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March 24, 2023
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Sources told Reuters that Amazon Web Services (AWS), a leading cloud computing unit of Amazon, has developed a new datacenter processor that is at least 20% faster than its predecessor.
The new processor, based on Arm’s Neoverse N1 microarchitecture, will include as many as 32 cores. Reuters also announced that it will use fabric technology to connect to other chips and speed up tasks such as image recognition.
The company’s investment into a second Arm-based Chip advances its custom silicon strategy, and further reduces its dependence on Intel and AMD server chip chips.
AWS’ first home-grown chip was launched last year by Graviton at the AWS reInvent conference in Las Vegas. The Graviton chips are based on the Cortex-A72 micro-architecture. They were created by Annapurna Labs in Israel, a system-on-a-chip developer that AWS acquired back in 2015. Annapurna Labs also developed two generations Nitro ASICs, which run storage and networking tasks in AWS datacenters. The Graviton chips powered the first EC2 instances, A1.
The new processor from AWS has not been officially announced. AWS is keeping the release date secret. We did not receive any comment from the company at press time.
Softbank Group, a Japanese multinational telecom company, purchased British chip designer Arm Holdings in 2016. Arm, a well-established company in the embedded and mobile device markets, was acquired by Softbank Group in 2016. AWS Vice President James Hamilton noted that Arm has “de-verticalized its ecosystem” which has made it a strong contender in the datacenter server market.
He wrote that Arm does the processor design but licenses the processor to companies who integrate the design into their silicon, instead of actually producing the processor. This allows a variety of silicon producers, such as Amazon, to innovate and specialize chips in different uses while also taking advantage of Arm’s extensive software and tooling ecosystem.
He said that this model has resulted in “innovation and competition at all layers of the Arm ecosystem, from design, silicon foundry, packaging and board manufacturing all the way to finished hardware systems as well as the system software that runs on top.”