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Ampere Preps 7nm 128-Core Server CPU to Take on AMD and Intel

Ampere Altra (Image credit: Ampere)

Today, Ampere announced plans to expand its Altra family of server processors with the Altra Max chip, which arriving by the end of the year with a whopping 128 CPU cores.

Similar to the Amazon Graviton2, the Ampere Altra is based on Arm's Neoverse N1 (codename Ares) microarchitecture. TSMC carves the Altra for Ampere with its 7nm FinFET manufacturing process. The Altra family currently features 11 different models, however, the list and specifications are subject to change. 

Each core inside the Ampere Altra corresponds to a single thread and comes with its own cache. We're looking at 65KB of L1I cache, 64KB of L1D cache and 1MB of L2 cache per core. 

As for the Altra line's other attributes, the 7nm processors each support up to eight channels of DDR4-3200 ECC memory and a maximum capacity up to 4TB . For expansion, the Altra provides 128 lanes of high-speed PCIe 4.0 lanes per socket, but also support up to 192 PCIe 4.0 lanes in a 2P setup.

Ampere Altra Specifications

ModelCoresFrequency (GHz)TDP (W)
Q32-17321.745 - 58

Ampere has one of the simplest CPU nomenclatures known to mankind. The Q, which stands for Quicksilver, is followed by the chip's number of cores and then the clock speed

The Q80-33 is the current flagship of the Altra family. The processor delivers 80 cores up to 3.3 GHz within a 250W package. 

The Q80-33 will eventually pass the torch to the Altra Max, which will flaunt up to 128 cores. Ampere has confirmed that the Altra Max (codename Mystique) will be socket-compatible with current Altra offerings. We suspect that the the Altra Max will have an M prefix in its model names.

Ampere will sample the Altra Max in the fourth quarter of this year, and the processor should be available next year. 

The company is also firm on its commitment to roll out the 2nd Generation Altra processors (codename Siryn) in 2022. If the nomenclature remains the same, the Siryn should sport the S prefix. The next-generation processors will leverage TSMC's 5nm process node.

Ampere expects to sample Siryn in the latter part of 2021 with a scheduled launch in 2022.