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Amazon’s 5nm Graviton3 has 55bn transistors

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Amazon has launched its third generation ARM chip with built in security for data centre applications.

The 64 core Graviton3 has seven separate chiplet die in a single package with a total of 55bn transistors and runs at 2.6GHz in a 5nm TSMC process. Rather than the latest ARMv9 architecture the chip uses ARMv8.5 in the Neoverse N2 core with a total thermal profile of 100W, down slightly from the 110W of the Graviton2 despite the higher performance.

There are two PCI-Express 5.0 controller chiplets and four DDR5 memory controllers, making this the first cloud chip to support DDR5 memory, says Jeff Barr, chief evangelist at Amazon Web Servics (AWS).

The chip provides up to 25 percent more compute performance and up to twice as much floating point and cryptographic performance compared to the Graviton2 he says. On the machine learning side, Graviton3 includes support for bfloat16 data that will be able to deliver up to three times the performance.

Graviton3 processors also include a new pointer authentication feature that is designed to improve security. Before return addresses are pushed on to the stack, they are first signed with a secret key and additional context information, including the current value of the stack pointer. When the signed addresses are popped off the stack, they are validated before being used. An exception is raised if the address is not valid, thereby blocking attacks that work by overwriting the stack contents with the address of harmful code.

“We are working with operating system and compiler developers to add additional support for this feature,” said Barr.

The chip will be used for C7g instances will be available in multiple sizes, including bare metal. “In addition to drawing less power, this memory delivers 50 percent higher bandwidth than the DDR4 memory used in the current generation of EC2 instances,” he said.

On the network side, C7g instances will offer up to 30 Gbit/s of network bandwidth and Elastic Fabric Adapter (EFA) support.

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