Samsung eyes a dive into Lucrative server chip market

Samsung logoThe list of server chipmakers developing solutions based on ARM Holdings plc's proprietary reduced instruction set computer (RISC) architecture is growing. After announcements last year from the startup Calxeda -- an ARM Holdings subsidiary that is targeting low-power niche servers -- AMD rocked the market with last week's announcement that it would be making ARM-based Opterons, utilizing ARM's new 64-bit Cortex-A50 intellectual property core.

I. Samsung Next to the ARM Server Party?

Now analyst rumblings suggest that Samsung may be preparing a new line of 64-bit ARM server chips to be deployed in 2014.

The rumors come after Samsung licensed ARM's new Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57 intellectual property cores. The decision to license the Cortex-A57 was particularly interesting, given that ARM Holdings indicated it was a higher-performance core aimed largely at the server market.

Currently, Samsung produces a line of smartphone and tablet processors under the brand name Exynos. These ARM-based chips are produced at Samsung's in-house fabs and almost entirely go into Samsung's own smartphone and tablet designs. But Samsung is diversifying away from just tablets/smartphones.

It's working on potential Windows RT devices and recently unveiled a $249 USD Exynos 5 Dual (5250) based "ChromeBook". The new ChromeBook is a joint effort with Google and runs Google's new "Aura" user interface.

II. Recent Hires Bring Server Savvy to Samsung

Simple financial figures would suggest ample incentive for Samsung to expand its efforts into server chips. While chipmaking tends to be a relatively low margin business, by nature, server chips sports some of the biggest profit returns in the industry, albeit being difficult to design.

More concrete clues to Samsung's potential aspirations come from the company's recruitment of Pat Patla to its growing team of chip design engineers at a new expansion of its Texas faculties. Mr. Patla was formerly the general manager and vice president of server processors at AMD.

According to Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64, Samsung's approach may target lower cost points than AMD's own ARM server offerings, but be more minimalist in features. Specifically, he says that while Calxeda and AMD are baking networking and storage interfacing features onto their system-on-a-chips, Samsung might opt for a more basic multi-core server system-on-a-chip, leaving the other features to dedicated pieces of the chipset.

Overall ARM appears very well positioned for the new wave in the server market. The overall market trend is towards ubiquitous virtualization. Virtualization is inherently well suited for processors with many small cores, as each core can then handle one or two virtual machines. Thus a multicore ARM chip enjoys certain inherent advantages over x86 chips based on more monolithic core designs, which in turn necessitate more complex load balance schemes.

Samsung already enjoys close relationships with top server makers Dell and HP, as it sells them DRAM and storage products. Dell is currently testing 32-bit ARM servers, which use special chips from Marvell, while HP is developing 32-bit servers with Calxeda.

Facebook is among the largest computing clients to have expressed interest in deploying an ARM server farm.

Source: DailyTech

Tags: ARM, CPUs, Samsung, servers

Add comment

Your name:
Sign in with:
Your comment:

Enter code:

E-mail (not required)
E-mail will not be disclosed to the third party

Last news

Galaxy Note10 really is built around a 6.7-inch display
You may still be able to download your content
Facebook, Messenger and Instagram are all going away
Minimize apps to a floating, always-on-top bubble
Japan Display has been providing LCDs for the iPhone XR, the only LCD model in Apple’s 2018 line-up
The 2001 operating system has reached its lowest share level
The entire TSMC 5nm design infrastructure is available now from TSMC
The smartphone uses a Snapdragon 660 processor running Android 9 Pie
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) Review
The evolution of the successful smartphone, now with a waterproof body and USB Type-C
February 7, 2017 / 2
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S - a tablet with the Windows-keyboard
The first Windows-tablet with the 12-inch display Super AMOLED
June 7, 2016 /
Keyboards for iOS
Ten iOS keyboards review
July 18, 2015 /
Samsung E1200 Mobile Phone Review
A cheap phone with a good screen
March 8, 2015 / 4
Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card review
Good sound for those who are not satisfied with the onboard solution
September 25, 2014 / 2
Samsung Galaxy Gear: Smartwatch at High Price
The first smartwatch from Samsung - almost a smartphone with a small body
December 19, 2013 /

News Archive



Do you use microSD card with your phone?
or leave your own version in comments (15)