Gigabyte ThunderXStation puts high-end ARM CPUs on your desk


Like it or not, ARM servers are here. You can buy high-throughput ARM CPU chips from a number of vendors. Options include the Centriq series from Qualcomm and the ThunderX2 family from Cavium. Gigabyte's been working closely with Cavium for a while now, and late last year began shipping server rack units based on ThunderX2 CPUs. You'll need workstations to develop the software for said servers, though, and once again Gigabyte is the shop with the goods. The company just announced the ThunderXStation, a dual-socket ARMv8 workstation system.

Aside from the choice of CPU instruction set, these workstations look an awful lot like any other such machine. They come in tower chassis that can also be rack-mounted. You can run a ThunderXStation with single or dual ThunderX2 CPUs, each with eight channels of DDR4 memory. Gigabyte and Cavium are shy about giving actual numbers on core counts, clock rates, or maximum memory capacity, but we know that the ThunderX2 CPUs come in versions with 54 cores.

One of the strong points of the ThunderX2 chips is their capacity for high-speed I/O. Gigabyte's ThunderXStations come with six PCIe 3.0 slots, two of which are Type-1 OCP-compliant x16 slots. Two 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports driven by QLogic controllers come as standard. Gigabyte says the machine's storage allotment comprises four NVMe-capable combo bays and two 2.5" bays. A GeForce GT710 offers dual-monitor support, and the whole thing is run by an optionally-redundant 1600-W power plant with 80 Plus Platinum certification.

Gigabyte didn't offer even a vague guess about what one might expect to pay for such a machine. In fact, it's not even listed on the company's website yet. If you're interested to get your hands on a ThunderXStation, you'll have to e-mail Gigabyte to ask about it.

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