Dell testing 64-bit ARM server with chip from AppliedMicro

AppliedMicro showed the system at ARM's TechCon show, though it was only a prototype

By , IDG News Service |  Hardware, Dell, Servers

But AppliedMicro does now have actual prototype silicon, which is a step up from the HotChips conference in August, when it showed a server board with a mock-up chip.

It demonstrated its hardware in action Thursday. It showed a website running on what Gopi said was a prototype X-Gene server built by AppliedMicro and located in a remote data center. He streamed a trailer for the new James Bond film, which appeared to run smoothly.

"We are literally months away, ladies and gentlemen," he said. "In Q1 next year, you'll have not only silicon but also the software I just showed you and systems to go around it." He was still referring to prototype systems, however.

Gopi also unveiled three server reference designs that AppliedMicro has come up with, to show server makers what they can build. They're dubbed X-Memory, X-Compute and X-Storage, depending on the target application.

The X-Storage system is aimed at Hadoop-type analytics applications, and combines a sea of hard disks with a single X-Gene server board. It had a total 36TB of storage, Gopi said.

ARM offers two types of licenses for its chip designs. Companies can buy an architectural license, as AppliedMicro did, and design their own processor from scratch. That allows for greater customization, but takes more time and money. They can also buy a license for a finished processor design.

ARM unveiled its 64-bit architecture, ARMv8, at last year's TechCon. The news earlier this week was that ARM has now released its first 64-bit processor designs, the Cortex-A57 and A53. Chips based on those designs could appear by the end of this year.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

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