SAN JOSE, Calif. – Leaping ahead of a growing onslaught of ARM server SoCs, Intel Corp. rolled out its dual-core, 64-bit Atom enterprise SoC, claiming 20 design wins in microservers, comms and storage. It also said it will pack an Ethernet fabric on to its next-generation, Avoton, a 22-nm chip shipping in 2013 that is expected to use out-of-order cores for greater performance.
The move puts Intel well ahead of a half-dozen ARM-based competitors, none of which will have 64-bit chips until sometime in 2013. Even those who have working 32-bit chips now have far fewer design wins.
Intel claims the new S1200 chip, dubbed Centerton, displaces the PowerPC in a comms control plane design and ARM in a storage system. The design wins span a range of top-tier OEMs to little known names, including Accusys, CETC, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Huawei, Inspur, Microsan, Qsan, Quanta, Supermicro and Wiwynn.
The battle is only just begun. ARM server SoC backers now include Advanced Micro Devices, Applied Micro, Cavium, Calxeda, Nvidia and Samsung. In addition, Freescale, LSI and Cavium are moving toward ARM cores for server and storage SoCs, joining Texas Instruments.
Many in the ARM camp have committed to 64-bit products which likely won't enter volume production until 2014. Intel vowed to provide annual upgrades of its new Atom enterprise SoC line, including a 14-nm part to come as early as 2014.
“This doesn’t have a big impact on the ARM 64-bit players because they have developed their road maps with Intel’s Centerton and Avoton in mind,” said Patrick Moorhead, principal of Moor Insights and Strategy (Austin, Texas). The new Atom chip, “will not be lowest power or densest solution compared with ARM-based solutions from Calxeda, Applied Micro or AMD,” he added.