Intel Atom chips poised for power, performance boost with Avoton

Intel ships first 22-nanometer Atom called Avoton for testing, and it will reach servers in the second half of this year

By , IDG News Service |  Hardware

There is a growing interest in low-power servers as companies look for ways to cut electric bills while efficiently processing large volumes of Internet and Web requests. Intel is offering Atom server processors as low-power alternatives to its standard Xeon server chips, which are used in a majority of servers today but consume more power. Intel has also accelerated Atom server chip development to tackle the growing interest in ARM processors, which are used in most smartphones and tablets, but are slowly making their way to servers.

Avoton will include a host of server-specific features including 64-bit support, Ethernet controllers and virtualization. Companies like HP and Dell are offering ARM servers for testing, but there are acknowledged limitations in the processor, including lack of software support and 32-bit addressing, which limits the memory ceiling of servers. However, 64-bit server chips based on ARM are expected to start shipping commercially in large volumes around 2014 and 2015.

HP's Moonshot server is expected to support both ARM and x86 processors. Intel has not talked about the successor to Avoton chips.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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