Amazon announces own-brand CPUs, but they're not for your PC

AWS may be able to compete better with its own line of cloud-powering CPUs. (Source: Tableau)
AWS may be able to compete better with its own line of cloud-powering CPUs. (Source: Tableau)
Amazon Web Services has announced the development of its own in-house CPUs to power the next generation of its cloud and deep learning services. These processors, called the Graviton and Inferentia respectively, were unveiled at this year's AWS re:Invent conference. As with Google's TPUs, customers will buy time on what is run by these CPUs rather than the chips themselves.
Deirdre O Donnell,

Amazon Web Services (AWS) now has its own line of CPUs to develop its cloud capacities and services. It was unveiled at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas. This form of processor, the Graviton, was developed for the company by Annapurna Labs, a chip-maker recently bought out by Amazon. Gravitons, which are 64-bit ARM-based chips, are to power instances, which are stand-alone, partially virtual machines on which customers can host or run their clouds.

There are currently 5 variations on the first-gen Graviton Instances, which range from the a1.medium with 1 vCPU, 2GB of RAM and 10Gbps network bandwidth to the a1.4xlarge with 16 vCPUs and 32GB of RAM. They will be priced at $US0.0255 to $0.408 per hour, although this may vary depending on what the customer wants. Amazon claims that these machines will be as much as 45% cheaper compared to existing x86-based counterparts.

That was not all for the re:Invent conference, however, AWS reps went on to introduce a second new in-house CPU, this time for machine learning. This chipset, despite bearing the slightly unimaginative name of Inferentia, was linked to 'hundreds of TOPS' in terms of computing power, as well as  FP16 support, INT8 accuracy, and the ability to run TensorFlow, Caffe2 and ONNX. This move also makes sense, as Google's own in-house processor for similar purposes can run as high as $8 per hour. Therefore, Amazon is setting itself up as the next major player in the remote-computing space.


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Deirdre O Donnell, 2018-11-29 (Update: 2018-11-29)
Deirdre O'Donnell
I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general. This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.