SAN JOSE – Intel launched the first server CPUs using its 22 nm tri-gate technology, including a new 17W part aimed at the emerging micro-server segment. The x86 giant also rolled out new 32 nm server chips, including an entry-level part that narrows AMD’s price lead in four-socket servers.
The Xeon E3-1200 v2 family is Intel’s first batch of 22 nm server chips based on its Ivy Bridge architecture. They include Intel’s lowest power server CPU to date, a 17W chip at prices as low as $189.
The low-end chip is geared for micro-servers, ultra low power systems that attempt to stave off rising interest in alternative ARM-based servers. Previously Intel’s lowest power x86 server chip consumed 20W.
Intel plans to ship Centerton later this year, a dual-core Atom based server chip consuming just 6W. It is Intel’s first Atom design supporting virtualization and ECC memory needed in servers.
Separately Intel rolled out a new batch of E5-class 32 nm Xeon chips based on its existing Sandy Bridge architecture. They include the E5-4600 family supporting up four processors in a single server. One member of that family now sells for as little as $551 in quantities of 1000.
“In the past if you wanted an Intel four-socket CPU, you had to go to their E7 line which had a huge cost for extra buffers and expandability, but now the lower cost E5 family has chips supporting four-socket servers,” said Nathan Brookwood, principal of market watcher Insight64 (Saratoga, Calif.). “Intel still charges a premium for four-way CPUs, but it’s not as much as it used to be,” he said.
AMD had an edge in the prior generation, selling some four-way servers at much lower prices than Intel’s versions and virtually the same price as AMD’s two-way chips. “Now Intel will close that gap somewhat,” Brookwood said.
In total, Intel launched 11 Ivy Bridge server processors and 17 Sandy Bridge CPUs. The chips will be used in servers from a laundry list of OEMs including Acer, Asus, Cisco, Dell, HP, Huawei, IBM, Lenovo, NEC, Quanta and SGI.
17W Xeon, coming down from 65-95W, is an impressive improvement. With all the power saving improvements, a 15A rack might be able to accommodate twice as many servers. Cloud based companies would be really happy. No doubt consumers will be benefit from it. A benchmark of the latest Ivy Bridge server chips would be nice.
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