Microservers: TI Announces Six New ARM-Based SoCs

Microservers: TI Announces Six New ARM-Based SoCs
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TI Announces Six New ARM-Based SoCs TI Announces Six New ARM-Based SoCs Texas Instruments Keystone ARM SoC: 200 GFlops, 13 Watts.

As much as we know that microservers are considered to be one of the most significant innovations in data center technology, little do we know just how powerful these servers are and what they will be able to accomplish.

TI today announced six new ARM-based SoCs that shed some light on target applications and theoretical performance. The new SoCs range from a dual-core to a 12-core processor that will grab the attention of IT managers - and Intel.

The battle ground of server processors between ARM and x86 architectures is largely defined by performance capability and power consumption on the other. Intel has long dominated the performance and power disciplines, but the company concedes that ARM has its roots and strength in low-power processors.

ARM has the same respect for Intel on the performance side and is careful not to make any overly optimistic claims that it can challenge Intel in this space anytime soon. In fact, we recently learned that ARM may not have so much interest in directly colliding with Intel in the data center initially.

However, there will be intersections where the lines between Intel and ARM vendors will blur, especially between Intel's upcoming Atom S processors and ARMv8 (64-bit) architecture SoCs that are expected to be available as pre-production chips next year and for commercial servers in 2014. However, Intel will not be competing with ARM directly.

It will be running against vendors such as Calxeda, Marvell, Applied Micro and Texas Instruments (TI). TI is the most recent entry in this field: The company believes that it does not have to wait for the 64-bit architecture and there is a market opportunity for 32-bit chips based on ARM's Cortex-A15 core as well. The new TI Keystone series targets three specific target applications—purpose-built servers, enterprise applications and power networking—and certainly has the ingredients to clash with Intel with its high-end chips.

This new series is another indication thatIntel will have to defend itself against a rapidly expanding ARM ecosystem that will offer custom chips that flourish on the grounds of perceived opportunity for ARM vendors. IT managers can expect more choice of hardware that is tailored to their specific needs than ever before.


Wolfgang GruenerWolfgang GruenerWolfgang Gruener is a contributor to Tom's IT Pro. He is currently principal analyst at Ndicio Research, a market analysis firm that focuses on cloud computing and disruptive technologies, and maintains the conceivablytech.com blog. An 18-year veteran in IT journalism and market research, he previously published TG Daily and was managing editor of Tom's Hardware news, which he grew from a link collection in the early 2000s into one of the most comprehensive and trusted technology news sources.

See here for all of Wolfgang's Tom's IT Pro articles.

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