It might be needless to put a ton of CPU cores inside of a smartphone, but it makes all the sense in the world to put a lot of them in a server. Of course, mega-core server CPUs are nothing new. Both AMD and Intel offer Hulk-smashing chips with up to 18 cores, and in some cases, up to eight of those can be packed into a single server. It's the stuff geek tears are made of.
Sometimes, however, high-end processors are not needed; just lots of cores. It's for that reason that there's been an uptick in servers utilizing ARM-based processors. While these might not be as full-featured as a chip from Intel or AMD, they can prove to be extremely efficient in many different workloads.
An example of an ARM-powered server
With increasing demand, Qualcomm is wasting no time in giving the market some intriguing options, including one that was demonstrated this week. There's no model name mentioned, but this latest SoC sports a staggering 24-cores, and utilizes ARMv8-A instructions. It's built using FinFET technology, and packs PCIe and storage chipsets within.
Qualcomm claims that once this chip hits the market, it will be "one of the most advanced server-class SoCs on the market." With 24 cores under-the-hood, that seems like a given. Qualcomm says that this chip will be perfectly suitable for many different purposes, including Infrastructure as-a Service, Platform as-a Service, big data, and even machine-learning. The demonstration shown-off this week ran on Linux 4.2 with KVM virtualization, and ran WordPress running on an Apache Web server.
There's no telling when this impressive chip will hit the market, but Qualcomm says that it's currently being tested by "tier one" datacenters.