Xeon processors are set to welcome a few more ultra low-voltage members according to Sean Maloney, the head honcho of Intel Architecture Group, who was addressing the audience at a keynote speech at Intel's Developer Forum.
The product he unveiled was the Intel Xeon L3426 - a quad core processor - with a TDP of 45 watts. Scheduled to be launched soon and produced using a 45nm manufacturing process, the L3226 is clocked at 1.86GHz and comes with 8MB cache. Intel has also plans for a dual core model with TDP 33 percent lower to be launched in Q1 2010.
In parallel, Intel has unveiled a new platform called the Micro Server which is a single socket system aimed at packing as many processors as possible per unit volume, complete with heatsink and ECC memory modules. The motherboard showed was around 200mm x 120mm.
Intel points out that the manufacturer's design would allow up to 228 servers to be fitted in a single cabinet and squarely aims at web service providers like Amazon or Google.
Maloney pointed out that not so long ago, manufacturers were aiming to squeeze 30 watts into laptops and underlined the fact that up to a quarter of a data center costs goes to power.
And Gordon Haff from Cnet to mention, not without some irony, that just like Thin clients and Net-PCs, Microservers have been around as blade servers for nearly a decade. He mentions the likes of RLX technologies which has been flogging them back then.
Still Intel can afford to go even lower than 45w for a Quad Core processor. Back in 2006, it launched a dual core ULV Xeon CPU, clocked at 1.66GHz with 2MB cache and which had a TDP of 15w only.
Intel might have opened a Pandora box here. By marketing the blade server, Intel will create a new segment, just like for the netbook, where ARM still has an absolute advantage. Even running at 2GHz, a Dual Core Cortex A9 will dissipate only 2W.