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Amazon comes up with data centre processor chip

by on29 November 2019

Who needs Intel and AMD?

Amazon’s cloud computing unit has designed a second, more powerful generation of data centre processor chip.

The move is proof that Amazon is chucking cash into custom silicon for its fastest-growing business rather than wait for Intel and AMD to wow them.

The new Amazon Web Services chip uses ARM technology and will be at least 20 percent faster than Amazon’s first ARM-based chip, named Graviton, which was released last year as a low-cost option for easier computing tasks.

Cloud computing has become big business for data centre chipmakers. Intel controls more than 90 percent of the server processor market, with AMD controlling most of the rest. Intel’s data centre group generated almost half of the company’s overall operating profit last year.

Amazon’s first ARM chip did not appear to have an impact on Intel’s data centre business, which continued to grow over the past year. Analysts have suggested that ARM in the hands of an Amazon or a Google who could potentially invest in it would cause Intel to wake up in the night with a cold sweat.

To be fair, Amazon’s efforts are not as powerful as Intel’s Cascade Lake or AMD’s Rome chips, but they are cheaper to make and consume less electricity

Amazon’s first Graviton chip used ARM's older Cortex A72 technology. The forthcoming Amazon chip is expected to use ARM’s Neoverse N1 technology. The chip is expected to have at least 32 cores versus the Graviton’s 16.

Last modified on 29 November 2019
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