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Google Unveils its First Arm-based Data Center Processor, Axion

Google has unveiled its first Arm-based data center processor, Axion, at the Cloud Next 2024 event. Axion is Google’s first Arm-based processor designed specifically for data centers and utilizes powerful Neoverse V2 cores.

According to Google, Axion offers 30% better performance than the best Arm processors available in the data center market and up to 50% better performance and 60% better energy efficiency than comparable x86 virtual machines.

Google is currently using Axion in services like BigTable and Google Earth Engine and plans to expand the number of services in the future.

The launch of Axion could make Google a serious competitor for Amazon. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been a leader in Arm-based data center processors since 2018 with the introduction of the Graviton processor and its subsequent generations.

Nvidia, another chip giant, also announced its entry into this market in 2021 with the introduction of Grace, and other companies have also made significant progress in this area.

Google started developing its own custom processors a few years ago, but the company’s main focus has been on consumer products. The first Arm-based Tensor chip was first used in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smartphones.

Google had previously developed the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) for its data centers. The company started using TPUs in its data centers in 2015 and publicly released it in 2016. In 2018, the search giant made it possible for other companies to use TPUs in their data centers.

The introduction of Axion comes just after Arm CEO Rene Haas warned about the energy consumption of AI models. He criticized chatbots like ChatGPT for their high power requirements. Haas says, “As chatbots collect more information, they become smarter, but to do that they need more information, which means more power consumption.”

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