Ampere Altra Max: A 192-core CPU that can run PC games on Linux

Ampere, a company that specializes in ARM-based server processors, has released a guide on how to set up a gaming platform on Linux using its 192-core CPU, the Ampere Altra Max. The guide, which is available on GitHub, shows how to install Steam AArch64 and Steam Play (Proton) on Linux, enabling users to play Windows games on the open-source operating system.

The Ampere Altra Max is one of the most powerful ARM processors in the market, with 192 cores running at up to 3.3 GHz. It is designed for high-performance computing, cloud, and edge applications, but Ampere claims that it can also handle gaming workloads with ease. The company says that its CPU can run games smoothly even with the overhead of the emulation layer required to run Windows games on Linux.

To demonstrate its gaming capabilities, Ampere used an NVIDIA RTX A6000 GPU, which is a professional-grade graphics card with 48 GB of VRAM. However, the RTX A6000 is not optimized for gaming, and it performs worse than the consumer-oriented RTX 4090 in both gaming and professional benchmarks. Ampere says that users can choose any GPU that supports Linux drivers to pair with its CPU.

Ampere’s gaming guide is an interesting showcase of the potential of ARM processors for PC gaming. While ARM chips are mostly used in mobile devices and embedded systems, they are becoming more powerful and versatile, as evidenced by the success of Apple’s M1 chip and Valve’s Steam Deck. However, Ampere’s gaming solution is not likely to be widely adopted by gamers anytime soon, as it requires a lot of technical expertise and expensive hardware. Moreover, most PC games are still designed for x86 architectures, and running them on ARM platforms may result in compatibility and performance issues.

Ampere says that its gaming guide is meant to empower users who want to try something new and different. It also says that it hopes to raise awareness and interest in its products and ARM technologies in general. Whether or not Ampere’s gaming experiment will lead to more innovation and adoption of ARM processors for PC gaming remains to be seen.

In conclusion, Ampere Altra Max is an impressive ARM processor that can run PC games on Linux with some technical adjustments. It shows the potential of ARM technologies for gaming and other applications. However, it also faces some limitations and competition from x86 architectures and other ARM-based products. Whether Ampere Altra Max will be a game-changer or a niche product remains to be seen.

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