Breaking News
Comments
chanj0
User Rank
Manager
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
chanj0   12/6/2011 6:01:34 PM
NO RATINGS
“It’s a terrific processor for everyday computing, not the right device as we go towards high performance computing,” His statement seems to redefine high performance computing to energy efficient computing.

Patrick Van Oosterwijck
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
Patrick Van Oosterwijck   12/6/2011 7:39:52 PM
NO RATINGS
High performance computing IS energy efficient computing. At the scale we're talking nowadays, the best way to allow supercomputers to be faster is by reducing their power consumption and heat dissipation. Those are the factors limiting you from throwing in more computing resources.

the lavender fan
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
the lavender fan   12/6/2011 9:14:14 PM
NO RATINGS
I'm not so sure. It all boils down to the performance per Watt of energy consumed. Is there any data for a fair comparison between ARM and x86?

polylith
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
polylith   12/6/2011 6:23:28 PM
NO RATINGS
Yeah, out of order execution, branch prediction, etc are just for users clicking their mice. You don't need those for REAL high performance computing :)

bobbytsai
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
bobbytsai   12/6/2011 9:09:09 PM
NO RATINGS
all cortex a9 arm processors have out of order execution and branch prediction already. cortex a15 will also be super scalar. cortex a8 is dual in-order instruction issue. most vendors also include SIMD units in there arm offerings. no much a intel processor has on these except 5-10x perf/watt

bobbytsai
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
bobbytsai   12/6/2011 9:20:40 PM
NO RATINGS
correction : intel has 1/5-1/10 perf/watt

the lavender fan
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
the lavender fan   12/7/2011 1:14:35 AM
NO RATINGS
Where do these numbers come from?

markhahn0
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
markhahn0   12/7/2011 3:51:55 AM
NO RATINGS
gpus manage 1-2 Tf for about 300W, or ~3-6 Gf/W. dedicated HPC chips like in the K machine or BG/q are about the same (say 2-3 Gf/W). current x86 processors manage .5-1.5 Gf/W. (numbers are a bit fuzzy - chip vs system dissipation, etc) the recent Calxeda ARM chips seem to be about 3 Gf/W, too. (assuming 1.5W/core, 1.2 GHz and 4 flops/cycle. might be half that, can't tell.)

krisi
User Rank
CEO
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
krisi   12/6/2011 7:14:41 PM
NO RATINGS
Is there any supercomputer build using ARM processors? Kris

SylvieBarak
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
SylvieBarak   12/6/2011 8:04:54 PM
NO RATINGS
There is one being built at the moment, yes. By the Barcelona Supercomputing Center. But it's not built yet. http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4230570/Spain-Nvidia-plan-ARM-based-supercomputer

krisi
User Rank
CEO
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
krisi   12/6/2011 11:22:17 PM
NO RATINGS
thank you Sylvie...we would be interested in having a talk on Barcelona design at emerging technologies conference in Vancouver in 2012? www.cmoset.com, would you be interested by any chance? Kris

SylvieBarak
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
SylvieBarak   12/7/2011 12:16:24 AM
NO RATINGS
Of course! Drop me an email to my first name, dot, last name at UBM dot com

Bert22306
User Rank
CEO
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
Bert22306   12/6/2011 10:38:12 PM
NO RATINGS
Very interesting. Since supercomputers are all about mega-multicores, it would seem that there is a tradeoff between designing in more energy efficient cores, vs perhaps fewer cores that are better able to manage unpredictable tasks.

markhahn0
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
markhahn0   12/7/2011 3:00:49 AM
NO RATINGS
where did you get that idea? supercomputers are traditionally about _balance_, which tends to run against extreme core counts. in fact, the push for many, lower-powered cores is precisely motivated by power consideration, works _against_ unpredictable workloads.

Bert22306
User Rank
CEO
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
Bert22306   12/7/2011 8:27:24 PM
NO RATINGS
Well, let's see. The supercomputer used by NASA to discover Earth-like planets has 50,000 cores. I'm assuming it helps if unpredictable tasks can be managed more easily, in this sort of architecture. That core count sounds pretty extreme to me, although I suppose "extreme" is a relative term. If extreme core counts are not involved then you'd still expect there to be a tradeoff between fewer, higher performing cores, as opposed to more, lower performing, but also lower power consuming cores. But in general, I'l seeing a lot of arm waving going on here, me included. No one is offering specifics about the difference in the ARM vs x86 architecture. So I'm speculating only based on the popular press reports and common sense.

markhahn0
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
markhahn0   12/7/2011 9:35:58 PM
NO RATINGS
sorry, I thought you meant core-counts-per-chip - that is, that HPC was pushing to more cores per node. sure, large clusters have lots of cores, since they have lots of nodes. it's not like this is optional: ambitious computing has necessitated for decades.

