amazon's new venture: building its own cpus

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the chips, dubbed "graviton," are designed for server applications

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Amazon says it took on the tricky business of chip design to better integrate the software and hardware inside its giant data centers, allowing it to offer new, cheaper services.

That’s not possible with off-the-shelf chips from Intel or AMD, which are designed to satisfy many different customers, says Matt Garman, a vice president involved with Amazon’s project. “We can do some very specific things that make sure the processor runs very efficiently in our environment,” he says. “That leads to lower costs.” Garman says customers with early access to Graviton-powered servers cut their bills for some services almost in half.

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Interesting, but not that surprising. If you can tailor your CPU to your workload, you can really do astonishing things. I once did this with an FPGA hosted CPU by adding custom instructions to make certain certain operations more streamlined. It yielded a nice, nearly 33% boost on tight loops.

Apple has demonstrated this handily with iOS on the Ax series ARM SoCs. The tight integration between iOS, the compiler, and the CPU architecture allow iPhones to do things Android devices can only dream about with fewer resources.

The trick, of course, is that it is extremely expensive to do well - which is why you have to be an Apple, or now Amazon to do it. Everyone gets whatever Intel, Qualcomm, etc. is peddling that year.
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maurvir posted:
Apple ... demonstrated this handily with iOS on the Ax series ARM SoCs. the Macintosh IIfx and its specialized ASICs. Radius's dedicated DSP accelerators for Photoshop were also pretty amazing, offering a ~4x performance increase over the best contemporary 68k CPUs in certain tasks.


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amazon's new venture: building its own cpus