80-Core N1 Ampere ‘QuickSilver’: The Next Stop on ARM’s Roadmap

Dec 24, 2019

ARM is creating it's newest Neoverse N1 Platform, which has been designed to be implemented into cloud-based systems. Amazon has shown off its N1-Based Graviton2 for its cloud services, and this is Ampere's attempt at creating their ARM-based cloud CPU.

Ampere's QuickSilver CPU is planned to be the main competitor to Amazon's Graviton2!

Ampere, technically Ampere Computing, is currently on the market with its eMAG processors using custom ARM cores derived from its acquisition of AppliedMicro. With Ampere's purchase of AppliedMicro, it had achieved success as a second-tier cloud provider, as well as in the cloud-type serves for a varying number of Chinese smartphone game providers. Ampere's successor to the eMAG hasn't been given a marketable name but is currently being called the SoC codename of QuickSilver. This processor is different from the current ARM eMAG processor as the QuickSilver ARM CPU has been entirely built from the ground-up design, keeping this ARM CPU utterly separate from the AppliedMicro IP acquisition. The QuickSilver CPU is planned to be a competitor to Amazon's Graviton2.

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The QuickSilver CPU will be built on TSMC's 7nm process and can feature up to 80 cores, and these cores differ significantly when compared to the cores housed in the eMAG processor. The QuickSilver uses the same core design as Amazon's Graviton2 CPU. The QuickSilver CPU will also support over 128 PCIe 4.0 lanes, while Ampere wouldn't state how many, but Ampere did state that this CPU would have any other server chip x86 or ARM will have in 2020. The QuickSilver might just beat out AMD's Rome EPYC processor, which houses up to 128 PCIe 4.0 lanes.

Ampere did state that this chip would offer support for up to eight DDR4 memory channels, while the exact frequency of the RAM has not been stated, Ampere said it would support faster RAM than the eMAG ARM CPU which currently supports DDR4-2666. The QuickSilver CPU does offer support for up to dual-socket configuration, which uses the CCIX protocol over PCIe 4.0 to enable socket-to-socket communication.

Performance-wise QuickSilver is planned to surpass the eMAG far. Ampere didn't release exact information regarding this CPU, like the size of the L2 cache, but Ampere did state that this CPU was tuned to performance. Ampere currently has silicon production in house and will provide a more specific timeframe with the full launch announcement in 2020.