An HP representative said the company is shipping beta versions of Centerton systems to customers. The beta chip addresses a handful of applications that don’t require heavy CPU processing, including memcached, off-line analytics and Hadoop, he said.
HP will announce early next year a new system called Genesis. The company has said it will support a mix and match variety of Atom and ARM server SoCs in a single chassis.
A Facebook representative at the Intel event said wimpy cores like the Atom SoC can handle similar work for a half to a one-third the power of so-called brawny cores such as Intel’s Xeon server CPU. He did not say whether Facebook will use the new chips, instead speaking in general terms about supporting the new SoCs as long as they have 64-bit addressing and error correction codes.
A Microsoft data center chief architect said using x86-compatible CPUs for both wimpy and brawny cores helps lower complexity and cost. “Once again Intel and Microsoft are working together to supply best platform for our customers,” said Jeffrey Snover of Microsoft.
“Today there are no enterprise-class arm servers…the comparison [of ARM SoCs to the S1200] is not apples to apples,” because the ARM chips lack 64-bit support, said Diane Bryant, general manager of Intel’s Datacenter and Connected Systems Group.
“We know investments are being made, and we have a good view into the alternative architecture,” said Bryant. “We believe we have a substantial performance and performance-per-watt advantage, and at the system level a compelling solution."
Intel’s gross margins for the Atom SoCs are good, she told a Wall Street analyst. “Because of the density of compute, our revenue with either Xeon or Atom is a wash--in fact, Atom is slightly greater, so it’s absolutely fine if Atom does well,” she said.
The S1200 is a 6W part with two, dual-threaded, in-order Atom cores. The SoC includes a controller supporting up 8 GBytes DDR3 memory. The 64-bit chip also supports Intel’s virtualization technologies, eight lanes of PCI Express 2.0 and ECC
It comes in three versions, with frequency ranging from 1.6 to 2.0 GHz. Costs start at $54 in the thousands.
Intel upping Atom ante
Atom gets first ride in HP's CPU-agnostic server