Arm's Next-Gen Neoverse V1 And N2 Server Chips Put Intel And AMD In Its Crosshairs

Arm Neoverse N2 chip image
When we think of processors used in the enterprise market, Intel Xeon or AMD EPYC x86-64 families typically comes to mind. Intel has the lion's share of the market, with AMD steadily gaining traction ever since its Zen architecture birthed first-generation EPYC 7001 processors. However, Arm is also a player in this space with its Neoverse CPU architecture, which first debuted in 2019.

Neoverse N2: Cloud-to-Edge Performance Greatness

Amazon Web Services (AWS) deployed its and Graviton2 processor, while Ampere has made waves with its Altra; both processors are based on Arm's Neoverse N1 architecture. Today, Arm is ready to take the next giant leap in performance with the launch of Neoverse N2.

neoverse n1

Neoverse N2 will use the newly announced Armv9 architecture, bringing performance and security enhancements, and increased power efficiency. Critically, Neoverse N2 brings an all-new core design along with support for Scalable Vector Extension version two (SVE2) SIMD instructions. We must also note that Arm is promising a 40 percent uplift in instructions per clock (IPC) compared to Neoverse N1.

neoverse n2

Arm also quotes a 1.3x boost in NGINX performance and a 1.2x uplift in DPDK packet processing compared to Neoverse N1. The Neoverse N2 can accomplish all this while leading the industry in performance-per-watt (always a strong point of Arm architecture). Sampling is set to commence during the closing months of 2021.

Neoverse V1 For HPC and Exascale Computing

Arm is approaching Neoverse V1 with a "performance-first mindset," delivering a 50 percent improvement in IPC along with a 1.8x uplift in vector workloads compared to Neoverse N1. According to Arm, we're also looking at a 4x improvement in machine learning workloads.

Arm Neoverse V1 chip image

Customers that opt for Neoverse V1 want the best compute performance and bandwidth with a deep and wide design (15-wide issue, 11-stage pipeline). Arm says to look no further than to SiPearl and ETRI HPC SoCs to see the potential of what's possible with designs that leverage Neoverse V1 in the future.

neoverse v1 vector performance

"Modern Arm Neoverse-based CPUs are demonstrating industry-leading performance throughput and power efficiency, and we like the direction Arm is heading with the addition of their Neoverse V1 and N2 platforms," said Nitin Rao, SVP of Global Infrastructure for Cloudflare. "Arm's Neoverse N2 offers the industry's top computing power per watt, delivering three times the compute performance and four times the SPECint per watt of the current generation," added Raj Singh, Executive VP of Marvell's Processors Business Group. "Our next-generation OCTEON DPU family will leverage Arm's Neoverse N2 cores to power critical infrastructure applications from 5G to storage to signal processing and security."

neoverse socket performance

NVIDIA, which announced its intention to purchase Arm last year, is also bullish on next-generation Neoverse architecture. The company added, "We see a similar transformation taking place across the breadth of computing infrastructure, from the cloud to the edge, and we believe Arm is both a catalyst for and a solution to this change. Customer adoption of specialized silicon has never been greater, and both NVIDIA and Arm are at the center of this trend."

We should see the first designs using Neoverse N2 and Neoverse V1 in 2022, and we're eager to see what each will bring to the table against the entrenched players in this space.