Intel unveils "Centerton" Atom chips for microservers
By Nicole Kobie
Posted on 11 Dec 2012 at 17:00
Intel has released its Atom processors for servers, codenamed Centerton.
The "energy sipping" Intel Atom S1200 system-on-a-chip (SoC) line is designed for microservers, as well as entry-level storage systems and networking, said Chris Feltham, datacentre product manager for Intel Europe.
Centerton is an extension of the existing Atom line, designed for low-power devices such as smartphones and netbooks. It includes support for for enterprise features such as 64-bit, virtualisation and ECC memory.
The Atom S1200 SoCs are directly targeting ARM-based chips, which have started to move from mobile devices into servers as datacentres require more energy-efficient chips.
Find out moreARM and Nvidia put pressure on x86 in servers
There will be three versions. The S1260 is higher performance, using 8.5W and offering up to 2GHz of processing power. The S1240 is focused on power savings, running at 6.1W but limited to 1.6GHz, while the S1220 is the cheapest option, at 8.1W for 1.6GHz.
The Atom S1200 line is designed to offer an alternative to the existing Xeon server chips, but is entirely software compatible with Xeon, saving time for developers and giving users access to the existing ecosystem.
The Centerton chips are made on the 32nm process, but Intel said it would shift to 22nm next year, with the Avoton chips bringing further energy efficiency benefits. The shift to 14nm will come in 2014 or later.
Feltham said Intel is "revenue neutral" on the two platforms, meaning it won't lose out financially whether customers choose the Atom product or the existing Xeon server chips.
Intel said more than 20 firms have already signed up to created hardware using hte Atom S1200 line, noting HP has "stated their intent around this platform". HP earlier this year unveiled plans for its
Moonshot server platform, based on low power ARM or Atom chips - with the latter set to arrive first.
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