ARM IS PUMPING itself up to push its chip designs beyond mobile with the unveiling of its Neoverse processor family.
The UK-based chip designer is targeting its latest silicon designs at data centre servers and devices that sit on the so-called edge of networks - think internet of things (IoT) sensors and data-sucking embedded systems.
We know a thing or two about punching above our weight, but ARM looks like it's put rocket fuel on top of its Weetabix as going after the data centre chip market will mean taking on Intel, which has dominated that arena for fricking ages.
Such a move would mean locking horns with Intel's Xeon CPUs, something AMD has been trying years.
But given Qualcomm has been lurking in the server market with chips that are based on ARM's processor architecture, perhaps ARM's ambitions are warranted.
ARM is not simply keen on infiltrating servers, though, as it also wants Neoverse to get stuck into all the infrastructure that supports the cloud and future tech.
"By designing Arm Neoverse IP on the most cutting-edge process nodes and including infrastructure specific features, we are providing a basis upon which our ecosystem can build products that span the cloud to edge," said Drew Henry, senior vice president and general manager at ARM's Infrastructure Line of Business.
That means Neoverse, with starts with the 'Ares' platform in 2019, 'Zeus' in 2020, and 'Poseidon' the year after, will go after things like 5G network tech and data storage arrays; basically all the kit that supports cloud computing and IoT-centric 'edge computing'.
And these chips will start off using 7-nanometre fabrication with Ares, improve upon the process with Zeus and then hit 5nm with Poseidon.
Given Intel can get its chips down to 10nm on a large scale, ARM could steal the lead on the chip king; yet we know both firms use different chip architectures, no need to write in.
And unlike the mobile-focused Cortex CPUs ARM designs, Henry said the Neoverse processors will offer more power for more demanding tasks. So ARM could be on to something here.
Making server chips seems to be a trend at the moment if Huawei's aim to move from Intel processors to its own chips is anything to go by. µ
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