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AWS unveiled its latest chip generation with the Graviton 3, boasting a much better price-performance ratio than the Graviton 2. This faster, ARM-based processor is designed for high compute-intensive workloads.

On the occasion of Re:Invent 2021, Adam Selipsky reviewed the wide range of systems offered to meet increasing customer demand. “There are now over 475 different instance types available,” he notes, for virtually any workload. For this purpose, AWS announced Graviton 3, succeeding Graviton 2. In detail, this latest generation of chip is still based on ARM technology and is intended for what the cloud provider calls compute-intensive workloads: “HPC , batch processing, automated electronic design (EDA), media encoding, scientific modeling, distributed analysis and CPU-based machine learning inference ”.

This chip incorporates 55 billion transistors and should offer speeds 25% faster than Graviton 2, resulting in increased performance for scientific, cryptographic (doubled) and machine learning workloads (the latter are multiplied by 3 thanks to Graviton 3). If AWS has not given details on the cores (64 clocked at 2.6 GHz) used in its chip, the blog semianalysys evokes the track of hearts ARM Neoverse N1, already used in Graviton 2. In addition, Graviton 3 (G3) uses up to 60% less energy than its predecessor. These chips will work with DDR5 memory, which should represent a 50% increase in memory bandwidth. The G3 processors also include a “pointer authentication feature (process to avoid memory corruption), designed to improve security,” said Jeff Barr, chief evangelist of the cloud provider, in an AWS blog post. They provide enhanced security to customers with permanent memory encryption, dedicated caches for each vCPU, and support for pointer authentication.

This latest generation of chips has several improvements over Graviton 2, in particular. (Photo credit: Semianalysys)

C7g instances powered by Graviton 3

Adam Selipsky unveiled in the wake of C7g instances for EC2, the firsts available for Graviton 3 and built on Nitro systems. C7g instances offer 20% better network bandwidth than C6g instances for network intensive applications, such as network appliances and data analytics. These instances are expected to offer up to 30 Gbps of bandwidth and will support Elastic Fabric Adapter (EFA), a network interface for EC2 instances. It can be used to run applications that require high-scale inter-node communication, such as high-performance computing and video encoding. The AWS Nitro system is “a combination of SmartNIC and a lightweight hypervisor that provides isolated multi-tenancy, private network and fast local storage”. C7g instances will also support encrypted volumes Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) by default.

During his keynote, Peter DeSantis returned to the announcement of the C7g instances powered by Graviton 3. (Credit: Célia Seramour)

As part of its ongoing testing to improve efficiency, Twitter says it has tested the latest G3-based C7g instances. Nick Tornow, Head of the Platform at Twitter, announces that he has “found that C7 instances based on Graviton3 offer 20 to 80% better performance than C6g instances based on Graviton 2 while reducing latencies by 35%”. Graviton 3 chips should be available in summer 2022.

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