A Chinese startup called Phytium Technology is turning heads at the Hot Chips conference with the most powerful ARM-based server processor to date. The firm's chip goes by the name Mars, it's made on a 28nm process and features 64 custom ARMv8 cores running at a frequency of up to 2GHz.
Mars is capable of handling up to four instructions per cycle and has a peak computing power of 512 gigaflops. With a die size of 640mm² this is a really big ARM-based chip, even something like NVIDIA's GM200 is only 601mm². The chip has a TDP of 120W and has a package with 3,000 pins.
The chip is organized into eight panels, each panel features eight cores and each set of four cores shares a 4MB cache. Eight external chips provide a total of 128MB L3 cache and the Mars chip supports 16 DDR3-1600 memory channels.
It still needs to be taped out but EE Times writes microprocessor analysts are already impressed by the chip's features. Phytium believes this will be world's first commercially available 64-core ARMv8 CPU. Analysts are a bit worried though that it will be hard to achieve good yields on the chip due to its masive size.
“My God, who knew…this is by far the most aggressive 64-bit ARM chip to be announced – it’s just awesome, and it was definitely the surprise of this event,” said Nathan Brookwood, principal of Insight64 (Saratoga, Calif.).
Sam Naffziger, a fellow at AMD who moderated the session, called Mars a respectable design with a “good cache hierarchy and good bandwidth match.”