| Order a report

A Guide To Server Processors

Fifth Edition

To be Published August 2016
Special Pre-publication offer of a $300 discount

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

Single License: $4,495 (single copy, one user)
Corporate License: $5,995

Ordering Information

Examining the Processors Powering Scalable Computing

The server-processor market is creating openings for new vendors. With the emergence of mega data centers and cloud computing, server economics no longer focus on capital expenses alone. Demand for ultimate performance from a single processor has been replaced by a balanced view of capital and operating costs.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 high-density servers 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 radically different architectures, for more power-efficient ARM-based architectures, and for processors that integrate hardware accelerators.

Product Information Tempered By In-Depth Analysis

This report covers processors designed specifically for servers. We provide detailed coverage of Intel’s Xeon E3v5, E5v4, and E7v4 product lines as well as Xeon D processors for scale-out applications. We cover AMD’s Opteron family, including Opteron X and ARM-based processors, plus AMD's joint venture with Tianjin Haiguang Advanced Technology Investment Company (THATIC). Other ARMv8-compatible products include AppliedMicro’s X-Gene 2 and Cavium’s ThunderX and ThunderX2. We cover IBM's Power8 and the OpenPower Foundation's future product roadmap. We speculate about potential market entries from Baikal Electronics, Broadcom, HiSilicon, Phytium, and Qualcomm. This edition also continues 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 look at the vendors' 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 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 incumbent and new vendors

What's New in This Edition

“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:

  • AMD's joint venture with a Chinese company (THATIC) to develop x86-compatible server processors
  • Intel's Broadwell Xeon D, Xeon E5v4, and Xeon E7v4 processors, plus Intel's Skylake Xeon E3v5 processors and Silvermont Atom C2000 chips
  • AppliedMicro's X-Gene 2 server processors
  • Cavium's ThunderX and ThunderX2 server processors
  • IBM's Power8 processors and the OpenPower Foundation's roadmaps
  • Baikal Electronics' ARM-based server processors for the Russian market
  • Phytium's ARMv8-compatible server processors for the Chinese market (the largest ARMv8 multicore designs announced to date)
  • Qualcomm's progress toward an all-new ARMv8-compatible server processor for China and global markets
  • Intel's new bootable Xeon Phi processors for high-performance computing
  • The latest market and technology trends in servers, including virtualization, containers, 3D XPoint memory, and emerging processor designs in China and Russia
  • HPC system comparisons
  • Extensive updates to company information, roadmaps, and analysis
  • Forecast for ARM and x86 server processors through 2016
List of Figures
List of Tables
About the Authors
About the Publisher
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 System Technology
Basic Server Design
I/O and Storage
Server Form Factors
Operating Systems
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
Company Background
Key Features and Performance
Internal Architecture
System Design
Product Roadmap
7 AppliedMicro
Company Background
Key Features and Performance
Design Details
8 Cavium
Company Background
Key Features and Performance
Internal Architecture
SoC Design
Development Tools
Product Roadmap
Company Background
Key Features and Performance
Internal Architecture
SoC Design
Development Tools
Product Roadmap
10 HPC Coprocessors
Intel Xeon Phi
Company Background
Key Features and Performance
Internal Architecture
Programming Model and Tools
Nvidia Tesla
Company Background
Key Features and Performance
Design Details
Product Roadmap
AMD FirePro
Company Background
Key Features and Performance
Design Details
Product Roadmap
11 Other Vendors
12 Comparing Server Processors
Microserver Processors
High-Performance Processors (Uniprocessor)
Two-Socket Processors
Four-Socket Processors
13 Conclusions
Vendor Outlook
Closing Thoughts
Appendix: Further Reading


Linley Mobile & Wearables Conference 2016
Focusing on IC and system design for mobile and wearable devices
July 26 - 27, 2016
Hyatt Regency, Santa Clara, CA
More Events »


Linley Wire
Analysis and news on processors for networking and communications
Linley on Mobile
Analysis and news on semiconductors for mobile and wireless
Processor Watch
Analysis of high-performance microprocessor developments
Subscribe to our Newsletters »