|ARM Takes Wing: Qualcomm vs. Intel CPU comparison|
NB Cloudfare is a huuuge Internet services company. This bodes well for the ARM (&QCOM) ecosystem.
As we head into 2018, however, change is in the air. For the first time in a while, Intel has serious competition in the server market: Qualcomm and Cavium both have new server platforms based on the ARMv8 64-bit architecture (aka aarch64 or arm64). Qualcomm has the Centriq platform (codename Amberwing), based on the Falkor core, and Cavium has the ThunderX2 platform, based on the, ahm ... ThunderX2 core?
I tested the Qualcomm Centriq server, and compared it with our newest Intel Skylake based server and previous Broadwell based server.
The engineering sample of Falkor we got certainly impressed me a lot. This is a huge step up from any previous attempt at ARM based servers. Certainly core for core, the Intel Skylake is far superior, but when you look at the system level the performance becomes very attractive.
The production version of the Centriq SoC will feature up to 48 Falkor cores, running at a frequency of up to 2.6GHz, for a potential additional 8% better performance.
Obviously the Skylake server we tested is not the flagship Platinum unit that has 28 cores, but those 28 cores come both with a big price and over 200W TDP, whereas we are interested in improving our bang for buck metric, and performance per watt.
Currently my main concern is weak Go language performance, but that is bound to improve quickly once ARM based servers start gaining some market share.
Both C and LuaJIT performance is very competitive, and in many cases outperforms the Skylake contender. In almost every benchmark Falkor shows itself as a worthy upgrade from Broadwell.
The largest win by far for Falkor is the low power consumption. Although it has a TDP of 120W, during my tests it never went above 89W (for the go benchmark). In comparison Skylake and Broadwell both went over 160W, while the TDP of the two CPUs is 170W.