We only recently reported on the story that Amazon are designing a custom server SoC based on Arm’s Neoverse N1 CPU platforms, only for Amazon to now officially announce the new Graviton2 processor as well as AWS instances based on the new hardware.


AWS Re:Invent Event Twitter

The new Graviton2 SoC is a custom design by Amazon’s own in-house silicon design teams and is a successor to the first-generation Graviton chip. The new chip quadruples the core count from 16 cores to 64 cores and employs Arm’s newest Neoverse N1 cores. Amazon is using the highest performance configuration available, with 1MB L2 caches per core, with all 64 cores connected by a mesh fabric supporting 2TB/s aggregate bandwidth as well as integrating 32MB of L3 cache.  

Amazon claims the new Graviton2 chip is can deliver up to 7x higher performance than the first generation based A1 instances in total across all cores, up to 2x the performance per core, and delivers memory access speed of up to 5x compared to its predecessor. The chip comes in at a massive 30B transistors on a 7nm manufacturing node - if Amazon is using similar high density libraries to mobile chips (they have no reason to use HPC libraries), then I estimate the chip to fall around 300-350mm² if I was forced to put out a figure.

The memory subsystem of the new chip is supported by 8 DDR4-3200 channels with support for hardware AES256 memory encryption. Peripherals of the system are supported by 64 PCIe4 lanes.

Powered by the new generation processor, Amazon also detailed its new 6th generation instances M6g, R6g and C6g, offering various configuration up to the full 64 cores of the chip and up to 512GB of RAM for the memory optimised instance variants. 25Gbps “enhanced networking” connectivity, as well as 18Gbps bandwidth to EBS (Elastic Block Storage).

Amazon is also making some very impressive benchmark comparisons against its fifth-generation instances, supporting Intel Xeon Platinum 8175 processor of up to 2.5GHz:

  • All of these performance enhancements come together to give these new instances a significant performance benefit over the 5th generation (M5, C5, R5) of EC2 instances. Our initial benchmarks show the following per-vCPU performance improvements over the M5 instances:
  • SPECjvm® 2008: +43% (estimated)
  • SPEC CPU® 2017 integer: +44% (estimated)
  • SPEC CPU 2017 floating point: +24% (estimated)
  • HTTPS load balancing with Nginx: +24%
  • Memcached: +43% performance, at lower latency
  • X.264 video encoding: +26%
  • EDA simulation with Cadence Xcellium: +54%

Amazon is making M6g instances with the new Graviton2 processor available for CPU for non-production workloads, with expected wider rollout in 2020.

The announcement is a big win for Amazon and especially for Arm’s endeavours in the server space as they try to surpass the value that the x86 incumbents are able to offer. Amazon describes that the new 6g instances are able to offer 40% higher performance/$ than the existing x86 5th generation platforms, which represents some drastic cost savings for the company and its customers.

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  • Raqia - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    It looks like they're running the multi-threaded benchmark across all vCPUs then dividing by the number of vCPUs. So it's a renormalized multicore figure:

    https://zdnet1.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/2019/11/30/3d9...

    from:

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/aws-graviton2-what-i...
    Reply
  • ksec - Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - link

    2x Performance Per Core over A1. I think that is finally reaching the Desktop / Server Class CPU performance, possibly 70% of Skylake.

    This is going to KickStart the ARM Server usage. Would love to see some benchmarks on those.
    Reply
  • webdoctors - Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - link

    There's no kickstarting ARM server usage. Amazon is MASSIVE. Basically if they move their hosted services to their own internal ARM servers, ARM server usage could go from 0 to 50% overnight. Its like the Costco analogy. Whatever Amazon uses internally for their storage, networking, CPU, would become one of the largest in the world overnight.

    I heard their internal network chip is like 3rd biggest in the world in volume after the big guys because they use so much networking hardware internally. Even without external customers they've got the volume to skew the numbers.
    Reply
  • R0H1T - Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - link

    >ARM server usage could go from 0 to 50% overnight

    You're clearly exaggerating. Pretty sure Google+FB have a bigger share of the market driving server sales in the Enterprise arena, they aren't 50% combined so AWS can't possibly be more than 50% on their own. Heck YouTube alone might be consuming more storage+chips (server) than AWS.
    Reply
  • ksec - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    Well it wont be 50%, but i know it is big. I missed the announcement I thought this is going to be like their A1 instances, turns out they intend to have all of the SaaS offer, ( DB, SMS, Mail, DNS Whatever it is ) to be running on ARM.

    But HyperScaler together ( That is Alibaba, Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc ) together owns 50%+ of the market shipment, and AWS were estimated at 50% of Hyperscaler, so that is likely 20 - 25% of Intel DC revenue vanishing.
    Reply
  • ksec - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    Also add they have ( I dont know where it was posted ) also gave out the single core performance to be 30% faster then a Skylake 3.1Ghz thread.

    That is very impressive.
    Reply
  • npz - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    X.264 video encoding: +26%
    improvement over the previous still leaves it in pretty sorry state compared to current Intel/AMD offerings
    Reply
  • npz - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    x.265 likely has less improvement given its reliance on AVX. And I'd assume the same for VP9 encoding.

    If AWS were truly boasting about performance they'd be boasting about absolute performance rather than performance to price ratio compared to their x86 instances. They could after all, simply discard all their x86 instances and gain more profit .. IF the absolute performance were already to replace them. Yet, they aren't doing that.
    Reply
  • Operandi - Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - link

    30B transistors? Ins't the Xeon chip they are comparing it to like half that?

    If thats the case that doesn't look all that impressive at all.
    Reply
  • blu42 - Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - link

    Being stuck in 14nm land is farm more impressive, I agree. Reply

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