Intel's low-power server plans

— 11:58 AM on March 2, 2001

PC Watch is reporting that Intel has unveiled their Ultra Dense Server Roadmap. In addition to the 440M chipset, you can see that their new low voltage processors consume much less power. Why have low-power consuming processors in a server system? Well, take California as an example. This winter, it has experienced severe power issues requiring governmental intervention. Moreover, space (land) is at a premium, especially in the Bay Area. There is also the specter of Transmeta looming on the horizon with their new Crusoe processors targeted at servers. With these forces acting as catalysts, Intel's keynote claimed that their 2U (88mm) would be able to house 8 server systems and 2 switches. Each server runs a Pentium III 500MHz, 1GB ECC memory, 10/100Base Ethernet, and 30GB hard drive. In a 42U rack, they will be able to store over 160 servers in one rack. The ability to fit so many low-power consuming servers together in one rack is the key to understanding the meaning of "Ultra Dense." It looks like the industry is headed in this direction.

Intel announced that 900MHz Pentium III Xeons with 2MB L2 cache will be available in March. Also, Foster will be marketed under the "Xeon" name; the exhibit is here. The dual processor capable Foster with 256KB L2 cache will see a Q2 release but Foster with multiprocessor support and 512KB / 1MB L3 cache will not see the light until Q4. Contrary to what Intel has said before, there will not be a drastic shift from the IA-32 architecture to IA-64 in the server market soon. Instead, Intel sees a gradual rollout for the Itanium (IA-64).

Designed as a server interface, InfiniBand had spec 1.0 finalized in October. The interface chip has taped out and there have been samples since December.

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