SANTA CLARA, Calif.--Intel’s first microserver processor is less power efficient than its existing Xeon chips, leaving a significant opportunity for alternative SoCs, according to Linley Gwennap, principal of the Linley Group.
Intel released last year the Atom S1000, also known as Centerton, a dual core chip meant to fend off mainly ARM-based server SoCs from a growing group of vendors. While it reduced power consumption to 6.3W, it does not support Ethernet, Serial ATA or USB controllers or multithreading.
“According to data Intel provided, this chip is less power efficient than its Xeon, so it seems like we are going in the wrong direction,” Gwennap said. “It’s not really a system on a chip yet, it has significantly lower performance and only uses 32-nm process technology,” he said at the Linley Data Center Conference here.
Gwennap characterized the chip as a placeholder for Avoton, a 22-nm CPU with a new Atom core. “They haven’t announced what it is yet, and it will not be in production until the second half of the year,” he added.
Linley Group recently released a report that projects alternative server SoCs will compete for an available market of $2.5 billion by 2016. That’s about 30 percent of a server processor market that the report estimated is edging toward $10 billion a year. The forecast assumes Microsoft will not have a version of Windows Server for ARM during that period.
Both sides have their challenges, Gwennap noted. ARM server SoCs need to port x86 server software, they won’t support 64-bit addressing until later this year and they have a lower single-thread performance than the x86, he said. In addition, Intel has a process edge and will use it to roll 14-nm chips in 2014.
On the other hand, the x86 architecture was designed for best single-thread performance. As such it is encumbered by complexities such as an ability to manage up to 168 instructions simultaneously in flight in the latest chips and up to 192 in the next-generation Haswell.
“There’s a lot of logic just moving data around without doing useful computations,” Gwennap said.
Having already proven in an earlier post that Linley Gwennap has no historical credibility (e.g. wildly optimistic Itanium predictions over a decade ago) let's analyze his latest piece of nonsense ...
'Linley Group recently released a report that projects alternative server SoCs will compete for an available market of $2.5 billion by 2016. That’s about 30 percent of a server processor market that the report estimated is edging toward $10 billion a year. The forecast assumes Microsoft will not have a version of Windows Server for ARM during that period.'
No way in hell is the microserver market going to be 30% in 2016 or most likely ever. Atom/ARM 64-bit products will just not be developed or attractive enough against low voltage Xeons. A 10% figure, like HPC is, of the general server market is a more realistic long term target although I think it will be more like 5-10% and that's assuming they can actually eventually beat LV Xeons on performance/power which is still in doubt.
'According to data Intel provided, this chip is less power efficient than its Xeon'
There's your big giant cluestock Dumbo and you missed it. Once you add all the other elements that comprise a server any performance/power advantage a low power chip may have is gone swamped by all the other fixed power constants like memory, I-O lanes and drive storage. The point about micro-servers like Centerton is that they maximize memory/I-O bandwidth per cpu performance but that is always going to be a niche market otherwise Vector chips would already have inherited the computing world. Centerton was also designed before they got the Atom SoC design right with Clovertrail but Avoton will not be so encumbered. Centerton also has multi-threading so he was wrong on that score too.
Linley Gwennap has already proven himself to be totally clueless with respect to future server predictions. In 1999 he published a one grand book report on Itanium in which he boldly claimed ...
'With all of this backing, IA-64 is likely to grab at least 60% of the server market by 2003, according to a new report “Intel's Itanium and IA-64” from MicroDesign Resources.'
Itanium was your rubber stamp in those days and a fat lot of good it did !
More nonsense from him here ...
'I expect Itanium to replace Xeon, but not until 2003, when McKinley and its successors open a performance gap over Xeon. Changes in servers never happen fast. But with Itanium now a reality, Intel's dominance is only a matter of time.'
Linley Group recently released a report that projects alternative server SoCs will compete for an available market of $2.5 billion by 2016.
Intel should be @10nm
Manufacturing cost will force many small and medium ARM players out of the market - No more cheap ARM SoCs!
The recent article references micro servers. Linley's article on Itanium was a swing and miss. One reason would be that Gwennap worked at HP on PA RISC which became the foundation of Itanium.
What Linley overlooked was cache improvements made in the Core i (Nehalem) family. Nehalem 64-bit performamce beat that of Itanium by a wide margin.
"Linley Gwennap is the president and principal analyst of The Linley Group. One of the most respected analysts in the microprocessor industry, he has followed the industry for more than 15 years. Starting as a processor designer at Hewlett-Packard, Linley later worked in PA-RISC marketing and then became editor-in-chief of Microprocessor Report and vice president of MicroDesign Resources before founding The Linley Group in 1999."