New Atom chips headed to servers


— 6:00 AM on December 12, 2012

Intel's Atom processor lineup made a name for itself in netbooks. Since then, it has since branched out into tablets and even smartphones. Now, Intel has released a new family of Atom processors, the S1200 series, aimed squarely at servers. These babies have 64-bit addressing, ECC memory support, and other perks that make them suitable for heavy-duty applications—and they fit inside power envelopes as small as 6.1W.

Here's Intel's pitch for the new SoCs:

The SoC includes two physical cores and a total of four threads enabled with Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology2 (Intel® HT). The SoC also includes 64-bit support, a memory controller supporting up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, Intel® Virtualization Technologies (Intel® VT), eight lanes of PCI Express 2.0, Error-Correcting Code (ECC) support for higher reliability, and other I/O interfaces integrated from Intel chipsets. The new product family will consist of three processors with frequency ranging from 1.6GHz to 2.0GHz.

Atom S1200-series processors are shipping today. Intel's price list quotes asking prices ranging from $54 for the S1220, which runs at 1.6GHz with a 8.1W TDP, to $120 for the flagship S1289, which is clocked at 2GHz and has a 14W TDP. (The lone 6.1W offering has a 1.6GHz clock speed and costs $64.)

Intel says it already has "more than 20" design wins, which include micro server, storage, and networking systems. Among the early adopters are Accusys, CETC, Dell, HP, Huawei, Inspur, Microsan, Qsan, Quanta, Supermicro, and Wiwynn.

The Atom S1200 family is based on current-generation silicon and fabbed on a 32-nm process. Next year, however, Intel plans to deliver new, 22-nm Atom server chips code-named Avoton. Customers can look forward to "world-class power consumption and performance levels," the company claims. As we reported yesterday, Intel has developed a special version of its 22-nm process for system-on-a-chip devices like the upcoming Atoms. Consumer "Silvermont" Atom processors will also be manufactured using that process.

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