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A Guide To Server Processors

Fourth Edition

To be Published June 2015
Order by June 2, 2015 and save $300

Authors: Jag Bolaria, Tom R. Halfhill and David Kanter

Single License: $3,995 (single copy, one user)
Corporate License: $5,995

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Analyzing the Processors for Scalable Computing

The server-processor market is changing, creating openings for new vendors. With the emergence of mega data centers and cloud computing, server economics no longer focus on capital expenses alone. In addition to high performance, server customers need to balance capital expenses and operating costs. Performance per watt and performance per watt per dollar are the new metrics driving purchasing decisions in large data centers. Physical density is also growing in importance, driving greater scalability and new form factors such as microservers that pack more nodes into precious rack space.

In this new era, backward compatibility is less important than before and innovation takes the front seat. Intel and AMD — the incumbent vendors — continue to innovate and advance their Xeon and Opteron designs, respectively. Integration, microarchitecture advances, and process technology are the primary factors in x86 evolution. But new entrants are eyeing cloud-computing environments as an opening for CPU architectures that are more power efficient.

Product Information Tempered With In-Depth Analysis

This report covers merchant-market processors designed specifically for servers. We provide detailed coverage of Intel’s Xeon D, E3, E5, and E7 product lines as well as its new Atom products for microservers. We cover AMD’s Opteron family, including Opteron X for microservers and the company’s new ARM processor. Other ARM-compatible products include AppliedMicro’s X-Gene 1 and X-Gene 2, Broadcom’s Vulcan, and Cavium’s ThunderX. This edition adds coverage for IBM’s Power8 processors and upcoming server processors from HiSilicon. We also speculate about future entries from Qualcomm and others. In addition, we continue our coverage of coprocessors (or accelerators) for high-performance computing (HPC), including Intel’s Xeon Phi, Nvidia’s Tesla, and AMD’s FirePro.

This report analyzes each vendor and each product, probing their strengths and weaknesses and presenting key details in a consistent, easy-to-compare fashion. We examine processor performance, integration, power dissipation, and overall system design. Where possible, we also evaluate the vendors' product roadmap.

Make Informed Decisions

As the leading vendor of technology analysis for microprocessors, The Linley Group has the expertise to deliver a comprehensive look at these technologies. Our analysts use their broad experience to deliver the technical and strategic information you need to make informed business decisions. And in case you are not familiar with all of the concepts involved in processor and server designs, the report includes several introductory chapters that define and describe terms such as superscalar, multithreading, pipelines, and virtualization.

This report is written for:

  • OEMs that need to make strategic vendor selections
  • ODMs supplying cloud-computing and HPC customers
  • Data-center architects looking at alternative platforms
  • Marketing and engineering staff at companies that sell other server components
  • Financial analysts who desire a detailed analysis and comparison of both incumbents and new vendors

What's New in This Edition

This fourth edition of “A Guide to Server Processors” has been extensively updated to include the latest vendor disclosures. Here are some of the many changes you will find:

  • Coverage of many new products from Intel, including Xeon D Xeon E5/E7v3 (Haswell), Xeon E5 4600, Xeon E3v3 (Haswell), and greater coverage of Xeon Phi (Knights Landing)
  • New coverage of AMD’s roadmap for x86 and ARMv8 processors
  • New coverage of Broadcom’s Vulcan CPU for future server processors
  • New coverage of IBM’s Power8 and the OpenPower Foundation
  • Updated coverage of AppliedMicro’s X-Gene 1 processor, the server industry’s first ARMv8 product, and new coverage of its successor, X-Gene 2
  • Updated coverage of Cavium’s ThunderX, a multicore ARMv8 design based on the company’s successful Octeon III architecture
  • Extensive updates to company information, roadmaps, and analysis
  • Forecast for ARM and x86 server processors through 2019
  • New coverage of HiSilicon’s server processor
PRELIMINARY TABLE OF CONTENTS
List of Figures
List of Tables
About the Authors
About the Publisher
Preface
Executive Summary
1 Processor Technology
Processor Basics
CPU Microarchitecture
Server Processors and Technologies
Server Benchmarks
2 Instruction Sets
Architecture Comparison
x86 Instruction Set
ARM Instruction Set
3 Server Technology
Basic Server Design
I/O and Storage
Server Form Factors
Applications
Operating Systems
Virtualization
4 Market and Technology Trends
Market Trends
Processor-Design Trends
Server-Technology Trends
Market Outlook
5 Intel
Company Background
Key Features and Performance
Internal Architecture
System Design
Product Roadmap
Conclusions
6 AMD
Company Background
Key Features and Performance
Internal Architecture
System Design
Product Roadmap
Conclusions
7 AppliedMicro
Company Background
Key Features and Performance
Internal Architecture
System Design
Product Roadmap
Conclusions
8 Cavium
Company Background
Key Features and Performance
Internal Architecture
System Design
Development Tools
Product Roadmap
Conclusions
9 IBM (OpenPower)
Company Background
Key Features and Performance
Internal Architecture
System Design
Development Tools
Product Roadmap
Conclusions
10 HPC Coprocessors
Intel Xeon Phi
Company Background
Key Features and Performance
Internal Architecture
Programming Model and Tools
Conclusions
Nvidia Tesla
Company Background
Key Features and Performance
Design Details
Product Roadmap
Conclusions
AMD FirePro
Company Background
Key Features and Performance
Design Details
Product Roadmap
Conclusions
11 Other Vendors
Broadcom
HiSilicon
Qualcomm
Samsung
12 Comparing Server Processors
Microserver Processors
High-Performance Processors (Uniprocessor)
Dual-Socket Processors
Four-Socket Processors
13 Conclusions
Vendor Outlook
Closing Thoughts
Appendix: Further Reading
Index