Tuesday, February 18th 2020

VIA CenTaur CHA NCORE AI CPU Pictured, a Socketed LGA Package

VIA's CenTaur division sprung an unexpected surprise in the CPU industry with its new CHA x86-64 microarchitecture and an on-die NCORE AI co-processor. This would be the first globally-targeted x86 processor launch by a company other than Intel and AMD in close to 7 years, and VIA's first socketed processor in over 15 years. SemiAccurate scored a look at mock-up of the CenTaur CHA NCORE 8-core processor and it turns out that the chip is indeed socketed.

Pictured below, the processor is a flip-chip LGA. We deduce it is socketed looking at its alignment notches and traces for ancillaries on the reverse-side (something BGAs tend to lack). On the other hand, the "contact points" of the package appear to cast shadows, and resemble balls on a BGA package. Topside, we see an integrated heatspreader (IHS), and underneath is a single square die. CenTaur built the CHA NCORE on TSMC's 16 nm FinFET process. The package appears to have quite a high pin-count for a die this size, but that's probably because of its HEDT-rivaling I/O, which includes a quad-channel DDR4 memory interface and 44 PCI-Express gen 3.0 lanes.
Source: Semi Accurate
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13 Comments on VIA CenTaur CHA NCORE AI CPU Pictured, a Socketed LGA Package

#1
bonehead123
So...exactly what is the point of and/or target market for this chip ?

And why devote time & resources to develop a new chip, then waste most of it by using pcie 3 lanes.....
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#2
DeathtoGnomes
More information is definitely needed here, without it cant tell what VIA intends todo here.
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#3
Hardware Geek
Competition is great but this is for a very specific use case and not intended for the client segment. That leaves the Intel and AMD duopoly. That doesn't, however, preclude the possibility of implementing a client version. If they can reduce or remove the AI and add more cores. Even without SMT, 12+ cores with higher clocks would be hard to beat, and it leaves room for an upgrade with SMT in a future design.
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#5
MoreOrLess
bonehead123
So...exactly what is the point of and/or target market for this chip ?

And why devote time & resources to develop a new chip, then waste most of it by using pcie 3 lanes.....
Target is most likely small footprint servers for AI, think SuperMicro Micro Cloud servers, you could get ~180 blades in a rack cabinet. Another usage would be appliances where you want to add AI, like firewalls and NAS.

PCIe 4 is rather new still, takes time to develop and most current utilities are till on PCIe 3 so it isn't crucial.
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#6
JalleR
So intel has sold its old Cpu manufactoring parts to VIA :D that looks so much like a 2011-3 (V1) chip, will it fit in a X99 Chipset motherboard: 44PCI lanes Check, QuadChannel memory Check, bga style connectors…. hmmm not check.. :D
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#7
gdallsk
that looks like BGA to me, not LGA...
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#8
Ferrum Master
gdallsk
that looks like BGA to me, not LGA...
indeed...

I am more surprised seeing AVX512F support, that should have ended up in the article....
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#9
gamefoo21
Ferrum Master
indeed...

I am more surprised seeing AVX512F support, that should have ended up in the article....
It looks like reverse BGA to me.

No talking about features AMD doesn't support yet.

Hehe
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#10
Ubersonic
If you had told me just a couple of years ago that in 2020 Intel would be back in the GPU market and Cyrix/Via would be back making CPUs I would have laughed until I puked xD
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#11
xlen
Ubersonic
If you had told me just a couple of years ago that in 2020 Intel would be back in the GPU market and Cyrix/Via would be back making CPUs I would have laughed until I puked xD
But they have never stopped making CPUs, they were pushed out of global market by intel, the same way AMD almost was, but in China they've been selling a lot of CPUs

bonehead123
So...exactly what is the point of and/or target market for this chip ?

And why devote time & resources to develop a new chip, then waste most of it by using pcie 3 lanes.....
They have been making CPUs for decades, this is simply their return to the global market.
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#12
haxzion
Ubersonic
If you had told me just a couple of years ago that in 2020 Intel would be back in the GPU market and Cyrix/Via would be back making CPUs I would have laughed until I puked xD
Right? We need more competition in both CPU and GPU market plus new technologies.We were stuck with that idiotic 4core i7 for years until AMD stepped up their game.
There is also more competition in the "Room Heaters" market with that ridiculous Intel 14nm 10 core chip.
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#13
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
nanoITX boards plz via ok?
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