Supermicro launches Arm-powered servers

New Arm-based Mt. Hamilton servers target a range of use cases, from traditional server workloads to cloud and AI.

mainframe servers in the cloud

Supermicro is the latest OEM to offer Arm-based servers with the launch of its Mt. Hamilton platform. The new servers will be sold under the MegaDC brand name and run the Altra line of Arm-based CPUs from Ampere Computing.

While the servers can be used on-premises, at the edge, or in the cloud, Supermicro is emphasizing a cloud-performance angle. The Mt. Hamilton platform is designed to target cloud-native applications, such as video-on-demand, IaaS, databases, dense VDI, and telco edge, and it addresses specific cloud-native workload objectives, such as performance per watt and very low latency responses.

The Mt. Hamilton platform is modular and supports a variety of storage and PCI-Express configurations. It includes support for up to four double-width GPUs or two dozen 2.5-inch U.2 NVM-Express SSDs. For networking, the motherboards use Nvidia’s ConnectX4 SmartNICs. The systems are available in 1U and 2U single-socket configurations, supporting up to 4TB of memory.

The Mt. Hamilton systems are air-cooled and designed to operate in temperatures ranging from 35 degrees Celsius for the data-center servers to up to 55 degrees Celsius for the edge products.

Ampere, founded by former Intel executive Renee James, first introduced the Altra CPU in 2020. The Altra features 80 Neoverse N1 cores developed by Arm, while the Altra Max features 128 cores. Ampere eschews simultaneous multithreading (SMT) in favor of more cores, stating that in the cloud, cores give more consistent performance than threads.

Supermicro is the latest OEM to embrace Ampere’s CPUs; HP Enterprise, Foxconn, Gigabyte and Wiwynn have licensed Ampere’s processors.

But Ampere’s chips are getting long in the tooth. They only support DDR4 and PCI-Express 4. This puts Ampere behind Intel, AMD, and Nvidia -- all three support DDR5 and PCIe 5, which are much faster than the previous generation.

Ampere is working on a new processor called AmpereOne that will have more cores and replace the Neoverse cores with Ampere’s in-house design, but the release date is unknown.

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