Wimpy cores were big in 2012. Marvell grabbed design wins at Dell and Mitac for its Armada XP, one of the first quad-core ARM server SoCs to hit the market. Startup Calxeda got two small design wins for its roughly similar 32-bit SoC.
Applied Micro showed a full suite of Web server software running on simulations of its X-Gene, an ARM server SoC it hopes to have back from the fab early next year as one of the first of the new breed of 64-bitters. But Intel trumped all competitors, rolling out at the end of the year Centerton, a dual-core 64-bit Atom chip for energy efficient servers.
This limbo dance won’t play out until all competitors enter the contest in 2014, but the band has started warming up this year.