Should Apple start making servers?

By: Maynard Handley (name99.delete@this.name99.org), October 6, 2018 9:50 am
Room: Moderated Discussions
Doug S (foo.delete@this.bar.bar) on October 6, 2018 9:25 am wrote:
> Andrei Frumusanu (andrei.delete@this.anandtech.com) on October 6, 2018 12:23 am wrote:
> > Doug S (foo.delete@this.bar.bar) on October 5, 2018 11:48 pm wrote:
> > > Anandtech's SPEC2006 benchmarks didn't show the composite score
> >
> >
> > Uhm it's in the article, the geomean is here: https://images.anandtech.com/doci/13392/SPEC2006-eff.png
>
>
> Sorry I totally missed that. I saw the subtests but guess I missed that
> the composite result was included in the 'energy efficiency estimate'.
>
> I suppose the composite result is not all that useful for comparison since several of the benchmarks
> have been broken, and SPEC unfortunately allows auto parallelization in base scores. I'll have to
> do a little digging to see which benchmarks have been broken by the Intel C compiler or benefit from
> autopar to be able to tell which of the subtests where the top x86 result exceeds A12 performance
> by more than ~ 10-20% are due to those reasons, or might point to a chink in the A12's armor.

You can see comparable numbers (ie tested using the same methodology, for a range of x86 servers) here:
https://www.anandtech.com/show/11544/intel-skylake-ep-vs-amd-epyc-7000-cpu-battle-of-the-decade/14
Bottom line is that A12 is very competitive with Skylake SP. All they really need to add is an appropriate NoC.

As for whether it's worth doing economically:
(a) the "base design" would be a desktop rather than a mobile core.

(b) the smart thing to do would be to aggregate multiple desktop base units (call them, I don't know, a "zeppelin"...) via fancy low-level packaging.

(c) ALWAYS this argument boils down to people who seem to imagine that, even after 25 years since Jobs returned to Apple, even after the company DELIBERATELY changed its name from "Apple Computer" to just "Apple" (because why limit your ambitions?), all Apple will ever do going forward is what they are doing today (or, worst case, add in a copy of what someone else is doing).
Of particular relevance to this discussion is that Apple has publicly and frequently stated that it has grand ambitions in "services". These could take many forms -- IMHO one that will be coming soon but isn't yet visible is extending iCloud compute beyond what's offered today (essentially storage for users and developers) to more general compute for users and developers.
If Apple were to, essentially, provide a suite of services as complete as AWS or Azure they might win a fairly substantially chunk of business from those companies. Of course the initial hook would be APIs that work very nicely if you're already completely/primarily developing for Apple; but it's not inconceivable that tech features [better security? nicer big/small/GPU/NPU interop?] or even cost might even make the package desirable for non-Apple developers who're not absolutely wedded to x86.

Point is, selling server boxes makes little sense for Apple. They tried it before, didn't work, no reason anything has changed since then. But there are more ways to "sell" a kick-ass server chip than by selling server boxes.
< Previous Post in ThreadNext Post in Thread >
TopicPosted ByDate
Should Apple start making servers?Doug S2018/10/05 11:48 PM
  Should Apple start making servers?Adrian2018/10/06 12:16 AM
    Should Apple start making servers?juanrga2018/10/06 12:37 PM
      Should Apple start making servers?Alberto2018/10/07 09:52 AM
  Should Apple start making servers?Andrei Frumusanu2018/10/06 12:23 AM
    Should Apple start making servers?Doug S2018/10/06 09:25 AM
      Should Apple start making servers?Maynard Handley2018/10/06 09:50 AM
        Good point (NT)Gabriele Svelto2018/10/06 02:57 PM
          Good pointBlaine2018/10/07 11:14 AM
        Probably notDavid Kanter2018/10/07 10:44 PM
          Probably notMichael S2018/10/08 12:58 AM
          Probably notMaynard Handley2018/10/08 03:52 PM
  Should Apple start making servers?Gabriele Svelto2018/10/06 05:44 AM
    Should Apple start making servers?Beastian2018/10/06 08:39 AM
    Should Apple start making servers?Doug S2018/10/06 09:29 AM
      Should Apple start making servers?Travis Downs2018/10/06 10:23 PM
        Should Apple start making servers?Doug S2018/10/08 03:08 PM
    Should Apple start making servers?Maynard Handley2018/10/06 10:04 AM
      Should Apple start making servers?Gabriele Svelto2018/10/06 02:56 PM
        Should Apple start making servers?Maynard Handley2018/10/06 06:58 PM
          Should Apple start making servers?Gabriele Svelto2018/10/07 01:46 AM
            Should Apple start making servers?dmcq2018/10/07 03:33 AM
              Should Apple start making servers?Alberto2018/10/07 06:07 AM
                Should Apple start making servers?Doug S2018/10/08 03:19 PM
              Should Apple start making servers?Doug S2018/10/08 03:17 PM
    Should Apple start making servers?juanrga2018/10/06 12:33 PM
  Should Apple start making servers?wumpus2018/10/06 08:27 AM
    Should Apple start making servers?Aaron Spink2018/10/06 11:17 PM
      Should Apple start making servers?Doug S2018/10/08 03:33 PM
  Should Apple start making servers?Alberto2018/10/07 10:36 AM
  Should Apple start making servers?Michael S2018/10/08 04:05 AM
    Should Apple start making servers?anon2018/10/08 06:35 AM
  Apple's winning strategy in serversAM2018/10/08 07:17 AM
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