Intel Outlines Low-Power Processor Roadmap at IDF 2012

David Perlmutter, Intel Chief Product Officer said 4th generation Intel Core processors due next year will enable faster and cooler systems with built-in graphics at the Intel Developer Forum 2012 in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO – Chipmaker Intel this week laid out broad strategies to power everything from the largest data center to the smallest device. At the 2012 Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco, the company updated its road map  for the processor market, including  brawny cores, wimpy cores and processor developments or high performance computing (HPC).

Wimpy Core

As data centers continue to focus on energy efficiency and reducing the power used by equipment,  Intel (INTL) outlined a roadmap for low-power processors and the increasingly popular microserver market segment. Available now are 45 watt and 17 watt Xeon E3 processors.

Intel chief David (Dadi) Perlmutter said Intel reduced the platform idle power of processors based on its “Haswell” microarchitecture by more than 20 times. He also said Intel will add a new line of even lower-power processors based on the same microarchitecture to its roadmap starting in 2013.

Haswell has generated a lot of buzz at IDF 2012, as the 4th generation core, low-power mobile processor for the Ultrabook market. The Intel Atom S-Series 6 watt processor is on track for the fourth quarter of 2012 and is due to be replaced in 2013 with the Avoton 22nm chip.

Avoton is a SoC (System-on-Chip) based on 3D Tri-Gate 22nm transistor technology and is expected to have sub-9 watt power consumption. Intel’s general manager of cloud infrastructure Jason Waxman discussed and demonstrated the Atom-based SoC for servers at GigaOm’s 2012 Structure conference in June. Also this past June, HP announced that it had selected the Avoton (code named Centeron) chip for project Moonshot, where it looked  to leverage workload-optimized, extreme low-energy “server cartridges” in a unique enclosure that pools resources across thousands of servers.

An overview of Intel’s roadmap for low-power processors.

Brawny Core

Diane Bryant, corporate VP and GM of Intel’s Data Center and Connected Systems Group announced that the next generation of Intel Ivy Bridge Xeon E7 and E5 processor families are currently being sampled and will be in production some time next year, according to Diane Bryant, corporate VP and GM of Intel’s Data Center and Connected Systems Group. Sandy Bridge Xeon’s were announced in March of this year. The Ivy Bridge E5 and E7 chips are expected to offer enhanced virtualization features with APICv  – a virtual Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller.

Server Chip Market

The server market has undoubtedly changed in recent years. Intel’s Diane Bryant told Wired at IDF that Google is “something like number five” on the list of  the world’s server makers. She went on to say that eight server makers account for 75 percent of Intel’s server chip revenues.


Before Intel’s Phi co-processor launch it landed the 150th spot on the June 2012 Top500 supercomputer list. The IBM Blue Gene/P system utilizes an Intel Xeon E5-2670 cluster, with Infiniband FDR and the Phi co-processor using Intel’s Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture for highly parallel workloads. Intel’s HPC portfolio spans high-powered Xeon processors, the Xeon Phi co-processor, fabric innovations and acquired engineering teams from Qlogic and Cray, and software, such as its recent Whamcloud acquisition.

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) will use a combination of Xeon E5 and Xeon Phi in its Stampede supercomputer, set to launch in January 2013. The NSF-funded project is in partnership with Dell and Intel, and will drive hundreds of scientific discovery projects across a number of domains.

The 2012 Intel Developer Forum conversation can be found on Twitter at #IDF2012.

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About the Author

John Rath is a veteran IT professional and regular contributor at Data Center Knowledge. He has served many roles in the data center, including support, system administration, web development and facility management.

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