Performance, Longevity And Standardization
If you can’t wait for Josh’s take on Arm Tech Day 2021 on the PC Perspective Podcast tomorrow, you can visit ServeTheHome, who have aggregated all the information they took in and shared it in this lengthy article. There is more than just hardware covered in the article as ARM is also touting Project Cassini, an initiative to emphasis some standardization in the use of their IP by customers. They aren’t looking to limit the types of customization customers can apply to their products, instead ARM has their eyes on the longevity of the products.
ARM has never had the heaps of legacy baggage which the x86 architecture carts around everywhere, after all it has been significantly easier and less expensive to replace ARM based hardware that x86 based kit. This is changing, as ARM’s IP extends into more expensive hardware, such as Apple’s M1 just to name an example. It is also appearing in higher end infrastructure which is more expensive and complex to replace. Project Cassini hopes to encourage enough standardization to allow products to survive several upgrade cycles to encourage even wider adoption.
The hardware in their Neoverse continues to have three families, the E1 series specializes in power efficient cores and is designed for scenarios where power consumption is a higher priority than pure processing power. The V1 platform emphasizes performance over power, and contains both the higher frequency products and those with less efficient cores. The N1 and N2 series offers you a mix of both, containing products that are not quite as efficient as their E1 chips but offer nearly the same level of performance as the V1.
The N2 series, aka Perseus, was a big focus of the ARM Tech Day and rightfully so, the performance has increased noticeably from the N1. The charts ARM presented showed a 32% IPC improvement over N1 while maintaining similar power characteristics. The N2 doesn’t just offer increased performance, you will also see a nice jump in the number of cores available.
There is a lot to unpack, so make sure you have some time before following the link.
As a result, we are going to cover the summary on page 1, then go into more detail on subsequent pages. If you read STH’s forward-looking articles simply to stay informed, feel free to skim the first page and we will link relevant bits when they become relevant in future STH coverage.