GIGABYTE Releases First ThunderX2-Based ARM Server Systems


Taipei, Taiwan, 16th August 2018 – GIGABYTE is bringing ARM to the server world with the official release of our first Cavium ThunderX2 based server systems: the 1U dual socket R181-T90, and the 2U dual socket R281-T91, both part of GIGABYTE’s R-Series general purpose rack server product family.


A Geniune x86 Alternative 

The ThunderX2 is a 64-bit ARM CPU with a completely new architecture to the ThunderX, and presents a genuine alternative to x86 for mainstream data center deployment. In terms of features, the ThunderX2 is on par with competing x86 offerings, with up to 32 fully out-of-order cores and 128 threads per socket, single and dual socket configurations, up to 2.5Ghz clock speed or up to 3Ghz with turbo mode, 8 channels of DDR4 memory and 56 Gen. 3 PCIe lanes. These features translate into compute performance that is on par with x86 for many typical workloads in cloud, HPC, storage and networking applications. Performance per price ratio is even more impressive in many cases.




Bringing ARM into the Mainstream

The release of the ThunderX2, with performance and features comparable to x86, comes at an opportune time with the ARM ecosystem of hardware / firmware / software partners growing rapidly and becoming more mature. More of the most common HPC, cloud, networking and virtualization applications can now run on ARM “out of the box”. And building a backend system based on ARM can also allow a seamless back end / front end connection to millions of handheld and IoT devices running on ARM architecture. What’s more, GIGABYTE’s ThunderX2 server products offer the same storage, networking and expansion support as well as BMC and remote management features as our x86-based products, making a GIGABYTE ThunderX2 server a genuine option for your next mainstream cloud or HPC server deployment.




CPU & Memory Specifications

The R181-T90 and R281-T91 both feature dual BGA socket ThunderX2 CN9975-2000 processors, with 28 cores and 2.0 GHz clock speed performance. The CN9975-2000 was chosen as the standard ThunderX2 SKU for GIGABYTE's launch systems due to its immediate availability and an excellent price / performance ratio that appeals to the broadest range of cloud and HPC customers. GIGABYTE is also planning to soon offer these models with the higher end ThunderX2 CN9980-2200 (32 cores, 2.2 GHz clock speed) and CN9975-2200 (28 cores, 2.2 GHz clock speed) once customer demand has reached the threshold for production. Memory wise, both R181-T90 and R291-T91 feature 24 x DIMM slots for up to 3.072TB of memory capacity.




Storage, Expansion, Networking, Power and Management Features

The R181-T90 features 10 x 2.5” hot swap SATA / SAS HDD bays, 3 x low profile (1 x PCIe 3.0 x 16 + 2 x PCIe 3.0 x 8) expansion slots and 2 x OCP mezzanine expansion slots (PCIe 3.0 x 16). Naturally, the 2U R281-T91 features more storage and expansion capacity than its 1U cousin, with 26 x 2.5” (24 x 2.5” front + 2 x 2.5” rear) hot swap SATA / SAS HDD bays, and 8 x full height half length (FHHL) PCIe expansion slots: two sets of (3 x PCIe 3.0 x8) or (1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 + 1 x PCIe 3.0 x8), and one set of (1 x PCIe 3.0 x 16) or (2 x PCIe 3.0 x8), as well as 2 x OCP mezzanine slots (PCIe 3.0 x16), for additional networking and storage expansion or other accessory cards.


Networking wise, both systems feature an onboard QLogic QL41102 controller for dual 10G SFP+ networking ports, as well as a dedicated MLAN port. Remote management can be performed with the onboard Aspeed AST2500 BMC and using GIGABYTE’s GSM (GIGABYTE Server Management) software. For efficient cooling, the R181-T90 features a row of 8 x (40 x 40mm) easy swap fans, while the R281-T91 features 4 x (80 x 80mm) hot swap fans. Power wise, both systems feature dual 1200W 80 PLUS Platinum power supply units for a 1 + 1 redundancy, and also include other high availability and user friendly features common to GIGABYTE server products, such as tool-less rail kits.


GIGABYTE continues to lead the server industry in design and innovation with the first release of our ThunderX2 products. We are looking forward to working with our trusted sales partners in each region to bring these fantastic new systems to customers looking for a new generation of ARM-based systems to deploy into their data center.





North America



Please visit for more information on our complete product range.