Huawei Motherboard For 7nm Kunpeng 920 ARMv8 Processors Launched For Desktop PC And Server Market

Huawei unveiled a powerful motherboard for the desktop PC market at the Full Connect Conference. The high-end Huawei motherboard supports the Kunpeng 920 ARMv8 quad/octa-core CPUs. Additionally, the desktop-grade motherboard support PCIe 4.0 as well as PCIe 3.0. It will also support up to 64 GB of quad-channel DDR4-2400 RAM. If that’s not enough, Huawei is also planning to launch a new class of high-end server-grade CPUs. The powerful processors could pack up to 64 cores, and work with up to 1 TB DDR4-3200 RAM.

Owing to the increasing tension between Chinese manufacturers and US technology companies due to the ongoing trade war, Huawei has been quite apprehensive. The company has been the center of the storm, and hence, the Chinese tech giant has steadily increased efforts to achieve technological independence, and indigenously develop and manufacture electronic components. After successfully creating powerful SoC for smartphones, and even developing an entire operating system for them, Huawei has now set its sights on the desktop PC and server market.

Huawei Kunpeng Desktop Board Specifications And Features:

It appears Huawei’s HiSilicon CPU division is already working on quad/octa-core Kunpeng desktop processors based on the ARM v8 architecture. The Kunpeng Desktop Board D920S10 will reportedly support the prevalent PCIe 3.0 standard. However, Huawei also plans to release advanced server models with PCIe 4.0 support in the near future.

The current generation of Huawei Kunpeng desktop-grade motherboard sports six SATA 3.0 hard drive interfaces, and two M.2 SSD slots. The motherboard can accommodate up to 64GB of RAM in quad-channel DDR-2400 setups. The board supports ECC, too. There are several connectivity and expansion options including a GbE NIC, 4x USB-A 3.0 and 4x USB-A 2.0 ports. There is additional support for networking cards up to 25 GbE.

Huawei’s website also indicates that it will provide reference guides for chassis, cooling, and power supplies. This simply means the design could be opened up to OEMs and ODMs. The Huawei Kunpeng desktop-grade motherboard will support the 7 nm Kunpeng 920 desktop CPUs. These are reportedly optimized for office applications and Linux-based OS. In other words, these CPUs appear to be rather humble in processing power and may not directly compete with Intel’s and AMD’s solutions.

That being said, the server-grade motherboards that Huawei plans to launch will reportedly be able to accommodate CPUs packing up to 64 cores running at 2.6 GHz. The Huawei server-grade motherboards will support up to 1 TB of quad-channel DDR-3200 RAM, and provide 40 PCIe 4.0 lanes. The Huawei processors come with 20 billion transistors spread over three dies in a multi-chip module. This directly implies significant scalability.

Huawei’s S920X00 server motherboard will reportedly support for two Kunpeng 920 processors, 16 storage devices in SATA, SAS, or NVMe flavors, up to 32 memory DIMMs spread across eight channels, and PCIe expansion.

The Huawei solution also supports the CCIX protocol. PC enthusiasts will quickly realize that Huawei’s solutions appear to rival AMD’s EPYC server CPUs. Moreover, Huawei is planning to lower the TDP of the CPUs, enabling higher performance with lower heat output. According to reports, Huawei’s server-grade CPUs could have a TDP of just 180 Watts.

Huawei Planning To Deploy Motherboards and CPUs On Its Own Operating System?

The ARM-based Huawei CPUs currently struggle with X86 compatibility. Owing to the lack of mainstream software ecosystem support, ARM-based CPUs are still not commonplace in the desktop market. However, things are changing quickly. Amazon just announced its new Graviton2 processors, with new EC2 instances. Such support is critical for increasing the usage of ARM-based processors.

Microsoft has recently expressed intent to provide support for 64-bit Windows apps on ARM. In other words, Windows-On-ARM is increasingly a workable solution and platform. Moreover, Huawei has been developing its own operating system in the background since 2012. The company’s proprietary OS might not compete with Windows 10, but it could work very well with Huawei’s own motherboards and CPUs.

Alap Naik Desai
A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.

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