mike655mm
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
mike655mm   12/6/2011 11:07:34 PM
NO RATINGS
I'm siding with Intel on this one. They've been successful for over 40 years and they keep evolving and adapting. 22nm process technology is going to be a big winner with a lot less power and a much smaller chip size (cheaper). ARM will lose most of the power advantage they used to have and as technology continues to march towards 16nm, 10nm, etc, it'll no longer be a factor. It'll be about features, ease-of-use and performance

krisi
User Rank
CEO
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
krisi   12/6/2011 11:16:27 PM
NO RATINGS
I am not sure I agree Mike...yes, the process technology has been always helping Intel, so will 22nm process...but architecturally ARM is superior...is it an open question who will prevail 2-3 years from now, right now Intel is increasing their market share and revenue growth is really impressive! Kris

Steven_Wu
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
Steven_Wu   12/7/2011 12:07:53 AM
NO RATINGS
I don't know it is safe to say architecturally ARM is superior. Is there any fundmental architecture difference between ARM and other RISCs? The ISA doesn't matter. Basically business model counts.

y_sasaki
User Rank
CEO
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
y_sasaki   12/7/2011 12:48:53 AM
NO RATINGS
Because of its PC-based business model, x86 processors are spellbound to binary compatibility. Intel have to design processors to be able to run binary code written for 2 or 3 generations before - not only just "able" but fast and efficiently, because PC users will evaluate new processor performance with older generation of benchmark code. I believe intel can produce highly optimized high-performance processor, perhaps even better than ARM guys, but pressure from their mainstream PC market will not easily allow to do so.

markhahn0
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
markhahn0   12/7/2011 3:12:09 AM
NO RATINGS
in reality, the ISA has shifted with each generation. yes, adding to an ISA is messier than starting from scratch each time, but ARM is not pure and fresh, either. GPUs are probably the winner by this metric, since with, eg, cuda, apps are insulated by intermediate PTX code.

markhahn0
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
markhahn0   12/7/2011 3:05:52 AM
NO RATINGS
you're right: ARM is a fairly conventional ISA, though it's cleaner than x86. there must be some power savings in decode, but the processors have to eventually _do_ almost the same thing. (this argument doesn't hold as well comparing to GPUs, since their programming model restructures the code significantly.)

krisi
User Rank
CEO
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
krisi   12/7/2011 12:25:18 AM
NO RATINGS
Intel has a better technology Steven, always one or two generation ahead. Intel has better marketing, much larger budget than any other processor makers. So why would ARM exists at all if it didn't have a better architecture? Kris

rbarraud0
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
rbarraud0   12/7/2011 1:31:32 AM
NO RATINGS
So to extend your logic, any non-x86 architecture that exists, is superior to x86? ;-)

krisi
User Rank
CEO
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
krisi   12/7/2011 1:44:33 AM
NO RATINGS
Obviously Intel has to maintain x86 backwards compatibility which limits its ability to innovate going forward...so every non-x86 architecture has a chance to be better but that is not guaranteed...in case of ARM I believe that the market has spoken clearly, just check where ARM was 5 or 10 years ago...Kris

the lavender fan
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
the lavender fan   12/7/2011 1:13:08 AM
NO RATINGS
Based on what criteria are you claiming that ARM architecture is superior? Intel and ARM make different tradeoffs when designing their processor cores. Usually Intel is more aggressive with performance, while ARM is more aggressive on power efficiency.

panzerboy
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
panzerboy   12/12/2011 6:43:31 AM
NO RATINGS
I recently looked at some x86-64 code and was shocked at the number of push and pop instructions. Intel still only have 4 general purpose registers. All 16 registers on ARM are general purpose though you'd be silly to use r13-r16 (stack, link, program counter). That means more stuff in registers less pushing and popping. Just one example of how ARM is a more efficient design.

digital_dreamer
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
digital_dreamer   12/7/2011 11:06:12 AM
NO RATINGS
I know the Cortex M3 and M4 MCUs are fabbed at 90nm and they still have excellent power savings. I can only imagine what power efficiency they would have at 22nm, even with leakage becoming a more dominate factor. What are the ARM A9 and coming A15 being fabbed at, anyone? MAJ

bobbytsai
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
bobbytsai   12/7/2011 8:28:47 PM
NO RATINGS
http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4231043/Samsung-samples-dual-core-A15-processor most A9 are in 40/45nm.

