I’ve often opined that ARM V8 server SOC’s would struggle to meet Intel Xeon head-on until a) they get a few micro-architecture revisions under their belts to improve per-core performance, and b) they can narrow the manufacturing gap to 14/16 nm, or perhaps even 10 nm. Now, Applied Micro is aiming to do just that with the X-Gene 3. They have claimed this lofty goal before, with their 1st and then 2nd attempt at X-Gene’s custom cores. Now, it appears that their third generation custom-core SOC will (finally) deliver performance that is “well within range of Xeon E5 products”, according to a recently released report by the Linely Group, the widely read and respected publisher of the “The MicroProcessor Report.”
This announcement tees up 2 important topics. 1) Will X-Gene3 really deliver “Xeon-class” performance? and 2) does it matter? i.e., do ARM server partners really need to chase Intel Xeon, or is there a market for less powerful “Atom-class” SOCs in the data center? See my perspective on The Next Platform.