Intel and ARM have for some time now been sidling up to each other, with both sides taking aim at the others’ perceived areas of dominance and now ARM is looking to target the server market.
Intel’s x86 processors have dominated the computer server market for many year, but British-based upstart ARM believes its low-power chips will make running servers a lot more cost effrective.
The ARM-based processors will be seen in a new server from HP called Redstone, with the company calling the new initiative Project Moonshot.
The processors will be built by Texas-based company Calxeda, who will use ARM’s designs to build 32-bit quad-core processors called the EnergyCore. It has been rumoured that HP would put 64-bit chips into its new servers, as ARM had announced a new 64-bit instruction set last week.
The reason HP is choosing to go with ARM-based chips is all down to the power- and space-saving afforded by the chips. The EnergyCore System-on-a-Chip claims to use just 1.5 watts per processor.
As a result of the HP server giving off less heat - due to the decreased power - the company claims that some users would experience a space-saving of up to 94 per cent.
But of course there is a trade-off in terms of processing power, with HP admitting the ARM-based chips would be suitable for delivering static web pages, but not tasks that involved heavy number-crunching. As a result HP will also be offering Intel’s energy efficient Atom processor as an alternative.
If HP’s new server proves popular, it could open up a huge new licensing stream for ARM considering HP is currently the world’s largest server manufacturer with 30 per cent of the market.