Marvell OCTEON 10 Processors: Elevating Networking Devices with Server-Class Power

December 7, 2023 by our News Team

Marvell Technology introduces two new OCTEON 10 data processing units (DPUs) with unprecedented performance and efficiency, built on a 5 nm architecture and designed for various networking equipment applications, including routers, firewalls, and 5G small cells.

  • Revolutionizing networking equipment and firewall manufacturing
  • Unprecedented levels of performance and efficiency
  • Designed specifically for data and control plane applications

Marvell Technology, a leading provider of data infrastructure semiconductor solutions, is revolutionizing networking equipment and firewall manufacturing with its latest products. The company has introduced two new OCTEON 10 data processing units (DPUs), namely the OCTEON 10 CN102 and OCTEON 10 CN103, which are set to deliver unprecedented levels of performance and efficiency.

The OCTEON 10 CN102 and CN103, built on a 5 nm architecture, have been designed specifically for data and control plane applications in routers, firewalls, 5G small cells, SD-WAN appliances, top-of-rack switches, and line card controllers. Notably, some of the world’s largest networking equipment manufacturers have already integrated the OCTEON 10 CN102 into their product designs.

With up to eight ARM Neoverse N2 cores, the OCTEON 10 CN102 and CN103 offer three times the performance of Marvell’s current DPU solutions while reducing power consumption by a remarkable 50% to just 25 W. These DPUs achieve impressive SPEC CPU (2017) integer rate (SPECint) scores of 36.5, delivering nearly 1.5 SPECint points per Watt. This advanced performance per watt ratio allows OEMs to design fanless systems, simplifying overall system design and reducing costs, maintenance, and power consumption.

First announced in 2021, the OCTEON 10 DPU platform addresses the increasing demand for network, storage, and security processing among cloud service providers, telecommunications carriers, enterprises, and other end users. The OCTEON 10 DPUs share a common foundation of technologies, including 5 nm process technology, Arm Neoverse N2 processors, hardware accelerators, industry-leading I/O, and DDR5 support. Marvell customizes these DPUs by varying the number of CPU cores, data paths, hardware accelerators, and other technologies to optimize them for specific applications, customer segments, and performance requirements.

For instance, the OCTEON 10 CN102 is equipped with a 10G SerDes, making it ideal for entry-level equipment, while the CN103 features a 56G SerDes for higher throughput. Another notable DPU in the OCTEON 10 lineup is the OCTEON 10 CN106, designed for cloud, enterprise, and baseband applications in 5G wireless networks. It boasts artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML) cores that analyze operational data to enhance system performance, along with up to 24 Arm Neoverse N2 server processor cores. The CN106 was also the industry’s first DPU to feature inline AI/ML acceleration, an integrated 1-terabit switch, and vector packet processing (VPP) hardware accelerators. Additionally, the OCTEON 10 Fusion CN105 offers a lower maximum number of server cores but incorporates additional hardware accelerators and proprietary signal processing to optimize the chip for the demanding radio processing requirements of massive MIMO and other 5G RAN tasks.

Marvell is collaborating with carriers, equipment vendors, and other semiconductor designers to explore ways to integrate OCTEON technology into their platforms. The company’s commitment to optimized processors stems from its belief that every market and customer segment deserves tailor-made solutions. With the challenges posed by Moore’s Law, Marvell emphasizes the importance of optimized design methodologies as the driving force behind semiconductor innovation.

“The new OCTEON processors are a natural extension of the Marvell compute strategy,” stated Joseph Byrne, editor-in-chief of TechInsights’ The Microprocessor Report, which recently recognized OCTEON 10 as the Best Embedded Processor for 2022. “Specialized processors can increase overall performance while keeping power and chip costs under control.”

Will Chu, Senior Vice President of the Compute and Custom Business Unit at Marvell, explained the vision behind the OCTEON 10 DPU platform, stating, “With Moore’s Law becoming more challenging, optimized design methodologies will become the primary engine propelling innovation in semiconductors. OCTEON 10 CN102 and CN103 fulfill that vision by delivering technology normally associated with hyperscale cloud data centers to OEMs and enterprises in a way that fits their stringent space, power, and cost requirements.”

Key Features of OCTEON 10 CN102 and CN103:

– 5 nm process technology
– 64-bit Arm Neoverse N2 core
– High integration with 20 Ethernet media access control (Mac) with MACsec support
– Inline IPsec engine enabling 50 Gbps IPsec with just 50% of a single N2 core
– Hardware packet acceleration with VPP optimization
– Memory speed up to DDR5-5600
PCIe 5.0 (CN103xx only)
– 56G SerDes (CN103xx only)

The Marvell OCTEON 10 CN102 and CN103 DPUs are currently available for sampling and will be available in production quantities in Q4 of this year and Q1 of 2024, respectively.

Marvell OCTEON 10 Processors: Elevating Networking Devices with Server-Class Power

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Background Information

About ARM: ARM, originally known as Acorn RISC Machine, is a British semiconductor and software design company that specializes in creating energy-efficient microprocessors, system-on-chip (SoC) designs, and related technologies. Founded in 1990, ARM has become a important player in the global semiconductor industry and is widely recognized for its contributions to mobile computing, embedded systems, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. ARM's microprocessor designs are based on the Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) architecture, which prioritizes simplicity and efficiency in instruction execution. This approach has enabled ARM to produce highly efficient and power-saving processors that are used in a vast array of devices, ranging from smartphones and tablets to IoT devices, smart TVs, and more. The company does not manufacture its own chips but licenses its processor designs and intellectual property to a wide range of manufacturers, including Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung, and NVIDIA, who then integrate ARM's technology into their own SoCs. This licensing model has contributed to ARM's widespread adoption and influence across various industries.

ARM website  ARM LinkedIn

Technology Explained

CPU: The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brain of a computer, responsible for executing instructions and performing calculations. It is the most important component of a computer system, as it is responsible for controlling all other components. CPUs are used in a wide range of applications, from desktop computers to mobile devices, gaming consoles, and even supercomputers. CPUs are used to process data, execute instructions, and control the flow of information within a computer system. They are also used to control the input and output of data, as well as to store and retrieve data from memory. CPUs are essential for the functioning of any computer system, and their applications in the computer industry are vast.

DDR5: DDR5 (Double Data Rate 5) is the next generation of memory technology for the computer industry. It is a modern day improvement on earlier DDR technologies, with faster speeds, greater bandwidth and higher capacities. DDR5 enables higher resolution, seamless gaming experiences and faster data transfer rates, making it an ideal choice for high-performance computing and 4K gaming. With its greater RAM compatibility, DDR5 provides faster buffering times and raised clock speeds, giving users an improved overall work system. DDR5 is also optimized for multi-tasking, allowing users to multitask without experiencing a significant drop in performance, increasing the productivity of digital tasks. As an ever-evolving technology, DDR5 is paving the way for the computer industry into a new and powerful era.

PCIe: PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) is a high-speed serial computer expansion bus standard for connecting components such as graphics cards, sound cards, and network cards to a motherboard. It is the most widely used interface in the computer industry today, and is used in both desktop and laptop computers. PCIe is capable of providing up to 16 times the bandwidth of the older PCI standard, allowing for faster data transfer speeds and improved performance. It is also used in a variety of other applications, such as storage, networking, and communications. PCIe is an essential component of modern computing, and its applications are only expected to grow in the future.

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