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China start-up bares 64-core ARM-based server chip

Posted: 26 Aug 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:28nm  ARM-based server  ARMv8 

Inside the custom ARMv8 core

In simulations on the SpecCPU 2006 rate benchmark, Mars hit 672 in integer and 585 in floating-point performance for a 64-core chip. However, observers noted its scaling from single-core performance was modest.

The chip is organised into eight-core panels in which four cores share a 4MB cache. Eight external chips provide a total of 128MB L3 cache and 16 DDR3-1600 channels.

Phytium's custom 64bit ARM core has 192 physical registers. A reorder buffer can hold up to 160 instructions, and about 210 instructions can be in-flight in the overall pipeline.

The chip dispatches and retires instructions in-order and executes them out-of-order. It uses an aggressive branch predictor and implements multi-threading.


Phytium designed its own 64bit ARM core code-named Xiaomi.

Mars supports MPI and Open MP interfaces for multi-processing systems. Another processor in the works, called Earth, will be a lower cost, lower power device aimed more at today's large data centre.

One of the biggest drawbacks of Mars is its size, said analysts. Achieving good yields on such a large chip will be difficult, they noted.

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