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Thread: Marvell to buy Cavium

  1. #1
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    Marvell to buy Cavium

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    Interesting news. Apparently, boards from both sides have approved the deal.


    Related to this news, I recently saw this blog post from CloudFlare (ARM Takes Wing: Qualcomm vs. Intel CPU comparison) which is the first good benchmark I have seen of Qualcomm's Centriq server chip. And it really beat the Intel hardware it was compared to (half the power for higher performance on most tests). CloudFlare has decided to buy Centriq servers and is adding them to their datacenters (they say it in the comments section).

    I immediatelly thought about Cavium's ThunderX2 which is supposed to be even more interesting because it has much more IO and is dual socket. Cray and HPE are onboard the ThunderX2 already. However, for some reason there is no benchmark for ThunderX2 online (if you know any please let me know). CloudFlare seems to have tested both platforms and they chose Centriq.

    Anyhow, I believe ARM server chips are taking off big time and Cavium's ThunderX2 is probably why Marvell wants Cavium. The makers of the two hottest ARM server chips - Qualcomm and Cavium - have been targetted for acquisition in the last month. Coincidence?

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    In the past I believe the ARM based servers used off the shelf ARM cores but the QCOM Centriq is a custom core. Are there any other custom ARM server cores out there?

    I was really disappointed when Avago killed the Broadcom ARM server chip. I hope they do not do it again when Broadcom acquires Qualcomm. AMD is giving Intel a big push but I think QCOM could give an even bigger one, absolutely.

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    Now available in print or Kindle: "Mobile Unleashed: The Origin and Evolution of ARM Processors In Our Devices"

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    Years ago Marvell had been looking into ARM servers but I believe they abandoned the effort. This could mean they are interested once again. There was one other company, AppliedMicro, that was building ARM servers but they were acquired and the ARM server chip business was sold off to a private equity backed group.

    MACOM Sells AppliedMicro’s X-Gene CPU Business

    The name of the Private Equity backed group? Project Denver Holdings... if the name "Project Denver" sounds familiar, it's because that was the name of NVidia's project to build a custom ARM core, which is used in Tegra SoCs. NVidia has said they are not targeting the server market with Denver and it's unclear to me if Project Denver holdings has anything to do with NVidia's Project Denver, but that's quite the coincidence.

    Project Denver - Wikipedia

    Maybe someone else on this forum can provide some insight?

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    >> And it really beat the Intel hardware it was compared to (half the power for higher performance on most tests)

    Even better: half the power, for higher performance , at fifth of the price.

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    A fifth of the price? Do you have pricing info for Centriq?

    However, these days with memory prices so high, often the processor cost is only a small % of total server cost. But a fifth is quite a difference.

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    no pricing info, just read somewhere that Quallcom says "a fifth of the price".

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