back to article Qualcomm to keep server CPUs but avoids head-on Intel battle

Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon has said the company has no plans to dispose of its Arm-powered server CPU unit. Speaking to Reuters, Amon rubbished whispers that Qualcomm wants out of the server CPU business. But he also explained that the company doesn’t really want in, either, because Qualcomm won’t go head-to-head with …



    Intel have done very well out of the networking / firewall / NVF

    Qualcomm might have a chance if they show how they can do 40 or 100 Gbps accelerated connections better than others which would involve a fair bit of integrations into microwave and caching vendors...


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: networking

      Intel have done well out of networking? You sure?

      Intel have won the general purpose CPU race (as indicated in the article) and Linux on x86 is used across most network vendors for the management processor in enterprise/service provider kit, but it's generally low-power CPU's. The grunt work of moving packets is handled by Broadcom in most cases, although there are a few vendors still making custom silicon for packet handling.

      If Qualcomm doubt they can compete in the general purpose server market, I'm not sure they'll do any better in the general purpose network management processor market.

      On the NIC side, Intel may have done well in terms of volume, but their drivers leave a lot to be desired as soon as you start to push them and there are certainly more capable vendors out there. i.e. our server platforms use Intel NIC's by default but we swap them out for Chelsio cards on any servers that get punished because the cost of upgrading to Chelsio is easier to explain than the "I don't know why the server crashed" conversations if someone pushes the network stack hard.

      Or maybe you are referring to Intels disastrous Puma SoC's that are responsible for most of the cable worlds poor Internet performance? OK...slight exaggeration, but the lucky cable customers with "high speed Internet" using these SoC's may disagree.

  2. Steve Todd

    ARM not competive with a Xeon?

    Depends on which chip you look at. A Cavium ThunderX2 for example provides 80-90% of the performance of a high end Xeon for 1/4 of the price. In some use cases it’s actually faster. THATS what’s causing Intel to panic.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ARM not competive with a Xeon?

      Beat me to it. Qualcomm's not worried about competing with Intel - they know that their current generation platform gets its ass kicked up and down the street by Cavium's ThunderX2 and if someone is going to take the ARM risk/leap, why not go with the better choice? That's their problem.

  3. Dan100

    Not sure what's changed; they'll still be building and selling large high-throughput CPUs. Obviously they weren't going to compete for x86 workloads. They were and are competing for workloads which are cost-effective to move to Arm, same as before, same as Cavium.

  4. Phil Endecott Silver badge

    “x86 compatibility”

    > “It’s very clear to us that the ARM opportunity is focused on a

    > few players where you don’t have the software x86 barrier to entry,”

    Few players? Apart from Windows, who needs this “x86 compatibility” that they’re talking about?

    Multiple Linux distributions run absolutely fine on ARM (and have done for years), including everything you need for a web stack - databases, interpetted and compiled languages, server applications etc. etc. I’m personally using a mix of ARM (Scaleway) and x86 (AWS) servers, and there is no difference in functionality that can be attributed to the processor.

    From where I’m looking, the “few players” are definitely those who are tied to Windows or to proprietary compiled-for-x86-only software. And that’s *none* of the people I know running online businesses.

    Am I seeing a skewed version of reality, or have these Qualcom people got the wrong idea?

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