ARM Targets Energy-Efficient Data Centres With CoreLink
British chip designer has turned its low-power expertise to enterprise networking inside data centres
Cambridge-based ARM Holdings has announced CoreLink – a network technology package designed to boost the performance of chips based on its design, when used in corporate data centres.
ARM’s “CoreLink CCN-504 Cache Coherent Network” intellectual property packages – to give it its full name – is designed to be used by chipmakers and system designers using ARM cores in their systems.
The British chip designer is hoping that its CoreLink intellectual property (IP) will allow hardware vendors to use its designs in order to build a cache coherent interconnect (i.e. a networking platform) that can be integrated into system-on-chip (SoC) hardware for high-speed networking.
ARM said this advanced system IP “can deliver up to one terabit of usable system bandwidth per second.” It is gearing this design for high-performance, ‘many-core’ enterprise solutions, that specifically “use the ARM Cortex-A15 MPCore processor and next-generation 64-bit processors.”
And it already has some takers, with both LSI and Calxeda announcing that they are lead licensees for the CoreLink CCN-504 launch.
And not content with just providing a new high speed network interconnect, ARM also unveiled the new ARM CoreLink DMC-520 dynamic memory controller, which has been designed and optimised to work with the CoreLink CCN-504.
“Calxeda and ARM have been working closely to meet the demands of the data centre since ARM’s initial investment in our company in 2008, and we are beginning to see the fruits that relationship,” said Barry Evans, co-founder and CEO, Calxeda. “We are already building our next generation data centre-class solutions using this new ARM CoreLink technology, and think we will once again send shockwaves across the industry when they are announced.”
“To meet the demands of rapidly growing mobile network traffic, LSI and ARM have worked closely to drive a feature-rich on-chip interconnect that can serve as the backbone for industry-leading many-core system-on-chip devices,” said Gene Scuteri, vice president of engineering, LSI.
This announcement is ARM’s latest strike against Intel, as the British company seeks to challenge the established world order by moving beyond its domination of the mobile sector, where its chip designs are used in the vast majority of mobile devices.
For some time now ARM has been seeking to rival Intel in the server market, and vendors are now increasingly using ARM’s energy-efficient chip designs in their hardware. Intel meanwhile is aggressively looking to position its Atom processors in both tablets and smartphones.
But ARM has also said that the CoreLink CCN-504 is just the first in a family of products.
“It enables a fully-coherent, high-performance many-core solution that supports up to 16 cores on the same silicon die,” the company said. “The CoreLink CCN-504 enables system coherency in heterogeneous multicore and multi-cluster CPU/GPU systems by enabling each processor in the system to access the other processor caches. This reduces the need to access off-chip memory, saving time and energy, which is a key enabler in systems based on ARM big.LITTLE processing, a new paradigm that can deliver both high-performance, required for content creation and consumption, and extreme power efficiency for extended battery life.”
“As the amount of data used increases exponentially over the next 10-15 years, the CoreLink CCN-504 and DMC-520 will play an important role by providing high-performance system IP solutions for many-core applications,” explained Tom Cronk, deputy general manager, processor division, ARM. “This ensures quality of service and coherent operation across the system, and enables SoC designers to efficiently prioritise and handle wide data flows with optimum latency.”
The CoreLink CCN-504 supports both the current-generation high-end Cortex-A15 processor and future ARMv8 processors.
ARM said that the ARM CoreLink CCN-504 cache coherent network is currently available to lead licensees, with sampling in partner products expected in 2013.
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