Ampere’s Altra Max CPUs are a complete SoC solution for Cloud Native workloads. The CPU we are looking at today is the Ampere Altra Max Q8030.
der8auer EN tested the Q8030 featuring 80 Neoverse-N1 cores based on the Arm v8 architecture running at a clock speed of 3.0 GHz. A faster variant, namely the Q8033 is also available, however, getting your hands on one is a different story. A roundup of the Q8030 is as follows:
- TDP of 210W
- 128 PCIe Gen 4.0 Lanes
- 8-channel DDR4-3200 Memory
This ARM based CPU was tested on the LGA 4926 socket which is a whole lot bigger than the platform that the current Threadrippers use. The motherboard has 16 DIMM slots giving support for a theoretical 4TB of RAM.
The heatsinks used have huge aluminium blocks featuring multiple Copper heatpipes. der8auer EN said that you may face some compatibility problems if an Intel or AMD heatsink/cooling solution is used.
Performance wise, Geekbench 5 running on the Linux OS was used. The idle temperatures and power consumption were decent as the Q8030 consumes just 30-40W of power. However, on loading up the OS the power usage increases to ~100W and the temperature upto 50*C.
A single threaded Geekbench 5 test was conducted where the CPU consumed a shockingly low 100-110W of power while keeping the temparatures as low as 50*C. This wasn’t enough, so to put the CPU through its paces der8auer EN ran a multi core test. The CPU, on using all 80 cores consumes 310W of power while the temperature remains at a cool 70*C.
The performance figures speak for themselves, 882 points in single core and 44,425 points in the multi core is not something to take lightly. This literally beats the world record holding chip, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X having 34735 points in the same test. The CPU itself draws around ~180W of power making it far more efficient than the AMD king.
So, “Why are not these CPUs used in every system?”. The main reason is ‘ARM’. ARM stands for Advanced RISC (reduced instruction set computer) Machine. The name speaks for itself, ARM will not natively support many of the functions required by OS such as Windows being a reduced-ISA.
CISC (complex instruction set computer), on the other hand is utilized by Intel and AMD (x86). Although intriguing, the Q8030 is not meant for normal workloads such as gaming. To put it simply, many softwares do not have support for this platform.