Qualcomm is making yet another strong move to capture the server chip market, which is largely dominated by Intel. The new 64-bit Centriq 2400 will come with 48 cores and is the first to be built using a 10nm procedure.
The architecture is also ARM-based, rather than x86. The custom ARM cores are called Falkor. Intel currently only makes server chips on a 14nm procedure and also doesn’t offer more than 24 cores. By shipping the chips by the fall of 2017, Qualcomm will get a much-needed boost in the market. Intel is not likely going to offer a competitive variant of the Xeon by late 2018.
The 48 cores have been implemented on a single-socket part, rather than double-socket. According to Qualcomm, its production process will be the most-advanced yet.
The procedure will be replicated in the upcoming Snapdragon 835 mobile flagship chip which will be shipped by its partners before next year. The unconventional ARM-based approach should bring just as competitive speeds of the Intel Xeon, but will have better energy efficiency.
Qualcomm only entered the server CPU market last year, when it launched its 24-bit ARM chip. It is unlikely that Intel will take lightly to the competition, given half of its operating profit is derived from this market.
However, it is also just as likely that it doesn’t need to. With 99.3% of the market already using x86-based chips, it will have to hit more than a sizeable dent in the arena to capture some significant share.