Intel has announced the launch of a Xeon-based system-on-chip (SoC) processor family, taking technologies designed for its low-power Atom and bringing them into the data centre to head Cambridge-based rival ARM off at the pass.
With the growth of cloud computing and the ubiquity of the web, there has been growing interest in using many low-power processors in the data centre in place of fewer high-performance chips. The biggest potential winner of such a paradigm shift would be ARM, which enjoys a near-monopoly of the embedded and mobile markets but whose parts are rarely seen in modern desktops or servers. For Intel, which with a near-monopoly in the data centre but whose parts are rarely seen in the mobile or embedded market has an almost opposite position, that's a threat - and one it is working to answer.
The new Intel Xeon D family takes the system-on-chip (SoC) design work developed for Intel's Atom range, where various components that would traditionally require separate north- and south-bridge chips are instead integrated onto the processor itself, to the data centre for the first time. The first two products have been confirmed: the Xeon D-1520 which has four physical cores running at 2.2GHz and 6MB of cache, and the Xeon D-1540 which has eight cores running at 2GHz and 12MB of cache. Both chips have a 45W thermal design profile (TDP), support for all Intel's latest technologies including HyperThreading, Transactional Memory, and VT-x and VT-d virtualisation technology, and are built on Intel's 14nm process node.
Intel has confirmed tray pricing for the parts at $199 and $581 per respective unit, and has named Cisco, HP, NEC, and Supermicro as companies currently building products based around the new Xeon D family. More information on the chips is available on Intel's product briefing page