Cray has picked Cavium\u2019s ThunderX2 processor for its first ARM-based supercomputer, quite a win for the little guy coming just a week after the 800-pound gorilla that is Qualcomm formally introduced its ARM-based server processor, the Centriq.\nThe Cavium ThunderX2 processor is based on 64-bit Armv8-A architecture and will be used in the Cray XC50 supercomputer. Cray customers will have a complete ARM-based supercomputer with all of the company\u2019s software tools, including the Cray Linux Environment, the Cray Programming Environment, and Arm-optimized compilers, libraries, and tools for running today\u2019s supercomputing workloads.\n\n\u201cAdding ARM processors complements our system\u2019s ability to support a variety of host processors, and [it] gives customers a unique, leadership-class supercomputer for compute, simulation, big data analytics, and deep learning,\u201d said Fred Kohout, Cray\u2019s senior vice president of products and chief marketing officer, in a statement.\nCray is working with multiple supercomputing centers on the development of ARM-based supercomputers, including labs in the U.S. Department of Energy and the GW4 alliance, a coalition of four leading, research-intensive universities in the U.K.\nCray XC50 supercomputers with the Cavium ThunderX2 processors will be available in both liquid-cooled cabinets and air-cooled cabinets to address a variety of data center needs. Liquid cooling is growing in popularity but still modest in use. Its primary advantage over air cooling is it can handle much more compute density than air cooling, which is limited in how much it can cool. The drawback to liquid cooling is it carries a price premium over air cooling.\nThe XC50 can mix and match compute blades with Intel Xeon Scalable processors, Intel Xeon Phi processors, and Nvidia Tesla GPU accelerators. The ARM-powered Cray XC50 will be available in the second quarter of 2018.\nCavium processors make their mark\nOverall it\u2019s been a great week for Cavium. Ingrasys, a fully owned subsidiary of the giant Foxconn Technology Group of China, announced the production sampling of their rack-mount server platforms based on Cavium ThunderX2 products.\nThe Osmium platform from Ingrasys is a 2U4N rack-mount, density-optimized server platform, optimized for cloud and high-performance computing (HPC) workloads. It has four compute nodes in a 2U form factor, with each compute node holding two ThunderX2 SoCs in a cache-coherent, dual-socket configuration with up to 1 TB of memory per node and 4 x16 PCIe slots, ideal for GPUs.\nAnother giant Chinese ODM, Gigabyte Technology, also announced production availability of ARM-based server platforms based on ThunderX2. Gigabyte's R181 series is a 1U platform with dual-socket ThunderX2 compute node with best-in-class throughput, memory configuration and capacity. The chassis has multiple PCIe expansion slots and support for up to 24 SSDs.\nIt\u2019s a very good showing for Cavium and not entirely surprising. Comparing Qualcomm and Cavium in ARM to Intel and AMD in x86 is tempting, but not at all fair. AMD allowed its competitive edge to slip and has only recently gotten its mojo back. Cavium has been making custom SoCs for years based on the MIPS architecture. It has migrated what it learned to ARM and was first to market, and giants like Cray and Foxconn recognize that. So, it\u2019s a good thing Qualcomm won\u2019t just mow them over as everyone jumps on board with the big player.