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Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Intel Starts Sampling Atom server SoC

Intel is sampling an Atom-based system-on chip for servers and announced a new system using one of its Xeon processors.

The Atom-based dual-core chip is a previously announced sub-10W, 64-bit device with a PCI Express interface, supporting ECC memory and Intel's virtualization and hyperthreading technology.

During a presentaion event held in San Francisco, Intel showcased a low-power Xeon-based server from SeaMicro. SeaMicro rolled a new generation of its system ASIC capable of linking over PCI Express to either Atom or Xeon CPUs.

SeaMicro's new SM10000-XE server is powered by a 1W ASIC, which packs up to 64 Intel Xeon E3-1260L processors into a 10U chassis consuming up to 3.5 kW. SeaMicro sells the system for $138,000 (base configuration.) The ASIC links over PCI Express to an Intel hub chip. It uses its own fabric as a cluster interconnect and provides external Ethernet and storage connections.

SeaMicro's SM10000-XE system is comprised of:

- 64 x86 quad-core 2.4 GHz Intel Xeon processors
- 256 cores per 10 rack units, 1,024 cores per rack
- 10 gigabits of bandwidth to each quad core processor
- Up to 2.048 terabytes of Samsung?s Green DDR3 DRAM?32 GB per processor
- Up to 64 SATA solid state or hard disk drives
- Up 16 10 gigabit Ethernet links or up to 64 one gigabit Ethernet uplinks.

Each board in the chassis uses four of SeaMicro's 90nm fabric ASICs, designed in an older process for highest yields. SeaMicro?s Input/Output Virtualization Technology eliminates all but three components from SeaMicro's motherboard - CPU, DRAM, and the ASIC itself - thereby shrinking the motherboard and reducing power, cost and space. The company's new TIO (Turn It Off) technology enables SeaMicro to further power-optimize the motherboard by consolidating functionality and turning off unneeded CPU and chipset functions. The company has managed to brining the CPU to about 30W down from about 45W.

"SeaMicro has invented technology that allows our SM10000 family to address all segments of the scale out data center," said Andrew Feldman, CEO of SeaMicro. "The addition of the SM10000-XE to the SM10000 family allows one architecture to support big and small processors?enabling customers to match their workload to the processor best suited for that work. The SeaMicro SM10000 family delivers a single architecture capable of supporting different processor types, each optimized for a different type of work."

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