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 Post subject: ARM as server
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 1:29 am 
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Dell is evaluating to use ARM as a server CPU:
http://www.eetimes.com/rss/showArticle. ... es_newsRSS

Would be nice to see a "green" server from Genesi too. Does Freescale has an ARM CPU for this field of use?

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 Post subject: Re: ARM as server
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 10:23 pm 
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czp wrote:
Dell is evaluating to use ARM as a server CPU:
http://www.eetimes.com/rss/showArticle. ... es_newsRSS

Would be nice to see a "green" server from Genesi too. Does Freescale has an ARM CPU for this field of use?


Not yet. The iMX53 will be the first useful one (memory requirement is more server-like) and then whatever comes out with a Cortex-A9 will be definitely a possibility. Thankfully Freescale make several versions of each chip with 3D, no 3D, OpenVG etc. so there is one which is better for headless servers (blades or so) and others which are better for giving out a display (although all of them can handle a display, you wouldn't want 3D).

If you consider ARM processors are getting cores like the new PowerVR ones, they will also have full OpenCL compatibility too so you'll be able to use the dual or quad core Cortex-A9 NEON with a GPU assist through a standard multiprocessor compute library. I don't know if anyone's combined the two yet though and shipped silicon.. OMAP4 is a bit late.

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 Post subject: Re: ARM as server
PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 11:06 am 
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Neko wrote:
If you consider ARM processors are getting cores like the new PowerVR ones, they will also have full OpenCL compatibility too so you'll be able to use the dual or quad core Cortex-A9 NEON with a GPU assist through a standard multiprocessor compute library. I don't know if anyone's combined the two yet though and shipped silicon.. OMAP4 is a bit late.

i have the gut feeling that until apple push in that direction we won't see openCL on a (mobile) ARM platform. of course that's just my feeling.


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 Post subject: Re: ARM as server
PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 5:04 pm 
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blu wrote:
i have the gut feeling that until apple push in that direction we won't see openCL on a (mobile) ARM platform. of course that's just my feeling.


It's already in the OMAP4, and there is an SDK from Imagination to support all PowerVR SGX GPUs - including the ones in the OMAP4, but I can't see anybody implementing it yet.

It doesn't need Apple at all, however when you say "mobile" ARM platform you are restricting your market; a cell phone doesn't need to do double precision floating point calculations like bioscience servers and the applications besides that - video decoding and encoding or so - are all handled inside dedicated chips on these devices to meet certain mobile platform requirements.

OpenCL simply isn't useful in a phone, but these processors are capable of running much more than a 3" screen off a battery.

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 Post subject: Re: ARM as server
PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 7:23 pm 
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Neko wrote:
It's already in the OMAP4, and there is an SDK from Imagination to support all PowerVR SGX GPUs - including the ones in the OMAP4, but I can't see anybody implementing it yet.

oh, i'm not doubting the capabilities of the modern mobile GPU, i'm just saying that it takes at least one major player's push for an otherwise low-hanging tech fruit to drop in the basket. (for reference see OpenCL on the desktop). i used apple for historical reasons.

Quote:
It doesn't need Apple at all, however when you say "mobile" ARM platform you are restricting your market; a cell phone doesn't need to do double precision floating point calculations like bioscience servers and the applications besides that - video decoding and encoding or so - are all handled inside dedicated chips on these devices to meet certain mobile platform requirements.

while what you say about the stratification of platforms is true, openCL's bottom cut is at single precision fp. both SGX series 5, and qualcommm's z4xx should be able to make the bottom cut, it's their respective vendors' interest in providing sdk's that i'm questioning. kudos to imgtec for theirs (i was not aware it was already available), but let's see how the story goes. need i bring up the laughable software support some SGX implementations by certain mammoth chip vendor got for at least a whole generation of products? </veiled gma500 reference>

Quote:
OpenCL simply isn't useful in a phone, but these processors are capable of running much more than a 3" screen off a battery.

i tend to differ there - GPGPU on a handheld could be a game changer. i, personally, would rather have a handheld that can give me bursts of computational power on those rare occasions when i may need that on the go, than an en vogue handset with a criminally underutilized GPU. i think the industry will eventually come to that opinion too - there's only so much fancy you can use to draw a GUI on a 3" screen - beyond that lies stagnation.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 6:56 am 
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I don't really understand, how all these graphics related buzz words turned up here :-) The article talks about using ARM as web and file server. I already use my Sheeva Plug with ARM as local file server, and there crypto accel, TCP offload, gigabit ethernet and SATA support are a lot more important, than graphics frameworks...

According to my benchmarks, my Sheva Plug serves files faster than my Atom based netbook, and in some networking benchmarks it was even faster, than my Intel Xeon based entry level server. Add a few more ARM cores and double the Ghz (a bit simplified, that's what is ARM doing), and it will outperform entry level Xeon in most cases, while the power consumption and price will be still a fraction of it.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 12:13 pm 
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..yet you won't be able to run neither virtualization
hypervisors nor Windows Server.

Which is what most servers sold today are used for.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 12:58 pm 
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There was was another article referenced from the one I linked, which says:

http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtm ... =224701462
Code:
At least one partner is working on a port of a server version Microsoft Windows to ARM, and has access to some of the low level code needed for that job. "That is a large undertaking," said Milner.

Other partners are working on ports to ARM of x86 virtualization software also strategic for the server market.


So both of your concerns are addressed. But neither of these are necessary to run a web/mail/file server. As far as I can see, only a handful of machines use these from the many machines in our server rooms. (it's another question, that most of our own machines run some kind of visualization) Most of them run Linux (or BSD) with LAMP, and as billing is also based on power consumption, there is a tendency for environmentally more friendly machines. An ARM server fits very well into this picture.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 5:01 pm 
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> it was even faster, than my Intel Xeon
> based entry level server
...


What Storage was used, SSD / HDD ?
Network connection?
I guess these limit the speed for file transfer more than the CPU.

Sheevaplug has Gigabit Ethernet, your Atom Netbook most likely not?
(and Netbook SSD could be slow)


But of course you're right, for small NAS Systems, Routers, Mail Servers etc. ARM is perfect.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 12:25 am 
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The Atom could not fill the wire even from /dev/zero, where HDD speed does not count. Even the EFIKA MX can do it, where Ethernet is over USB. Yes, that's right, the EFIKA MX using its USB ports could be a better NAS, than an Atom using its SATA or USB HDDs :-)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 9:39 am 
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> Even the EFIKA MX can do it,
> where Ethernet is over USB.

That is nice 8)



> The Atom could not fill the wire even from /dev/zero

That is really bad! >:->

But I could imagine that the Atom netbook may have a bad Network Controller. I can remember that I have seen benchmarks with Atom based NAS that had something in the range of 30 to 60 MiByte/s throughput with Gigabit LAN so it's not that bad usually.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 1:02 pm 
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Not exactly server, but as Microsoft was brought up in this topic, here is some news, that MS is pushing hard also on the client side: http://www.osnews.com/story/23388/Micro ... pact_7_CTP

Is there any chance to get it supported by EFIKA MX / smartbook? I'm not a MS fan boy, still I admit on the client side it could bring ARM to a broader audience...

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