The Arm server ecosystem is well alive and thriving, finally getting into serious motion after several years of false-start attempts. Among the original pioneers in this space was Cavium, which went on to be acquired by Marvell in 2018. Among the company’s server CPU products is the ThunderX line; while the first generation ThunderX left quite a lot to be desired, the ThunderX2 was the first Arm server silicon that we deemed viable and competitive against Intel and AMD products. Since then, the ecosystem has accelerated quite a lot, and only last week we saw how impressive the new Amazon Graviton2 with the N1 chips ended up. Marvell didn’t stop at the ThunderX2, and had big ambitions for its newly acquired CPU division, and today is announcing the new ThunderX3.
The ThunderX3 is a continuation and successor to then-Cavium’s custom microarchitecture found in the TX2, adopting a lot of the key characteristics, most notably the capability of 4-way SMT. Adopting a new microarchitecture with higher IPC capabilities, the new TX3 also ups the clock frequencies, and now hosts up to a whopping 96 CPU cores, allowing the chip to scale up to 384 threads in a single socket.