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

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

Summary: 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.


Topics: Intel, CXO, Hardware, Processors, Servers

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  • CDN servers...

    Yeah but web servers sometimes do a lot more work than just replying to requests...

    On the other hand, CDN servers that pretty much only serve static contents will probably benefit from this kind of development.
    • Maybe, just maybe

      The savings in power might be used to avoid getting ads splattered all about web pages. Dreaming? Probably. But, without dreams the advertisers will surely stalk one forever.
  • Argument has been made before SPARC Niagra/Rock and even Intel...

    For some work loads what you need is many less powerful processors (cores) and this is very true of web requests and often database requests. The request don't put much demand on the CPU.

    I suspect though that for many workloads this SoC isn't going to cut it and is this a 64 bit chip? How much memory can it address?
  • Space or long-term remote applications?

    Is the processor available radiation-hardened, e.g., for space, long-term remote, or similar applications?
  • Ubuntu? Apache?

    Can we have this retested sans gay software? TIA.
  • This is a joke

    My first question is, why don't you mention that this is an obvious setup? How do they compare to a 25W Xeon E3-1105C? Further, how can you take this at face value and not bring Centerton into the conversation? Unlike Energycore, Centerton can address with 64bits and has nice features server feature like support for error correction (ECC memory). My guess is that Calxeda is just looking for reporters that will report exactly what they say and not do their homework and they found one.
    • that's because

      This is a regurgitated press release. No thinking involved.
  • And Twice as Many Servers

    To get the same performance as the Xeons. Don't see the big savings here.
  • Amazing technology for the future of efficiency.

    This is the type of low-powered requirement system that can be solar powered and used for all kinds of devices that have enough power to be very useful. Very low part count means extremely high reliability. Easy to make, and very efficient to transport and operate.
    Kieron Seymour-Howell
  • Looks like a good trend

    Maybe in the near future you can walk into a server room and not be bombarded by 100 decibels worth of 7000RPM cooling fans.