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Texas Instruments supplies HP's Project Moonshot with quad-core ARM chips

First big silicon vendor to take the plunge
Tue Mar 05 2013, 15:50

CHIPMAKER Texas Instruments has signed a deal with HP for its Keystone II ARM chips to be used in Project Moonshot ARM servers.

Texas Instruments, which last year said it was trying to sell parts of its chip business including its largely unsuccessful mobile chip unit, has pulled off a major deal that could see its system on chip (SoC) parts end up in mass deployed servers. HP announced that Project Moonshot had signed up Texas Instruments to supply quad-core Keystone II 66AK2Hx SoCs based on the ARM Cortex A15 architecture.

HP claims that Texas Instruments' "unique SoC" combines not just ARM cores but C66x digital signal processors, packet processing and Ethernet switching engines. Texas Instruments' ability to include packet processing and Ethernet switching capabilities is particularly enticing in servers as it avoids the need for an external controller that consumes power.

Tim Wesselman, senior director of Ecosystem Strategy at HP's Hyperscale Business Unit said, "TI's 66AK2Hx family and its integrated c66x multicore DSPs are applicable for workloads ranging from high performance computing, media processing, video conferencing, off-line image processing & analytics, video recorders (DVR/NVR), gaming, virtual desktop infrastructure and medical imaging."

Wesselman's use cases go well beyond the Hadoop and LAMP style workloads that have until now been mooted as the main use cases for ARM based servers.

The ARM server market is working hard in 2013 as many key chip vendors are forecasting that 2014 will be the big year for ARM servers, with software and hardware hitting production. Texas Instruments is the first of the traditional silicon vendors to say it is working with a big server vendor such as HP to produce ARM based servers.

Last year AMD also said it would produce ARM SoCs and told The INQUIRER that chips would appear in 2014. However AMD has yet to say whether it is working with any major server vendors, while the smaller chip vendor Calxeda is finding its chips in ARM servers being used for software development and firms testing the viability of ARM based servers for their workloads. µ


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