ARM signs 64-bit deal with Cavium

August 03, 2012 // By Peter Clarke
Fabless networking chip firm Cavium Inc., (San Jose, CA) has announced that it is planning to deliver a family of multicore system-chips based on full custom cores designed to implement the 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set architecture from ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England), The chips will be aimed at "cloud" and data center opportunities, the company said.

The so-called Project Thunder processors will be offered alongside Octeon and Nitrox processor families. Octeon processors are based on core licenses from MIPS Technologies Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.). Cavium said it has chosen to use MIPS or ARM architectures based upon the target end market, industry trends, installed software base, ecosystem and customer demand.

Project Thunder will provide a scalable family of 64-bit ARMv8 processors incorporated into an SoC architecture that includes workload accelerators and industry standard I/O ports. The company did not indicate how many cores it is expects family members to include or how soon they would be available in the market. Cavium did say it would announce details at a later date.

Cavium is aiming to provide a 10 times improvement in the price, performance and power over rivals' alternatives for the target applications.

The ARMv8 architecture from processor IP licensor ARM is the first to include 64-bit execution.

ARM has tipped two ARMv8 cores that are being designed for implementation in 20-nm silicon and expected to come to market in 2014. These are codenamed Atlas and Apollo (see ARM tips gods and heroes roadmap).

"Cavium is a leading multicore processor vendor and has delivered highly differentiated SoCs including a range of ARM processor-based products for many years," said Warren East, CEO of ARM, in a statement.

In the same statement Syed Ali, CEO of Cavium, said: "The adoption of the ARMv8 architecture combined with ARM's extensive software ecosystem will enable us to extend the reach of our innovative, high performance multicore SoCs to new customers and applications."