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Intel's Broadwell-based Xeon D marks first foray into Xeon SoC integration

By Michael Low & Koh Wanzi - on 12 Mar 2015, 7:53pm

Intel's Broadwell-based Xeon D marks first foray into Xeon SoC integration

Image source: Intel.

Intel recently just announced its first ever Xeon D SoC product family based on its latest 14nm Broadwell architecture. It looks to capitalize on the strengths of existing Xeon E processors in the server space and combine the computing prowess of Xeon with the low power requirements of an SoC in a small package.

This latest announcement comes at a time of rapid proliferation of connected devices (IoT) and growing demand for low-power, high-density infrastructure solutions (such as network storage products). Intel is positioning its Xeon D SoCs as the solution to the increasing pressures on network infrastructures that need to boost efficiency while also dealing with heavier data loads. "By bringing Intel Xeon processor performance to a lower-power SoC, we’re delivering the best of both worlds and enabling our customers to deliver exciting new services," says Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Data Center Group.

According to Intel, Xeon D will deliver up to 3.4 times faster performance per node and up to 1.7 times better performance per watt when compared to the Intel Atom processor C2750, part of Intel’s second-generation 64-bit SoC product family. And as expected of its Xeon pedigree, Xeon D processors deliver key server-oriented features such as server-class reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS), support for error-correcting code (ECC) memory and built-in hardware virtualization, encryption and decryption.

As an SoC, Xeon D has its I/O components and networking (dual 10GbE) and storage controllers built onto the chip itself, and supports up to 128GB of DDR4 memory. These new chips are designed to operate at a thermal design point (TDP) of close to 20 watts and will first be available in these two SKUs:-

  • A four-core Intel Xeon Processor D-1520 (2.2GHz, 8 threads with HT) with an estimated MRSP of US$199.
  • An eight-core Intel Xeon Processor D-1540 (2.0GHz, 16 threads with HT) with an a estimated MSRP of US$581.

Companies which are currently designing microservers based on Intel Xeon D include Cisco, HP, NEC, Quanta Cloud Technology, Sugon and Supermicro, which should give fellow chipmaker ARM and its 64-bit SoCs some pause, including those from AMD that utilize the ARM architecture to address the compact high-density server market.

Source: Intel, HotHardware, PC Magazine.