SANTA CLARA, Calif.--Intel’s first microserver processor is less power efficient than its existing Xeon chips, leaving a significant opportunity for alternative SoCs, according to Linley Gwennap, principal of the Linley Group.
Intel released last year the Atom S1000, also known as Centerton, a dual core chip meant to fend off mainly ARM-based server SoCs from a growing group of vendors. While it reduced power consumption to 6.3W, it does not support Ethernet, Serial ATA or USB controllers or multithreading.
“According to data Intel provided, this chip is less power efficient than its Xeon, so it seems like we are going in the wrong direction,” Gwennap said. “It’s not really a system on a chip yet, it has significantly lower performance and only uses 32-nm process technology,” he said at the Linley Data Center Conference here.
Gwennap characterized the chip as a placeholder for Avoton, a 22-nm CPU with a new Atom core. “They haven’t announced what it is yet, and it will not be in production until the second half of the year,” he added.
Linley Group recently released a report that projects alternative server SoCs will compete for an available market of $2.5 billion by 2016. That’s about 30 percent of a server processor market that the report estimated is edging toward $10 billion a year. The forecast assumes Microsoft will not have a version of Windows Server for ARM during that period.
Both sides have their challenges, Gwennap noted. ARM server SoCs need to port x86 server software, they won’t support 64-bit addressing until later this year and they have a lower single-thread performance than the x86, he said. In addition, Intel has a process edge and will use it to roll 14-nm chips in 2014.
On the other hand, the x86 architecture was designed for best single-thread performance. As such it is encumbered by complexities such as an ability to manage up to 168 instructions simultaneously in flight in the latest chips and up to 192 in the next-generation Haswell.
“There’s a lot of logic just moving data around without doing useful computations,” Gwennap said.
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The typical Xeon has blocks geared to support dozens of instructions in flight, said Gwennap.
Showing the integration gap, Gwennap compared an existing ARM server SoC to an Intel Xeon platform. A slide on that comparison follows along with slides from Calxeda and Applied Micro Circuits Corp. who participated in a panel. Related stories:
ARM is an open mind company, they are willing to provide all knowledge to any customers. Compared to ARM, Intel is a miser.They used all kinds of political issues to prevent others to share their apple. In the PC era stage, they successfully kick out all competitors. But its drawback is obviously showing up at mobile phone time. This is the bittermelon Intel must pay now.
And where can you buy a 64 bit Atom server? Nowhere. In fact, Intel will be at least a year later to this market, as they won't have a real Atom server chip (64 bit) until 2015.
Not to mention that even for that generation their transistors are really 26nm, not 22nm.
Yes, there is a realtively small 32-b it ARM server market emerging this year with systems from a handful of little known players such as Boston Ltd. (Calxeda) and Mitac and Wiwynn (Marvell) and at least one large user TK soon.
But the big juice comes with 64 bit products in 2014.
What does the author mean by power efficiency? If the author means performance/watt, the ARM, too, is not as power efficiency as Xeon.
Both ARM/ATOM is good at absolutely power consumption instead of power efficiency.
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What ARM server really means today, if you're a physicist looking for specific incidents occurring within the real time Big Data of an accelerator ARM server can do it well utilized at a fraction of the power.
If you're into analytic's ARM server with stock FPU and certainly adding a DSP accelerator, can do what FPGA acceleration does for lower power. Some believe on their development investment at a lower hardware cost, applications programming time and power.
If you're serving from cold storage ARM server offers low power for a job done well done.
If you're serving anything Web 2.0, there is from storage search and serve that ARM does well for lower power.
Penguin Computing has put up ARM pages if you look through gets down to the brass tacks about ARM server.
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