Chipmaker AppliedMicro has unveiled a 64-bit ARM processor which promises a low-power and high-performance CPU option for cloud computing and web server hardware.
The X-Gene chips operate at up to 3GHz and contain as many as 128 cores, providing the entire chipset, including network and memory controllers, on a single piece of silicon.
Conventional x86 processors run with additional external chipsets, but the AppliedMicro chips offer a complete server-on-a-chip, according to the company, which could dramatically cut power consumption and cooling costs.
Ed Wu, product marketing manager for AppliedMicro, told V3 that the X-Gene processor line will tackle the low-power, high-performance market rather than compete with Intel's Westmere line and other high-power server chips.
"Those are high-performance, high-powered devices and that is an area where Intel is very strong and will continue to excel. We can offer an optimised performance relative to power and price, something that x86 does not offer," he said.
Among the potential markets for power-optimised chips is the booming cloud computing industry. Companies are increasingly adopting web applications, and AppliedMicro sees service providers using low-power chips to run server farms while keeping power and cooling costs down.
The first X-Gene chips are slated to arrive in 2012, and AppliedMicro eventually hopes to expand into the enterprise IT, mobile and embedded systems markets.
"This is a market segment that will greatly benefit from an optimised performance and cost proposition. We plan to take this and expand it to other adjacent markets," said Wu.
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