Qualcomm is very well known as a smartphone Chip manufacturer, However, the company is now looking to move into data centers as well — a place which until now, has largely been the domain of competitor Intel. The company has now announced a brand new ARM-based server chip with 48 cores.
The chip has been manufactured using the advanced 10-nanometer manufacturing process and marks the culmination of almost four years of engineering effort on Qualcomm’s part. The company has now managed to produce engineering samples of the chip with 10-nanometer circuitry.
In case you are unaware of it, a 10-nm circuitry means that the chip are as little as 10-nm apart. In case you are wondering, that is truly a feat of engineering and one that even rival Intel has been unable to pull off as of yet. This revelation is certain to spark off a new battle between the two companies, as they attempt to maneuverer around each other and launch the 10-nm into the market.
Intel certainly has an edge over Qualcomm as far as data centers and the clouds are concerned. While the latter focused most of its attention on smartphones, Intel has built up a formidable presence in the emerging cloud business. However, Qualcomm believes that amidst changing technologies, there is room for a new entrant.
Speaking on the topic, Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies said,
What is exciting for us is there are a number of structural changes taking place in the industry. The cloud is gobbling up server production, and that affects the supply chain and software ecosystem. That, in turn, allows for new entrants into the data center market.
He also said that Qualcomm stood to benefit amidst a shift from PC chips to smartphones.
The device driving demand for chips forward is mobile. The benefits used to accrue to Intel, which was able to use the volume technology to drive the defects out and hit lower costs. This is a massive change in the industry, as those benefits now accrue to the foundries making mobile chips.
The chip is expected to be commercially available in the second half of 2017. That said, Intel (which showed off the design for 10-nm chips in October) may be able to get its chips down into the market a tad earlier. However, it will not be a question of who gets the chips into the market first, but rather of who is able to cater to the long term needs of the market.
As Chandrasekher puts it,
Our target is the mega data center customers today. he opportunity here will open up over time. It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon. But it is a very good marathon to be in.
And from the looks of its, both the companies are ready to run.
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