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Applied Micro X-Gene ARM Waves The 64-Bit Banner

A few years back, Intel made its foray into the networking arena with its Xeon and Atom processors, and several makers of specialized chips for networking are fighting back by taking their expertise and creating server variants of the 64-bit ARM architecture with embedded networking and other kinds of acceleration. Applied Micro, which has three generations of its X-Gene processors in different stages of development and production, has become the standard bearer for ARM’s entry into the server market because it is first out the door with a 64-bit design.

AMD, Cavium, and Broadcom are also fielding very serious ARM server chips and all four vendors, and perhaps other entrants, including Samsung, Nvidia, and a few others like Google or Amazon who might be messing around with ARM chip designs, could be cooking up other interesting stuff as well.

At the International Super Computing conference in Leipzig, Germany, this week, a number of system makers were showing off development and production machines based on the first generation X-Gene processor from Applied Micro, and GPU accelerator maker Nvidia was also on hand to remind everyone that its Tesla coprocessors and CUDA parallel programming environment worked on 64-bit ARM platforms (technically known as ARMv8 architecture but often called ARM64 colloquially) just as they do on X86 chips and, soon, Power processors from IBM and its OpenPower Foundation partners. Applied Micro is turning up the volume on ARM64 and trying to convince potential customers in the hyperscale and supercomputing spaces, who are willing to entertain an alternative to the X86 architecture for compute, that its brawny implementation of the ARM architecture is more than worth the trouble of porting software. These initial users at the top end of the market…

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