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Intel makes flow processor with ARM inside, for Netronome

6/6/2012 05:20 PM EDT
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matt1
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re: Intel makes flow processor with ARM inside, for Netronome
matt1   6/13/2012 9:57:20 AM
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Having developed for the existing NFP3240 I am surprised to see the ARM still in there. Namy44 has a point in that our application and IP resides in the cores for maximum performance. We dont even bother booting the ARM. I guess some apps would use the onchip ARM for core management, slow path handoff or stacks.

Gideon
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re: Intel makes flow processor with ARM inside, for Netronome
Gideon   6/12/2012 9:21:10 AM
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@Namy44: The performance comes from their large array of custom packet and flow processors. Intel cores will be providing management processor functions - routing table management, maybe high-level / complex packet forwarding.

Namy44
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re: Intel makes flow processor with ARM inside, for Netronome
Namy44   6/11/2012 5:23:07 PM
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My take is On-chip, the ARM11 core functions are limited, as Jarrod said. The "meat and potato" of the chip is it's programmable cores, packet and flow processors. Off-chip, the NFP-6XXX programmable cores are "tightly coupled" ... "with the best-in-class general purpose Intel cores via PCIe gen3". So, ARM11 has a cameo role on-chip role and NFP-6XXX performance comes from the tight IA/x86 based coupling between the on-chip programmable cores and off-chip Intel's BiC cores. Someday, maybe they have a one-chip solution.

Peter Clarke
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re: Intel makes flow processor with ARM inside, for Netronome
Peter Clarke   6/11/2012 12:52:32 PM
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I asked Netronome about any plans to switch out the ARM11 processor core in a favor of an Atom core and this is what the company said in an email comment attributed to Jarrod Siket, senior vice president of marketing: "The recently announced NFP-6xxx is primarily comprised of a large array of Netronome flow processing and packet processing cores that are optimized for network, security and content processing. The small Arm core on the device plays a limited role and is used for chip initialization." "A unique aspect of Netronome’s flow processing architecture is that it is designed to be tightly coupled with IA/x86 processing in a heterogeneous multicore design. Our goal is to tightly couple our packet and flow processing cores with the best-in-class general purpose Intel cores via PCIe gen3, in the applications we target with the NFP-6xxx." I interpret that as neither "yes", nor "no" nor "irrelevant."

I_B_GREEN
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re: Intel makes flow processor with ARM inside, for Netronome
I_B_GREEN   6/9/2012 12:55:00 AM
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umm ARM 11 is not the latest guys. its not valid to compare old ARM to new Intel. No reason other foundaries can't catch up quickly. using ARM technolgy to make improvements and then claiming intel supperiority along with a die shrink advantage is ludicrous and stupid. this discussion board is not being read by mindless marketeers.

Namy44
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re: Intel makes flow processor with ARM inside, for Netronome
Namy44   6/8/2012 1:49:02 PM
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It would be "a marketing win for Intel -- rolling back the ARM tide etc." If Intel Marketing & ® Atom™ design teams are on the ball, Intel would showcase their 22nm Atom's architectural approaches "for free" with a "benchmark superior" drop in replacement for NFP-6XXX that uses Atom in place of the current ARM11 multiprocessing core. Intel knows, big things happen one step at a time!

Peter Clarke
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re: Intel makes flow processor with ARM inside, for Netronome
Peter Clarke   6/8/2012 12:01:50 PM
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@IP2design In addition, the document referenced above by Namy44 shows there is a specific program in which Intel seeking to ease the path for the replacement of ARM within SoCs with Atom.

Peter Clarke
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re: Intel makes flow processor with ARM inside, for Netronome
Peter Clarke   6/8/2012 11:56:01 AM
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@ip2design Thanks IP2. You may be right Intel did have an initiative to license Atom out and make it available through TSMC for inclusion in SoCs. That was back in March 2009 http://eetimes.com/electronics-news/4081510/Intel-to-port-Atom-cores-to-TSMC-s-tech-platform Although we reported it was put on hold in 2010. http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4087926/Update-Intel-TSMC-Atom-partnership-on-hold I am not sure whether there is anything fundamental that would stop Intel from letting Netronome use an Intel processor core, especially if Intel is the foundry manufacturer. In addition it would be less royalty for rival ARM and a marketing win for Intel -- rolling back the ARM tide etc.

ip2design
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re: Intel makes flow processor with ARM inside, for Netronome
ip2design   6/8/2012 11:08:33 AM
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I am sorry but I fear we still compare apples and oranges. To my knowledge, Intel Atom is not available as a licensable IP, just like any ARM core.

Tony Lange
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re: Intel makes flow processor with ARM inside, for Netronome
Tony Lange   6/8/2012 7:19:01 AM
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Intel's tilted sidewall finfet on bulk Si was not so good. EEtimes reports that Intel need to improve finfet with SOI wafers. This drives up price.

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