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Oct 10, 2012

ARM Reveals IP with One Terabit System Bandwidth

What ARM recently introduced is not a new CPU architecture per se, but a technology that will allow it to create advanced architectures and processors capable of uncanny things.

ARM named its invention the ARM CoreLink CCN-504 cache coherent network, and claims that the advanced intellectual property (IP) can provide a system with a bandwidth of one terabit per second (1 Tbps). The CoreLink CCN-504 dynamic memory controller is part of an integrated ARM DDR4 interface, (2012-bound ARM Artisan DDR4/3 PHY IP). For one, it offers a high bandwidth to shared off-chip memory, such as DDR3, DDR3L and DDR4 DRAM. Secondly, it makes it possible to create high-performance many-core enterprise systems with up to 16 CPU cores per silicon die. Thirdly, system coherency, as the company calls it, is ensured by the ability of the processors to access the cache memories of the other processors. Thus, the requirements for accessing off-chip memory are reduced, something particularly useful in heterogeneous computers / multi-cluster CPU/GPU systems.

Besides speed, there is a second benefit to the lowered need for off-chip memory access: reduced energy requirements. “As the amount of data used increases exponentially over the next 10-15 years, the CoreLink CCN-504 and DMC-520 will play an important role by providing high-performance system IP solutions for many-core applications,” said Tom Cronk, deputy general manager, processor division, ARM. “This ensures quality of service and coherent operation across the system, and enables SoC designers to efficiently prioritize and handle wide data flows with optimum latency.” LSI, a maker of storage controllers (SandForce for example), and Calxeda, a supplier of ARM-based data center SoCs, have already licensed the CoreLink CCN-504.

That means they can construct new systems based on either the existing Cortex-A15 processor or the future ARMv8 architecture, which has the extra advantage of 64-bit support. In layman terms, ARM has patented a technology that will further drive home the promise that its processors can work well in enterprise and business applications, not just mobile devices.

ARM logo
Image credits to ARM


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