However, to apply pricing pressures to their other CPU vendors.
Is there a Centric ecosystem? Is there an Arm server ecosystem?

One of the more impressive takeaways from the Centriq launch was the lineup of ecosystem partners demonstrating their wares on Centriq. NoSQL, Bioinformatics, video processing, AI, cloud infrastructure. There was a breadth of technology partners that spanned the entire ecosystem on display. Qualcomm was smart to recognize the importance of this robust ecosystem and smarter still to develop those relationships.
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All else being equal, how is a 50% power efficiency edge not going to get data center design wins?

<US data centers consumed about 70 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2014, the most recent year examined, representing 2 percent of the country's total energy consumption, according to the study. That's equivalent to the amount consumed by about 6.4 million average American homes that year.Jun 27, 2016>
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Order up!

Qualcomm Centriq Aims At Intel Xeon With Competitive Performance And Low Power

Tirias Research
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Paul Teich Paul Teich , Contributor

...Converting evaluations into production deployments may take up to a year for some customers. This is normal, as service providers must be absolutely sure that new hardware can survive in their production environment. Qualcomm’s brand and commitment gets them in the door, but Centriq must survive grueling evaluation cycles before cloud service providers deploy it at any kind of scale. As of the launch event, Qualcomm stated it had started taking orders for production Centriq 2400 parts. That starts the evaluation cycle.

In their own words

A lot of partners and potential customers spoke at the launch event. Press release quotes must be approved by legal and marketing departments; I find that on-stage ad libs say much more. Here are the top quotes I paid attention to:

Let me congratulate you on launching Centriq 2400. It’s the highest performance ARM processor and can actually run workloads that I care about.” –Dr. Leendert van Doorn, Distinguished Engineer, Microsoft Azure

Dr. van Doorn doesn’t mince words, ever. His team has evaluated all the available ARM server products. Earlier this year, Microsoft gave a nod to Qualcomm’s Centriq, Cavium’s ThunderX2, AMD’s EPYC and Intel’s Xeon Scalable processors as future processor alternatives for specific workloads in its Azure public cloud. Today’s launch fills in a final, vital piece of that competitive field.

Dr. Leendert van Doorn and Anand Chandrasekher at Qualcomm Centriq launch

In our application we get basically the same performance that we get from the Intel chips that we are deploying in the field right now with less than half of the usage in terms of power. We cut our [server] power bill in half.” … “If you have a workload that is something like CloudFlare’s, then it is a no brainer…” –Matthew Prince, CEO, CloudFlare

I have never seen a CEO of a cloud services company bounce around a stage with such enthusiasm for a new processor. Mr. Prince looks at Qualcomm’s Centriq as a tool to improve his bottom line and his quality of service. He showed his real-world NGINX workload performance numbers to back up his enthusiasm. Read the information packed slide he presented (below, based on engineering samples), it is stunning.

Mathew Prince at Qualcomm Centriq launch

We are preparing to do first integration and testing of this, we’ll start it and will actually publish all of the results of the testing of this in our environment. And then will expand that to multiple ODMs and OEMs once we’ll be able to release this, when it’s complete.” –Yuval Bachar, President and Chairman of the Board, Open19 Foundation; Global Data Center Infrastructure Architect, LinkedIn
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All else being equal, how is a 50% power efficiency edge not going to get data center design wins?

Isn't the 50% just the CPU?
You still have to consider the DRAM, SSD/HDD, motherboard, power supply, GPU, etc.
Depending on the config, the CPU is 10-20%, maybe of the whole system power before cooling.

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Yes, CPU is just part of it but it is part of it. Including the heat contributed (more or less) as a function of the CPU's usage and efficiency.
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Heat in particular is going to come from the CPU ... other than the power supply, which can be external in a data center.
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Indeed T.

Point of my flurry of posts is it's been quite a couple weeks of info coming not of Q. The tendency might be to roll one's eyes and continue to think of Q as dead money. After all hasn't it been since ~Y2K?

Perhaps, OTOH, the slumbering giant might finally be awakening as Q's investments in 5G and Data center start coming of age and the future earning potential starts to become clear to buyers.

Aside from the buyout attempt announced by AVGO and the price action, there's been earnings call and this public presentation on data center and 5G progress.

The interesting things there for me was a) the 25% growth in non-mobile product revenue to $3B and b) the insights into how QCOM sees a Nexus between 5G and their data center chip designs focused on the Fringe.
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More on the datacenter in this article and some insight on the power consumption benefits of Q's Centriq 2400.

The technology industry talks a lot about scale. Whether it's the importance of the network effect, economies of scale in component sourcing, the number of customers or the size of the addressable market, scale is often cited as a prerequisite for success. The same applied at Qualcomm's recent launch of its Centriq 2400 server chip. Scale in the mobile arena is the asset that Qualcomm hopes will help it differentiate in a market becoming increasingly segmented by workloads that must balance price, performance and power consumption.

Mobile scale is unique. There's no other consumer gadget as successful or as ubiquitous as the mobile phone. Shipments this year will reach 1.97 billion, 1.51 billion of them smartphones. . .

It also means that the design and supply of hardware components have benefited from the rise of the smartphone. For example, ARM has seen its designs in more than 100 billion chips over the past 25 years,. . .

Among those sectors, the Internet of things has obvious needs for low-power computing and connectivity. . . What is fascinating is how smartphone scale is now affecting the cloud and data centre.

Qualcomm's Centriq 2400 server chip is a good example. On paper, the company faces a daunting task as a newcomer to a server market dominated by Intel and where low power has traditionally counted for little. But. . .

CloudFlare, which is working with Qualcomm on its server products, stated that tests point to a 50 percent reduction in its power bill using Centriq 2400.

Mobile scale is central to Qualcomm's server differentiation. Centriq is the first server chip to use a 10 nm process node. With smartphones pushing the limits of process technologies and accelerating the shift to smaller geometries, Qualcomm argues that it's mobile scale that gives it a unique advantage against Intel. It is this which enables Qualcomm to compete on cost and power efficiency.

Qualcomm won't displace Intel in the data centre any time soon, but in a market becoming more and more segmented by workloads, Qualcomm could build a healthy position without the need to top the market share table. Mobile scale continues to affect markets well beyond the smartphone industry. While several companies are disrupting from the cloud and out toward the network edge, Qualcomm is using mobile scale to do it in reverse.
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