Intel reportedly readying next-gen Atom with eight CPU cores


— 11:55 AM on October 18, 2012

This past summer, we told you about Project Moonshot, a high-density 4U server packed with 288 Atom processors. Code-named Centerton, those Atom SoCs feature dual cores, single-channel memory controllers, and PCIe connectivity. They lack integrated Ethernet, Serial ATA, and USB controllers, though. Those  omissions will reportedly be addressed by Avoton, a new Atom SoC that CPU World says will incorporate logic to feed six SATA ports (four 3Gbps and two 6Gbps), four USB 2.0 ports, and four Gigabit Ethernet connections.

There will be more to Avoton than just extra connectivity. The chip will purportedly include up to eight CPU cores based on the upcoming Silvermont architecture, which is expected to bring out-of-order execution to the Atom for the first time. Those cores will apparently come in pairs that share 1MB of L2 cache. According to CPU World, clock speeds could reach as high as 2.4GHz with a 2.7GHz Turbo peak.

Rumor has it the memory controller is due for an upgrade, too. Avoton is supposedly slated to include a dual-channel controller with support for DDR3 and DDR3L memory at 1600MHz.

Avoton's power envelope could climb as high as 20W, CPU World says, but that doesn't seem entirely unreasonable for an eight-core chip with so much platform integration. The site claims Avoton will offer more performance per watt than Intel's upcoming Haswell CPUs, which would be quite a feat. I imagine that applies only to very specific workloads—probably ones that are important to folks building high-density servers. We'll know more in the second half of next year, which is when Avoton chips are supposed to arrive.

   
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