Broadcom Tomahawk 5 at OCP Summit 2022

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Broadcom Tomahawk 5 OCP Summit 2022 2
Broadcom Tomahawk 5 OCP Summit 2022 2

At OCP Summit 2022, Broadcom showed off its new Tomahawk 5 switch chip, along with liquid cooling for switches and its CPO/ NPO updates. We already covered the Awesome Broadcom Co-Packaged Optics and Silicon Photonics OCP Summit 2022, but we wanted to show the Tomahawk 5 as well.

Broadcom Tomahawk 5 at OCP Summit 2022

Here is the first demo at OCP Summit 2022, where we saw the new chips. One was running on the show floor, using liquid cooling. These chips use a lot of power, so using a liquid loop instead of a large heatsink/ fan helped make the trade show floor demo possible.

Broadcom Tomahawk 5 OCP Summit 2022 1
Broadcom Tomahawk 5 OCP Summit 2022 1

One can see that this is on a test fixture board. This is not a switch we would expect most of our readers to buy. Instead, it seems to be a validation platform. While the liquid cooling on a switch chip may seem crazy to some readers, here is the heatsink unit for the Facebook (now Meta) Edgecore Minipack with the older Tomahawk 3 generation:

Edgecore Facebook Minipack Tomahawk 3 Cooling
Edgecore Facebook Minipack Tomahawk 3 Cooling

Just cooling a modern switch takes an enormous amount of power. This is what Facebook presented as the cooling power for the Minipack switch. One can see why liquid-cooled switches are not only a crazy show floor demo idea.

Edgecore Facebook Minipack Power Consumption
Edgecore Facebook Minipack Power Consumption

If you want to see the Tomahawk 5 chip itself, here is one that is a static unit with the cooler off. The package on these is relatively enormous when comparing it to modern CPUs, even the next-generation AMD EPYC Genoa. The reason for this is that switch chips are designed for lots of I/O (since that is the primary switching function), and therefore the package needs additional space for pins to service that I/O.

Broadcom Tomahawk 5 OCP Summit 2022 2
Broadcom Tomahawk 5 OCP Summit 2022 2

This, unfortunately, was not a co-packaged optics version. We saw theĀ Awesome Broadcom Co-Packaged Optics and Silicon Photonics OCP Summit 2022, and there is a CPO version of this that Broadcom announced.

Final Words

Hopefully, we start seeing the Tomahawk 5 in the switches we review in the next few years. Usually, it takes some time between when we see these show floor demos and when the switches are out. Still, we were fairly early taking a look inside an Innovium Teralynx 7-based 32x 400GbE switch before the Marvell acquisition. Hopefully, we will get to take a look at a Tomahawk 5 51.2T switch in the future.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with Mark! Forget liquid cooling, these things require their own micro grid with generator! I suppose the throughput evens out, but man… Compressing 42U into 1U. Woof

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