ARM-based CPUs are working their way into servers, and Intel may answer with an eight-core Atom designed for the same space. So says this story over at SemiAccurate, which claims the chip will be known as Avadon or Abadon. The CPU will reportedly be based on a Silvermont Atom core that “people who know” describe as a “mildly out of order” design. This new core apparently offers 20-25% better clock-for-clock performance than the existing Atom.
Silvermont is slated to be built using 22-nm process technology—tri-gate transistors and all. SemiAccurate says the eight-core chips won’t arrive until late 2013, though. That seems like a reasonable timeline given the fact that the first Silvermont-based Atoms, which will have fewer than eight cores and be targeted at netbooks and tablets, are expected in 2013. While Intel didn’t mention an eight-core version at IDF a couple of months ago, it did confirm that Silvermont would debut in 2013.
As SemiAccurate points out, an eight-core Atom arriving two years from now will probably face plenty of competition from the ARM camp. Server-oriented CPUs based on Nvidia’s Project Denver effort may be available by then, as well. Intel will have x86 compatibility on its side, of course, but that may become less important as the popularity of the ARM architecture grows.