Chipmaker and ARM-licensee Marvell has announced a quad-core ARM processor, designed specifically for enterprise-level cloud computing applications.
The company announced the new ARMADA XP processor on Monday. The processor has four cores running at 1.6GHz and uses a System-on-a-Chip (SoC) design to place storage and memory connectivity on the chip itself, rather than on a motherboard as in standard non-SoC processor designs.
"Cloud computing mobile servers like those powered by the ARMADA XP are the key link in what I envision to be a seamless, unified ecosystem of mobile connected devices, information appliances and smart 'furnishings,'", Marvell's co-founder Weili Dai said in a statement.
The processor has four PCI Express interfaces on the chip, along with USB, Gigabit Ethernet and SATA ports. Marvell says that the chip has the industry's best performance per watt thanks to the low-powered ARM architecture. It can perform 16,000 DMIPS (Dhrystone Million Instructions Per Second) — 16 billion benchmarked instructions per second — at under 10 watts of power dissipation, it says.
"It is the low power consumption of ARM processors that can take [the chip architecture] into new markets", said John Barr, a distinguished analyst at the 451 group.
ARM, however, is going to face tough competition from Intel in the server market, Barr told ZDNet UK on Tuesday. He explained that "a processor like ARM that is unencumbered by the success that Intel has had in mainstream markets can react more quickly to market changes, but Intel will do what it needs to do in order to support the needs of future HPC [high-performance computing] and cloud users."