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Benchmarking An ARM 96-Core Cavium ThunderX System

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  • Benchmarking An ARM 96-Core Cavium ThunderX System

    Phoronix: Benchmarking An ARM 96-Core Cavium ThunderX System

    A Phoronix reader granted us remote access to a FOXCONN C2U4N_MB system featuring two Cavium ThunderX 48-core SoCs. For those curious about the potential of a modern 96-core ARM platform, here are some basic benchmark results.

    Phoronix, Linux Hardware Reviews, Linux hardware benchmarks, Linux server benchmarks, Linux benchmarking, Desktop Linux, Linux performance, Open Source graphics, Linux How To, Ubuntu benchmarks, Ubuntu hardware, Phoronix Test Suite

  • #2
    Can someone please explain to me why compiling a kernel is so slow on that machine? Shouldn't a 96-core machine run circles around a Ryzen 3 when compiling a kernel?


    • #3
      pathetic, my 2400g has better performance for a lot of things


      • #4

        Originally posted by phoronix View Post
        For those interested there are also some additional benchmarks I ran plus others from the community via Caviun ThunderX on


        • #5
          Definitely not chopped liver qua performance.


          How about the price?


          • #6
            It's not disappointing because of its blatant lack of single-thread performance.

            It's disappointing because Phoronix teed up benchmarks that should literally fall right into the lap of an OMG 96 COAR system with gobs of memory bandwidth and a pretty large power consumption envelope that's as least as high as a dual socket Xeon or Epyc system. And even there it's clearly inferior to a desktop system you could have bought last year, much less a real server.


            • #7
              Some of the results just dont make sense. You would think highly parallel things like the Linux kernel woukd do better even with relatively weak cores. This has me wondering if there are teething or configuration problems.

              By the way i wasnt expecting superior single core performance, that isnt the point of this chip or other high core count processors. However with 96 cores you do expect better from some of those tests.


              • #8
                The performance isn't surprising if you look at the architecture of this chip (I'm having trouble finding the details about the old ThunderX architecture now, but I vaguely remember it being in-order, 2-issue and having small L1 data/inst cache per core - could be wrong). ThunderX seems tailored to certain workloads (like networking), not a jack of all trades like Zen, 'Lake, Centriq etc.

                These chips launched in 2014 anyway, ancient history by this point.

                ThunderX2 will be more interesting, it's a more typical wide out-of-order design so should compete nicely with all the Zen, 'Lake etc.


                • #9
                  If you want to play with ThunderX, Scaleway offer instances up to 64 vCPU/128GB running on ThunderX.


                  • #10
                    Michael In the article you say this is a current gen processor when it is clearly not.

                    ThunderX 2 is supposed to improve a lot, not only because it is 14nm based but also because Cavium was more aggressive improving the arch of on the second gen.

                    But in any case, for those interested in ARM server chips look at Cloudflare's benchmarks of Qualcomm's Centriq 2400, they evaluated Centriq, TX2 and latest Xeons and chose Centriq for parts of their workload. Also, Centriq performance was great and the performance per watt blew Intel out of the water.