At Hot Chips 33, Arm Neoverse N2 was again in the spotlight. This is the Arm core design we will start to see in the coming quarters. We previously covered the Arm Neoverse N2 and V1 at Arm Tech Day 2021. Much of the Hot Chips 2021 presentation STH readers will have already seen in that more in-depth piece. Instead, we are just going to cover some of the highlights from Hot Chips. Again we are covering this live so please excuse typos here.
Arm Neoverse N2 At Hot Chips 33
Setting the stage, the Arm Neoverse N2 is an update to the N1 cores that we see in newer products such as the Ampere Altra (Ampere will not use N2 for its next-generation.)
N2 is designed to be the company’s general-purpose core whereas the V1 is designed for single-thread performance and the E1 is designed for all-out efficiency. As one can see, this newer chip is designed to be more scalable than previous generations.
Specifically, Arm does not sell CPUs, but Arm makes a number of IP available for other companies to use in their designs. That is why we tend to see Arm discuss its CPUs before Intel and AMD. Arm has a sellable IP product before it is being sold in products back from the fab.
We covered the Marvell Octeon 10 DPUs when they were announced. The Octeon 10 will incorporate the Neoverse N2 cores bridging the gap between the CPUs we see on DPUs and traditional CPUs in terms of performance.
Arm Neoverse N2 has a number of new technologies, but one of the biggest is the implementation of Arm v9 the company’s newest instruction set.
Arm saw an uplift of a +40% performance uplift in instructions per clock (IPC) performance with the new N2 core due to all of the new updates.
There is a bit more power even on the Neoverse N2 on the 5nm TSMC node versus the Neoverse N1 on 7nm TSMC. The area stayed a similar size even on the new process.
Here is a quick look at the front-end performance of the Neoverse N2 pipeline:
Here is a quick look at the mid-core and back-end performance improvement of the Neoverse N2 pipeline:
The net impact was around a 32% increase in SPEC CPU 2017 and around 40% on 2006. If you want to know why the Arm community is so focused on nginx performance, this is a good example. The performance sees an out-sized increase for nginx.
Beyond the new cores, the N2 solution also has the CMN-700 fabric. This allows for more cores and higher bandwidth. That will also be important as technologies such as DDR5, PCIe Gen5, and CXL 2.0 are implemented.
Overall, the Neoverse N2 has a lot more performance.
We are absolutely excited for the Neoverse N2. Indeed, we were a bit bummed that the Intel Mount Evans DPU IPU is using N1, however, it may be a product/ IP timing challenge. Still, the Marvell Octeon 10 DPU is something we are going to scour ebay to see if we can get one since that is a product we are very excited for.