Linked by sawboss on Sat 29th Jan 2011 00:15 UTC
Intel "The Intel Atom processor line is associated with low power usage in devices such as a netbook or nettop computer. The emphasis is definitely not on performance, it's on pushing up battery life on a device with a small display and mid-range graphics requirements while still managing a decent desktop experience. Microsoft thinks Atom can do more, though, and wants to use it in servers. With that in mind it is calling on Intel to up the cores in an Atom chip to 16, and deploying it as a low power server chip solution."
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RE: New OS?
by Morgan on Sat 29th Jan 2011 01:10 UTC in reply to "New OS?"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Where did you see anything about a "New OS"? Nothing in the summary or the linked article suggested that, though the article mentioned Microsoft's interest in porting to ARM in the future.

Just curious, not trying to flame.

As for many-core Atoms, I say bring it on, if it's possible for Intel to do so in the same size package anyway. The Atom is already quite small for its relative power and features.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: New OS?
by kaiwai on Sat 29th Jan 2011 04:36 UTC in reply to "RE: New OS?"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Where did you see anything about a "New OS"? Nothing in the summary or the linked article suggested that, though the article mentioned Microsoft's interest in porting to ARM in the future.

Just curious, not trying to flame.

As for many-core Atoms, I say bring it on, if it's possible for Intel to do so in the same size package anyway. The Atom is already quite small for its relative power and features.


Maybe he is concluding that based on the R&D work done on those three operating systems and the request for a stripped down simplified CPU made up of many cores is an indication of the need to have an OS built from the ground up to address such a system rather than strapping on and bandaging up an existing one.

I'd love to see a new operating system to gradually replace what exists today but as Microsoft management have noted many times - legacy code is an asset for Microsoft; they aren't going to throw away an asset even if it means that things aren't as highly optimised as they would be if they started with a clean slate.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: New OS?
by Morgan on Sat 29th Jan 2011 04:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: New OS?"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

That's an interesting take, I didn't think of it that way.

Thank you. ;)

Reply Score: 2

New race with ARM?
by bannor99 on Sat 29th Jan 2011 03:26 UTC
bannor99
Member since:
2005-09-15

With ARM muscling in to the desktop /server space either with or without Nvidia, I think Intel might have been thinking of doing this whether M$ was interested or not.

Reply Score: 1

RE: New race with ARM?
by geist on Sat 29th Jan 2011 04:03 UTC in reply to "New race with ARM?"
geist Member since:
2005-07-11

Intel probably has to be careful not to compete too heavily with their own bigger cpus for the bottom line. I'd imagine their margins aren't quite as big for the low end cpus.

Of course they could sell a Xeon version of atom and mark it up pretty heavily.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: New race with ARM?
by bannor99 on Sat 29th Jan 2011 04:08 UTC in reply to "RE: New race with ARM?"
bannor99 Member since:
2005-09-15

Probably true. I wonder if ARM would be better off to focus on the blade market for now. Nervous buyers might be more willing to give them a chance if they can do a simple swap if they don't measure up.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: New race with ARM?
by bazerka on Sat 29th Jan 2011 07:54 UTC in reply to "RE: New race with ARM?"
bazerka Member since:
2006-07-23

I'd imagine any 16 core Atom variant would be marketed purely for the server arena and as such, would command a commensurate price.

Reply Score: 1

Intel Niagara... ;-)
by sergio on Sat 29th Jan 2011 03:54 UTC
sergio
Member since:
2005-07-06

I think a 16 core Atom can compete directly with Oracle UltraSPARC T2... there's no similar product in the x86 camp.

T2s are pretty pretty good for web servers and (lite) virtualization. I think an x86 alternative will be even better (and cheaper).

Reply Score: 4

intel vs arm
by TechGeek on Sat 29th Jan 2011 06:18 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

This is probably a move to make Microsoft's life easier. While they announced that they would have an ARM based OS in the future, if Intel does this Microsoft may not need to spend the money porting it. Intel will do all the work and Microsoft will reap the rewards. This benefits Intel too, steering people away from ARM.

Reply Score: 2

RE: intel vs arm
by shotsman on Sat 29th Jan 2011 08:10 UTC in reply to "intel vs arm"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

It is ok for MS for want to run 16 core systems like this but there is a major drawback.

If this new chip is for the server market then the big apps that typically run in this space (eg ORacle, SAP, SalesForce etc etc etc) are going to have to modify their per CPU Licensing costs considerably otherwise you might find that Intel goes to all the trouble of producing said CPU only to find it rejected in the corporate world.
What business (except SCO maybe) would pay the same per CPU prices for an Atom as a Xeon with it's much faster and more capable server envornoment?
I'd want to take a long hard look at the my software app costs before buying one of these.
Just go and see how much Oracle RDBMS costs on a 16CPU Box. You will be staggered. They are not alone here.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: intel vs arm
by bittenbak on Sat 29th Jan 2011 10:30 UTC in reply to "RE: intel vs arm"
bittenbak Member since:
2011-01-29

Oracle has different prices for different architectures.
For a SUN/Oracle T1 the price per core is like 25%, for T2 or Intel 50% and Power6 100%.

