Intel targets microservers with 8-core Atom SoC

Atom C2000 SoCs offer the performance of Xeon processors with the added benefit of the extra features found on SoCs.

Intel's Atom low-power processors have found their way into all sorts of devices. Now the chip giant is mounting an assault on the server market with a new 8-core Atom SoC (System-on-a-Chip) part designed with bother performance and efficiency in mind.

The Atom C2000, codenamed Avoton and Rangeley, is based on Intel's 22-nanometer Silvermont architecture and has efficiency at its core, pushing aside bit power consumers such as the Xeon and Phi parts.

Avoton is aimed at microservers, and is the successor to the Atom S1200 line, codenamed Centerton. Rangeley, on the other hand, is aimed at network and communications equipment.

(Source: Intel)

The C2000 can handle up to 64GB of datacenter class ECC DDR3RAM, and comes with built-in controllers for Ethernet, USB 2.0, SATA and second-gen PCI Express. It also comes equipped with a cryptographic accelerator.

Atom C2000 SoCs can be fitted onto cards in a variety of configurations and be used to replace higher power draw Xeon silicon. For example, the first-gen SeaMicro SM1000 server made use of 256 dual-core Atom processors.

"Centerton is a good product, but it's nothing compared to what Intel is bringing to the market with Avoton," said Jason Waxman, general manager of Intel's Cloud Infrastructure group.

"Some customers have been telling us they still want the performance of Xeon, but the extra features in the SoC products, so this will be the first Xeon-based SoC," said Waxman.

The C2000 is part of Intel's Rack Scale Architecture (RSA) initiative, which is itself based on the Open Network Platform reference design. This model takes a conventional server and breaks it down into constituent components, or modules, such as power supply, storage, compute, and so on.

This modular approach is designed to reduce costs and increase flexibility by allowing modules to be shared.

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