Patrick Van Oosterwijck
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
Patrick Van Oosterwijck   12/7/2011 2:43:10 PM
NO RATINGS
Intel will always have the disadvantage of having to translate its vintage x86 CISC instructions into pipeline-able micro-ops. This is something ARM does not have to do, since its RISC instructions are pipeline ready. Think about it, every x86 processor in the world sits there, continuously translating the same instructions, over and over, every second they are running. How inefficient! Someone might not care if they're running one processor in their PC, but someone designing a supercomputer that has thousands of processors in it will surely notice the difference in their energy bill, cooling requirements, etc.

krisi
User Rank
CEO
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
krisi   12/7/2011 2:48:27 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree Patrick, this is a main message regardless of all these details which processors was fabricated at which process nodes and similar noise...Intel could design a processor for supercomputing that is not x86 compatible, why they are not doing that? market too small? Kris

ogdenj
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
ogdenj   12/7/2011 3:44:44 PM
NO RATINGS
iniewski: They did it! "Intel Paragon" supercomputer was built using i860 which is not x86.

krisi
User Rank
CEO
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
krisi   12/7/2011 3:59:47 PM
NO RATINGS
thank you @Ogdenj, that was a while back, what happened to it? Kris

woohoo
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
woohoo   12/7/2011 7:16:42 PM
NO RATINGS
let me tell you whats news.. "ARM supercomputer to be more faster than x86"

luting
User Rank
CEO
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
luting   12/8/2011 8:51:50 PM
NO RATINGS
To be a serious player, i believe ARM needs to deliver its 64-bit core first. Then we will see who will be winner. But it is no doubt there is better chance for ARM to move up to grab market share from Intel than Intel moves down to grab share from ARM. Because Intel is fighting this war by itself, ARM has entire ARMY around it. This Amry almost includes entire semiconductor companies except Intel and even larger software and tools partner. If Intel wins, the only company benefit is Intel. If ARM wins, there is long list of Companies you could name, starting from Apple, Google, Qualcomm, Samsung, etc. Even those tradition PC/Server companies such as HP & Dell could benefit from it to have alternative choice for their product. I could not imagine how Intel could win this war. I think Intel should seriously consider build ARM product as well. if ARM is failed, good news. If ARM is successful, Intel could get its share as well.

TarraTarra!
User Rank
CEO
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
TarraTarra!   12/9/2011 10:53:26 PM
NO RATINGS
They already did. A company called AppliedMicro announced a working 64b ARM CPU designed for cloud computing called X-Gene. Not sure if they are targetting supercomputing but I don' t see why not.

Sanjib.A
User Rank
CEO
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
Sanjib.A   12/9/2011 3:03:31 AM
NO RATINGS
Thanks to all of you for providing many important inputs on this topic. I think, I see majority is voting for ARM and I see very much valid justifications behind the opinion. Other than performance, the next thing comes to my mind is reliability. What is your opinion about ARM vs. Intel?

TarraTarra!
User Rank
CEO
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
TarraTarra!   12/9/2011 10:56:40 PM
NO RATINGS
Reliability is a function of the implementation. So it would depend on the companies designing ARM cores and the RAS features they decide to put in.Intel Itanium e.g has a lot more reliability features compared to the x86 Xeons which again have more reliability features compared to the x86 corei5s used in the desktop parts.

t.alex
User Rank
Rookie
re: Nvidia: ARM supercomputer to be more efficient than x86
t.alex   12/25/2011 11:49:37 PM
NO RATINGS
He should be a marketing guy :)



Most Recent Comments
Flash Poll
EE Life
Frankenstein's Fix, Teardowns, Sideshows, Design Contests, Reader Content & More
Rishabh N. Mahajani, High School Senior and Future Engineer

Future Engineers: Don’t 'Trip Up' on Your College Road Trip
Rishabh N. Mahajani, High School Senior and Future Engineer
7 comments
A future engineer shares his impressions of a recent tour of top schools and offers advice on making the most of the time-honored tradition of the college road trip.

Max Maxfield

Juggling a Cornucopia of Projects
Max Maxfield
20 comments
I feel like I'm juggling a lot of hobby projects at the moment. The problem is that I can't juggle. Actually, that's not strictly true -- I can juggle ten fine china dinner plates, but ...

Larry Desjardin

Engineers Should Study Finance: 5 Reasons Why
Larry Desjardin
41 comments
I'm a big proponent of engineers learning financial basics. Why? Because engineers are making decisions all the time, in multiple ways. Having a good financial understanding guides these ...

Karen Field

July Cartoon Caption Contest: Let's Talk Some Trash
Karen Field
151 comments
Steve Jobs allegedly got his start by dumpster diving with the Computer Club at Homestead High in the early 1970s.

Top Comments of the Week
Like Us on Facebook
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)