SAN JOSE, Calif. — Intel announced an impressive second-generation Atom-based server SoC and benchmarks showing it beats ARM-based chips from Applied Micro, Calxeda, and Marvell. The 64-bit C2000, aka Avoton, is designed into more than 50 systems, months ahead of a flood of 64-bit ARM-based parts expected from as many as a dozen competitors in 2014.
All the SoCs aim to deliver new levels of performance-per-watt for power-constrained data centers. Although Intel is winning kudos today, OEMs say they will use both Atom- and ARM-based chips in a diversifying set of servers on their road maps.
For example, Hewlett-Packard announced the Moonshoot Proliant M300 server, packing up to 45 eight-core Avotons in a 4.3 U-sized chassis. It delivers seven times the performance and six times the performance/watt of systems built on Centerton, Intel's first-generation Atom server SoC, said Gerald Kleyn, director of platform engineering for hyperscale systems at HP.
HP upgraded Centerton cartridges in its Moonshot server to Avoton SoCs.
HP claims it had "good success" selling Centerton servers to "several customers," and expects the market for the so-called microservers will grow with Avoton. HP was among the first to test the 32-bit ARM-based Calxeda server SoCs, and it already has "64-bit ARM chips running in HP's labs," Kleyn said.
In April HP launched its Moonshoot chassis as a CPU-agnostic box that will hold a wide variety of processors, possibly including ARM-based SoCs from partners AMD, Applied Micro, Calxeda, and Texas Instruments, as well as FPGA accelerator cards.
HP created a server lab in Houston where partners and users can develop and test out the products. "Clearly there's a software ecosystem that needs to come together, but we're really encouraged by the progress we've seen," he said.
Intel is also shipping Rangeley, an embedded version of Avoton sporting accelerator blocks targeted at networking systems, such as routers, switches, and line cards. In addition, it gave a demonstration of its silicon photonics interconnects for data center racks delivering up to 1.6 Tbit/s over 300 meters using a new MCX connector and ClearCurve optical fiber developed with Corning. Related to the new interconnects, Intel will work with Microsoft on a next-generation design for racks in its data centers.
Intel got Avoton design wins with traditional customers such as Advantech, Dell, NEC, Quanta, Supermicro, and WiWynn. It also won sockets in blade-based switches at Ericsson.
The following pages provide more details about Avoton and its performance against ARM-based SoCs.
Avoton is made in Intel's 22 nm process technology.