Amazon is supposedly working on its next-generation of Arm-based chipsets for its data centres, according to a report by Reuters. The new chips are said to be at least 20% faster than Amazon’s existing Arm processors, although rumours suggest they may not be as powerful as the latest data centre CPUs released by AMD and Intel.
This will be Amazon’s second custom silicon based on Arm technology, which has been praised for its energy efficiency and ability to operate at lower temperatures compared to competing chipsets on the market. Amazon’s first-generation Arm chip, dubbed Graviton, may not have been able to cope with AI applications or anything too demanding, but it had the benefit of being cheap.
According to Reuters, Amazon’s second attempt at custom-built Arm chips will be quite the upgrade. It’s expected to use Arm’s Neoverse N1 technology, which supposedly offers at least 30% compute efficiency gain over previous generation Arm infrastructure CPUs, while it’ll now boast at least 32 cores, compared to Graviton’s 16. That’s in addition to a new feature that will allow individual chips to work in groups to speed up certain tasks, such as image recognition.
Amazon is not the only company to invest in its own silicon, with both Microsoft and Google also boasting teams working on chip designs for their data centres. This could threaten both Intel and AMD, the former of which has a 90% share of the data centre market. Despite this, both Intel and AMD are still leading the way when it comes to performance, with Intel’s Cascade Lake and AMD’s Rome CPUs still expected to outperform Amazon’s Arm-based chips.
Both AMD and Intel would still argue that its chipsets have a place in the data centre market, as they don’t require customers to rewrite their software to run on its products. That’s been seen as a big issue for Arm, one that has seen Microsoft attempt time and time again to launch Arm-based PCs in the consumer space only to fall flat due to a lack of software compatibility. Many firms still believe Arm has its place in the data centre market, however, even if it is just a way to reduce costs.
As usual, Amazon is not commenting on the rumours, and we don’t yet know when the new chips might make their debut.