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
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.