'Borderville' Atom 'Centerton' Chip Is Intel's Answer to ARM Servers

Intel really doesn't want ARM getting anywhere near its turf

By on December 7th, 2011 14:32 GMT

ARM wants, and just might, get a foothold in the server market starting next year, as an omen of things to come, but Intel really doesn't seem amenable to the idea.

In fact, seeing that ARM PCs are an interesting idea to 40% of PC makers, and with ARM's server goal public knowledge, Intel acted.

In comes the 'Centerton' Atom series processor, which is part of the 'Bordenville' platform.

Normally, Intel wouldn't even have to worry about Arm chips invading its turf and, up to now, it didn't.

After all, ARM processors still have 32-bit architecture and lack supporting software, not to mention error correction, durability and reliability features.

Thus, they are definitely not good for most servers, hence why ARM has to invent a totally new chip if it wants any real fame on this front.

Nevertheless, there is one small part of this market where ARM chips could thrive indeed: 'green' micro servers used for serving web page accesses.

All those things need is to have hundreds of energy-efficient and simple processors in a single rack.

In other words, ARM could very well establish a foothold here, enough to get larger server makers interested in what it might have to offer later down the line (Windows support, 64-bit architecture, etc.).

Basically, Intel can no longer pretend that ARM is never going to succeed and break out of the mobile segment and into the current dominion of x86 CPUs if left unchecked.

Centerton is a multithreaded dual-core Atom CPU (32nm) with a 64-bit build and 1.6 GHz clock speed, plus 512 KB L2 cache.

Furthermore, it can cope with up to 8 GB of RAM (random access memory) on a single SO-DIMM and can manage eight PCI Express v2 lanes as well. On-die support for legacy I/O and SMbus exists as well.

All the above, plus full memory RAS features and virtualization work on 5 to 8 watts of power (a real challenge to ARM efficiency).
Intel Bordenville
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   Intel Bordenville

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