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Calxeda 5-watt Web server outshines Intel's Xeon CPU in power efficiency

Calxeda took a quad-core EnergyCore ECX-1000 1.1GHz processor and pitted it against Intel's 3.3GHz Xeon E3-1240.

ARM server specialist Calxeda has benchmarked one of their 5-Watt ARM servers against Intel's Xeon hardware, and report that their ARM hardware is 15 times more power-efficient.

For the test Calxeda took a quad-core EnergyCore ECX-1000 1.1GHz processor and pitted it against Intel's 3.3GHz Xeon E3-1240.

Along with the processors, the test servers were kitted out with 4 GB of DDR3L-1066 RAM, one 1Gb Ethernet network port and a 250 GB SATA 7200 RPM hard drive. The platform ran on Ubuntu Server v12.04 and Apache Server v2.4.2.

ApacheBench v2.3 was used to carry out the benchmarking, and the results speak for themselves.

While the EnergyCore ECX-1000 is not as powerful as the Xeon E3-1240 -- with it only able to handle 5,500 requests per second compared to 6,950 for the Intel hardware -- it manages this performance while consuming a little over 5 watts, compared to over 100 watts for the Intel processor.

This makes the Calxeda SOC (Server on a chip) ARM hardware 15 times more power-efficient that Intel's hardware. According to Calxeda, this translates into a 77 percent reduction of overall total cost of ownership over three years.

The power consumption of the Intel hardware was based on published TDP values for the CPU and I/O chipset, along with an estimate for memory because Calxeda didn't have a way to measure actual power consumption with the same level of fine detail as for their own processors.

Image source: Calxeda.

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