The Race to Define the Non-Central Processing Unit

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By James Stuart | 3Q 2021 | IN-6253

 

Multiple CPU-Offload Technology Releases Target Operational Workloads, Confusing Messages for Consumers

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Over the last few months, there have been several announcements giving details of processing units that augment the work of the Central Processing Unit (CPU). Intel announced its Infrastructure Processing Unit (IPU) and Marvell released a Data Processing Unit (DPU), as did NVIDIA. This has resulted in some confusion amongst consumers and a lack of understanding of how these products are relevant to them.

Marvell claims to have released the industry’s first DPU back in 2005, the OCTEON multicore, although the term DPU was not in use back then. Marvell described these versatile units as “infrastructure processors”. In June this year Marvell announced the 7th generation OCTEON processor, the OCTEON 10 DPU. There are four models in the family, and all feature the 2.5 GHz 5nm, 64-bit Arm Neoverse N2 cores. They also feature integrated 1 terabit switches, inline ...

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