Ampere’s flagship 128-core Altra Max M128-30 may not be the highest performance processor in the world, but it is equipped with an unprecedented number of general-purpose 64-bit cores, has reasonable power consumption, and the price is only AMD and Intel for its flagship EPYC and Xeon Scalable products charge.
Ampere charges $5,800 for its top-of-the-line Altra Max M128-30 processor, which has 128 Arm Neoverse N1 cores running up to 3.0 GHz, 128 PCIe Gen4 spears and 8 memory channels. FronixIn contrast, AMD’s top 64-core EPYC 7763 CPU can work at 2.45 GHz – 3.50 GHz at a price of 7,890 USD Intel’s Xeon Platinum 8380 processor has 40 cores and runs at 2.30 GHz – 3.40 GHz. Cost 8,099 USD.
In fact, even the cheapest 32-core Ampere Altra Q32-17, its 32-core 1.70 GHz and 128 PCIe Gen4 channels are priced at US$800, which is lower than the US$978 of AMD’s 16-core EPYC 7302. At the same time, Intel has Xeon Silver’Ice Lake-SP’ processors that cost about $500, but these chips have only 8 cores.
Arm’s Neoverse N1 cores are not as advanced as AMD’s Zen 4 or Intel’s Ice Lake-SP cores, but they are small enough to fit 128 cores into a chip that consumes no more than 250 watts and still achieve viable output .
Ampere positions its Altra and Altra Max processors as hyperscale providers with up to 128 cores, mainly for cloud services. These vendors can develop software that scales well with the number of cores (and has less dependency on the performance of each core), and is usually optimized for AArch64 and especially Neoverse N1. This makes the company’s number of potential customers quite limited. Therefore, compared to AMD and Nvidia products, Ampere must provide an indisputable advantage, which seems to be its price per core.
For large-capacity white box servers used by hyperscale cloud giants with a relatively limited number of operations, this advantage may be very obvious.For example, using Ampere’s Altra-based server, Oracle can provide Arm general-purpose core at 1 cent per hour, Converted to a 128-core processor at $30.72 per day.
At the same time, for high-performance machines used by enterprises, lower CPU prices are not important, because the cost of processors in many types of enterprise servers does not play a big role, because these machines are equipped with a large amount of memory and high-performance Storage subsystem.
In addition to Ampere and Oracle, there are other companies that are pushing Arm-based enterprise processors to servers. Fujitsu, its A64FX processor for Fugaku supercomputer (soon to be replaced by the upcoming AMD EPYC/Instinct-powered Frontier machine from the first sport on the 500 list) provides similar chips to various companies. Huawei mainly deploys Arm-based SoCs in its own data centers.