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.
There will be unrelenting pressure on cloud service providers to use the most energy efficient architectures. To fail to do so will be terminal to their long term plans. Most of them already know this and are watching the low power race with keen interest. Charlie Babcock, editor at large, InformationWeek
We need to stop confusing low power with energy efficient. If a system runs a job at 50W for 2 hours it is NOT energy efficient vs. a system that runs the same job at 100W for 30 minutes. That's where we are on microservers vs. servers.
Unit cost $54, and that's just the CPU---the complete system will require a chipset, whereas ARM tends to be a more integrated SoC requiring less components.
That says it all.... they aren't really interested in microservers.
Isn't it a SoC? There is no chipset listed in the specifications of Quanta STRATOS S900-X31, http://www.qsscit.com/en/01_product/02_detail.php?mid=27&sid=155&id=156&qs=94. Quanta QCT claims less than 10W per node.
Intel leap frog an over statement?
Whether 32 or 64 bit ARMS on blade is viable high margin business and can compete with Xeon with system management.
And it’s not issue of wimpy ARM, but crippled ARM given architectural enhancement that can make a StrongARM. ARM architectural license is advantageous over design license.
ARM community places scalar ARM at ˝ perf of Intel dual issue. ARM 64 bit super speculated closing processing gap on freq v ATOM.
Seven 32 bit ARM 1.1 GHz quads equal one Xeon 2620 hexa 2.0 GHz in this Intel loaded molecular docking benchmark; http://www.lowpowerservers.com/?p=141. Need to email reviewer because it’s not clear how many Calxeda quads were thrashed in loaded benchmark verse dual Xeon 2620’s. And how likely does Vina code for molecular docking require FPU?
Xeon 2620 sells for $410 in 1,000 unit quantities. Not taking into account added system blocks that are BSM, I/O, NIC, Calxeda silicon is then valued at $59 which flies under Intel average fixed cost. But wait, might those Calxeda quads running 55% the frequency of 2620 be valued at $114? On hexa core equal basis $171? With BSM, I/O, NIC $198 placing Energy Core at Intel average total cost. Meaning there is a value message here for ARM SOCs that is not getting through.
For multiple ARMS on blade analyst suspects will reach into high end XEON product performance and price rungs.
Subsequently dual core ATOM S1200 presents solely low power paper tiger. Octa ATOM on low power multi core seems more likely an Intel barrier to protect higher power Xeon product and price voids certainly into E3, into E5 & even 46xx for massive dense where ARM NIC in SOC across fabric in VM mode is aimed to resolve Xeon power utilization issue. And what about ARM 64 bit sporting 12 and 16 cores v Intel?
ARMs on blade is a viable high margin business.
Calxeda's marketing lead notes that Intel's 6W Centerton has only two cores and lacks support for Ethernet, Serial ATA and a fabric.
But then Calxeda's ~4W four-core chip lacks support for 64-bit addressing which is a must for most server apps.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.