CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

13 December 2012

East Africa: Intel's New 'Microserver' CPUs Offer Higher Density, Low Power Consumption

Intel has announced the launch of its Centerton line of Atom based processors for the microserver segment market. Speaking on Tuesday, Danie Steyn - Intel General Manager for East and Sub Saharan Africa says that the launch sees the Atom line catering for those looking for density and low power consumption compared to Xeon processors that cater for those looking for productivity . Power consumption for the new processors is at 6 watts for the Atom line compared with 17 watts for the Xeon line . The CPUs are fabricated on 22 die chips.

"Big data can be done on standardised systems, it doesn't need specialised systems," explained Steyn as he explained situations in which enterprises may opt for the Atom CPUs. The main difference is the Xeon line offers more performance per rack while the Atom line offers more servers per rack, in situations where each server handles light deployments. Steyn says Xeon offer an equivalent two times more transaction per CPU compared with Atom which offers five times the number of servers in an equivalent space.

Intel introduced the micro server concept in 2009. Then, Xeon processors were quite power hungry consuming 40 watts.

Features in the new CPU lines include dual cores with hyper threading technology and the ability to have up to 1,000 nodes in a single rack. Other features include ECC (error correction) memory for higher reliability and a number of virtualisation features. Virtual servers can be moved between physical servers, may be due to resource issues and different times to spread the load between servers.

Gigaom reports that though Facebook was happy to support the chips at the global launch, the firm is not planning to use them. (http://gigaom.com/2012/12/11/facebook-happy-to-endorse-but-not-use-intels-newest-chip/)

The new processors can be ordered through Intel's partners including HP, Huawei and NEC.

Future generations of the processors slated for 2014 will consume even lower power as they will be on 14 nanometer dies.

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