NVIDIA Tesla unit general manager Sumit Gupta told The Inquirer that high-end ARM-based servers are at least two years away from us, because at present the ARM architecture isn't able to provide the computing power needed to drive high-performance servers. Gupta added that ARM SoCs will be good enough for cloud applications and web serving in the next one or two years, but that it will take some more time to be good enough for accelerated computing.
Gupta said, "Performance of these ARM cores is still not where it needs to be for servers. It is getting there; the new ARM64 [processor] is going to get it part of the way." However he did say that eventually ARM SoCs could hit X86-like performance levels. "One day I think ARM will at least get to similar performance levels as X86 performance. The belief is that over the next one or two years these ARM SoCs will be good enough for cloud applications and web serving. I think it will take some more time to be good enough for accelerated computing."
As for Nvidia using its Tegra chips to push work to the firm's GPGPUs, a scenario that would make the firm's accountants very happy, Gupta said he was surprised at the level of interest from developers and questioned the need for powerful CPUs. "We did a small development kit called Karma that has a Tegra 3 and a Nvidia GPU, [and] I was shocked by the number of those kits that have been sold. The interest in this ARM plus GPU is far larger than even I expected. If the GPU can do dynamic parallelism, it becomes more independent than how powerful CPUs do you need? I believe the first thing that will happen is that people will start using lower performing [Intel] Xeons [...] then at some point when these Atom based processors become available they might use that, and when ARM64 is available they'll use that."