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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    • Shobai
    • 2 years ago

    [url=https://www.servethehome.com/gigabyte-thunderxstation-using-cavium-thunderx2-launched/<]ServeTheHome[/url<] has a nice shot of the internals, towards the bottom of the first page - the socket looks suitably massive, and is all the expansion on a riser?

      • Shobai
      • 2 years ago

      [url=https://blog.cloudflare.com/arm-takes-wing/amp/?__twitter_impression=true<]Cloudflare[/url<] has a blog comparing Broadway to Skylake and Qualcomm's Falkirk, and they say they've also got ThunderXStation in-house also; hopefully they'll have something to say on the matter soon.

    • ermo
    • 2 years ago

    If you’re not tied to (legacy) Windows apps, why not?

    • Shobai
    • 2 years ago

    link to announcement -> link to ThunderXStation forum -> ThunderXStation FAQ forum -> [url=http://thunderxforums.com/tx2home/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3<]Frequently Asked Questions[/url<]: [quote="TechReport"<]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.[/quote<] [quote<]Initially, 2.2GHz 32-core 4-threads per core. Other SKUs will be available depending on demand.[/quote<] [quote="TechReport"<]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.[/quote<] [quote<]Pricing is competitive with high end single and dual socket workstations from leading name brand workstation vendors with comparable Gold/Platinum processors. For the most upto date pricing please contact [url<]http://www.phoenicselectronics.com[/url<][/quote<]

      • RAGEPRO
      • 2 years ago

      That’s from a VAR, not Gigabyte itself. 🙂

        • Shobai
        • 2 years ago

        Have you heard conflicting specs from Gigabyte?

    • Bumper
    • 2 years ago

    high end arm.

    high end arm!

    high end. arm.

    high end? arm….

    high end arm?

    high end… arm?<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<bwahahaha

    • tipoo
    • 2 years ago

    What exactly do we know about the ThunderX2 processor? How wide, how pipelined, how much cache, etc?

    It looks like they think it needs some hefty cooling for just single and dual sockets, this would definitely be interesting to have a deep dive into. ARM taking on high wattage x86 has been a lingering thing for so long.

      • NTMBK
      • 2 years ago

      Isn’t the ThunderX2 a rebrand of the Vulcan CPU that Broadcom were developing? They sold it off to Cavium. There’s a decent writeup at TheNextPlatform: [url<]https://www.nextplatform.com/2017/11/27/cavium-truly-contender-one-two-arm-server-punch/[/url<]

    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    No specs, no pricing. Nice.

      • Wirko
      • 2 years ago

      Hey, only the basic specs are missing. Everything else is here.

        • Kraaketaer
        • 2 years ago

        Yep, we know it has a case, a PSU, RAM slots, display output, can house storage, and has one or two CPUs. Do we need more than that?

    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    How cost effective would it be to dump your Xeons and replace them with these ThunderXeons, which likely entails writing your apps for them as well?

      • sweatshopking
      • 2 years ago

      Would likely depend on your workload.

      • thx1138r
      • 2 years ago

      Couple o’ things.
      Nobody is going to dump some perfectly good Xeons to switch over to these chips. The best Cavium/Gigabyte can hope for is that someone considers them when it’s time to get some new hardware.
      Also, the type of server software that is intended for these chips (Web/Application/DB server ) tends to be fairly platform agnostic (unlike, say HPC software which can be tailored for very specific types of CPU) so generally speaking there would be very little re-writing. Although, depending on the application re-validation/re-testing on a new CPU can still be quite expensive

    • CuttinHobo
    • 2 years ago

    But can it run AnTuTu?

      • jihadjoe
      • 2 years ago

      Me worries if Brian Klug raging about Antutu…

    • NoOne ButMe
    • 2 years ago

    Wonder if the PSU is so huge because they disabled a bunch of cores than pumped up the rest past good pref/watt target to get better ST performance?

    Or even just push clockspeeds super high and disable the “bad” cores?

    1600W seems like super overkill. I’m guessing draw is no more than 350-450W substained and 600W peak.

      • Kurlon
      • 2 years ago

      It’s more likely that Gigabyte HAD a 1600w redundant powersupply on the shelf from their bigger iron so it was an easy option to grab.

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 2 years ago

      Did you even read the article, bro?

        • NoOne ButMe
        • 2 years ago

        Yes, it is very clear that the companies are being unclear on the actual CPUs:
        “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.”

        Hence my suspicion, or rather hope they did as I theorized. As it would show they “merely” have to work on lowering power. Instead of worrying about lowering power while breaching a clock wall.

          • Srsly_Bro
          • 2 years ago

          My apologies for my tone. The board has multiple PCIe slots that could also explain the large PSU. It’s doubtful the CPU is drawing too much power.

    • caconym
    • 2 years ago

    Those are some sea-worthy case legs …

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      A throwback to those awesome [url=https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811160008<]Chieftec cases[/url<] of yesteryear.

        • just brew it!
        • 2 years ago

        Yup, that was my thought as well. I still own several Chieftec full towers.

    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]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.[/quote<] If it wasn't for that power-hog GT710 you could run this bad boy off of your Raspberry Pi wall-wart because ARM. Here's the [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4S60JBWpeJM<]launch video![/url<]

      • NTMBK
      • 2 years ago

      Clearly nGreedia loves watts as much as they love $$$

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      That kid with the Les Paul is better than me and a quarter of my age. Screw him.

      Also, I like how they got Teen Girl Squad on the vox.

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