Pi Cluster vs Ampere Altra Max 128-core ARM CPU

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 and Ampere Altra Max M128-30

Sometimes life has a funny way of lining up opportunities, and one presented itself when Patrick from ServeTheHome reached out and said, "Jeff, I have an Ampere Altra Max server. You wanna come see it?"

Of course I did.

But seeing as Patrick is more than 800 miles away, I had to come up with a reason to go see it, so I pulled out my 6-node Raspberry Pi cluster—with it's 24 ARM Cortex A72 CPU cores—and decided to have a little competition.

And of course that competition is documented in a YouTube video:

Microsoft is still far behind: Windows on ARM

In spite of Microsoft's cryptic announcement of Project Volterra, and Qualcomm's continuous lineup of 'flagship' ARM SoCs for Windows, Microsoft is still behind the 8-ball when it comes to ARM.

Apparently, in 2016, Microsoft entered into an exclusivity deal with Qualcomm. That's why all official 'Windows on ARM' devices use Qualcomm SoCs. At the time, Apple hadn't yet pulled off its third major architecture shift for macOS, from Intel X86 to ARM.

Looking back, products like the Surface Pro X and the myriad ARM for Windows laptops, were basically built to a budget and for portability above all else. They were never competitive with Intel/AMD-based computers. Microsoft seemed to think ARM would always remain in a niche, only used for light, mobility-first devices.