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Intel drops an Atom microserver bomb

IDF Beijing Centerton is low power for high density
Thu Apr 12 2012, 14:44

CHIPMAKER Intel dropped an Atom bomb on the second day of IDF in Beijing, announcing its 'Centerton' microserver chip that will draw just a miserly 6W of thermal design power (TDP).

It defines a microserver as a computer with one socket, error correction, 64-bit processing, and minimal memory and I/O. The Atom Centerton platform will have two cores, Hyperthreading and support for ECC DDR3 as well as VT-x virtualisation technology. Intel said the Atom Centerton chip will be available in the second half of this year.

Intel has been rather late to the microserver game, however last year Seamicro showed off microservers based on Intel technology. Seamicro is unlikely to pursue that path further, though, since it was recently bought by Intel's x86 chip design rival AMD.

The microserver concept is fairly new, but they are ideal in applications where I/O and processing requirement are modest and the most important design parameters are the complementary ones of high density and low power consumption.

Diane Bryant who leads Intel's Data Centre and Connected Systems Group delivered the second day keynote, and she spent a good part of her time talking about microservers and announcing Centerton.

In addition to the Centeron, Bryant also announced Xeon E3 processors based on the Intel's 22nm FinFET process. Current Xeon E3 chips are based on Sandy Bridge in 32nm, and according to Bryant we should expect better thermal performance from 22nm. If this is correct, then we could expect to see parts with TDP ratings of 10W, 15W and 40W.

Bryant said Intel's 22nm Xeon E3 processors are expected to launch later this quarter. µ


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