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Intel Launches Atom S Processor For Micro Servers

The dual-core chip supports hyperthreading, 64-bit software, virtualization and up to 8 GB of DDR3 ECC memory. The SoCs are available in versions ranging from 1.6 GHz to 2.0 GHz.

The processors are placed below Intel's Xeon brand and are marketed in an evolving segment of micro-servers aimed at achieving greater granularity and more efficient data processing. This includes cloud computing environments that rely on static data processing. The Atom S1200 series is part of an effort to protect revenue base, as ARM is pushing into this segment as well and ARM vendors will have 64-bit chips available in late 2013.

In the past, Intel's lowest power offering for servers has been 20 watts (Xeon E3-1220L), which is not good enough to be used in micro-servers. The Atom S series ranges from 6.1 watt TDP (S1240, 1.6 GHz) to 13.1 watts (S1289, 2.0 GHz). As before, Intel charges through the nose for premium processors. The Atom S chips are priced from $54 for the S1220 to $120 for the S1289, which is substantial for a processor class that used to sit in a price region of $20 - $30. However, ARM-based microprocessors for servers are not cheap, either. For example, TI charges for its 32-bit Keystone SoC up to $144.

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