Broadcom Announces Its First ARMv8-A 64-Bit Server Microprocessors

Broadcom Readies Chips for Next-Gen Networking and Communications Applications

by Anton Shilov
10/17/2013 | 11:30 PM

Broadcom Corp., a leading developer of semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications, this week said it is developing a new CPU core based on ARMv8-A architecture with server-class performance for NFV [network function virtualization], with virtualized accelerators for networking, communications, big data, storage and security applications. The new chips will be made using 16nm FinFET tech and will run at 3GHz.


"By offering the industry's highest performance ARM-based multi-core processor architecture, Broadcom is expanding its technical leadership in multiple generations of multi-core processing. Our innovations in the CPU core and comprehensive virtualization, along with our adoption of 16nm FinFET technology, will further separate us from our competitors," said Ron Jankov, senior vice president and general manager of processor and wireless infrastructure at Broadcom.

Not a lot of details are currently known about Broadcom’s future server processor. What is known is that it will be a quad-issue, quad-threaded 64-bit ARMv8-A core with superscalar out-of-order execution that will be capable to run at 3GHz frequency. The chips will also feature virtualized accelerators for networking, communications, big data, storage and security applications. The microprocessors will be made using 16nm FinFET technology, which points to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

Broadcom is also announcing its partnership with ARM to define and develop an open, standards-based NFV software environment for the ARM ecosystem. Through joint engagements with leading service providers, and as members of the Linaro Networking Group and European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), the two companies are working to standardize the environment's programming model, tool chains, application programming interfaces and networking-specific libraries across the industry. By making the software environment portable across platforms and instruction sets, equipment manufacturers designing NFV solutions to meet next-generation carrier-class requirements will benefit from both enhanced code portability and faster development time.

With the open, portable software environment, Broadcom customers will be able to seamlessly migrate designs based on Broadcom's market-leading XLP II family of multi-core processors to the new ARMv8-A processor architecture, while preserving software investment. The most recently introduced XLP II family member, the XLP980 provides performance and features for NFV applications with 160Gb/s of application throughput, full end-to-end virtualization of CPUs, accelerators and I/Os and up to 100Gb/s of security acceleration.

"ARM and Broadcom have enjoyed a close and long-standing partnership. We are now pleased to see Broadcom leverage the ARMv8-A architecture and push the envelope with a very high-performance processing solution for the communications market. Broadcom is taking a leadership role in helping us to drive an open, standards-based NFV software environment. This environment will enable the efficient and intelligent technology needed by businesses and consumers in our increasingly connected and data-hungry world," said Tom Cronk, executive vice president and general manager of processor division at ARM.

Exponential growth in worldwide network traffic from connected devices and cloud services is creating a need for service providers to migrate to agile and flexible cloud-based networks that support dynamically changing services and workloads. To support this next wave of virtualization, Broadcom will deliver a new class of processors optimized to drive the highest computational performance for control and data plane processing and the highest throughput for networking functions like security and packet processing.