But why run oracle rdbms on Atom processors???
If you can afford Oracle you can afford Xeon which has more cache, faster IO.

Microsoft only charges SQL Server per socket.
And Postgresql nothing at all.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: intel vs arm
by shotsman on Sat 29th Jan 2011 16:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: intel vs arm"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Oracle would still want to charge the same per CPU for the Atom as for a XEON as both are X86 architectures.

Yeah I know it is slightly crazy to want to run the mighty Oracle on a wimpy processor like Atom but as I indicated if this is aimed at low power servers then customers might well get a shock when they come to price up the Software they want to run.
Unless these softare vendors change their per Core licensing charges then MS will not see a great takeup for this 16 Core CPU outside their own price book.
Oh wait, that is what they want isn't it?

I use already Atom based servers myself. These are EEE-Box based ones and run CentOS. For lightweight or I/O light use they are perfect.

Reply Score: 2

Microsoft + Atom = Apps
by n0xx on Sat 29th Jan 2011 10:26 UTC
n0xx
Member since:
2005-07-12

I think the whole reason behind this is application availability.

It's a known fact that Microsoft's closest competitor in the server market is Linux. One of the major advantages Linux has over Windows on ARM is the availability native and kind-of-highly-portable applications, that include most of it's software stack, from core OS functionality like GNU-Base to KDE/Gnome desktop to all the server tools we've all grown to know and love/hate. Most those are just a recompile away.

Windows on the other hand, and all things being as they are today, needs an emulation layer to run on ARM all the x86 binaries which comprise the vast majority of it's software stack. This will significantly reduce the benefit and viability of choosing Windows as a desktop or server platform on non x86 systems, but it's particularly bad for the server side of things. God knows how many companies are still running mid 90s versions of Oracle or Dbase or whatnot.

It's in Microsoft's best interest to see that Atom triumphs over ARM as the dominant server chip because it effectively denies the Linux/OSS portability advantage.

My 2 cents.

Reply Score: 5

ASP.NET is portable
by nt_jerkface on Sun 30th Jan 2011 03:04 UTC in reply to "Microsoft + Atom = Apps"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

Web data centers are the ones interested in saving power and ASP.NET is not tied to x86.

Businesses running server applications don't care about shaving watts.

Reply Score: 3

RE: ASP.NET is portable
by Lennie on Sun 30th Jan 2011 12:03 UTC in reply to "ASP.NET is portable"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Also/Especially Microsoft own stack like Windows Server, Sharepoint, SQL-server, Exchange, Office and IE on Terminal Server and so on.

Reply Score: 3

atom is pitiful...
by bnolsen on Sat 29th Jan 2011 13:49 UTC
bnolsen
Member since:
2006-01-06

Its very pitiful performance wise. I strongly suspect its that way precisely because intel wants to sell their higher end processors and are afraid of making atom too good which would eat into their more lucrative sales. Frankly a down clocked core i3 vastly outperforms an atom with not much more power use. Neither of these parts are in the same league power wise as ARM though. I wish there were some benchmarks run comapring cortex a9 to atom. I suspect we'll need full linux running on one of these to get those numbers.

Reply Score: 3

Dell Fortuna anyone?
by plague on Sat 29th Jan 2011 16:19 UTC
plague
Member since:
2006-05-08

Ok, so Dell Fortuna does not use a multicore chip, but the entire Via Nano based server is about the same size as a 3.5" harddrive, meaning they can fit 12 of them in a 2U chassi, and pretty damn powerefficient aswell (20-29 Watts at full use per server).
Sure a multicore chip may be even better, but what I mean is that a chip of Atom/Nano caliber is already used in servers today, and has been for almost two years, and with their low voltage/small size you can fit alot of them in the same physical space as one "regular" server.

Edited 2011-01-29 16:20 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Performance per watt?
by metalf8801 on Sat 29th Jan 2011 22:49 UTC
metalf8801
Member since:
2010-03-22

Does anyone know how the Atom's performance per watt compares to the lower powered Xeon CPUs?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Performance per watt?
by shotsman on Sun 30th Jan 2011 13:24 UTC in reply to "Performance per watt? "
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

the problem with any comparison of the CPU's power consumption vs performance will be the relative performance of all the other things that go into making up a working Computer. Viz, the Motherboard, Chipsets and Memory.
Unless you can factor them into the results very carefully, it will be very hard to judge the comparitive performance.
For example the (AFAIK)current Xeons use DDR3 Ram whereas all the Atom's I've seen use DDR2 and Laptop format sticks at that.

Reply Score: 2