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Calxeda Reveals More Details About ARM-Based Server Chip

Calxeda, the secretive startup that wants to bring ARM to the lucrative server market, has released a few more details about its first reference design, one which has already been provided to OEM partners and developers.

Richard Fichera of analyst powerhouse Forrester, writes that the Calxeda system on chip will allow OEMs design servers with 120 quad core nodes in an industry standard 2U enclosure.

The nodes will be made up of an ARM Cortex-A9 Quad core running at an unknown speed and will consume on average 5 watts per node (or 1.25 watts per core) including DRAM (that's 600 Watts for the whole enclosure).

The Cortex-A9 Dual Core Hard Macro Implementations on a 40nm TSMC process shows that at 800MHz, a dual core power optimised A9 consumes 500mW; so it is likely that the Calxeda design sticks to this template although how much power the DRAM portion will consume remains an unknown.

Calxeda did not provide with any benchmarks or any details regarding pricing, exact specification and/or availability; but they did confirm that they will provide a "performance advantage of 5X to 10X the performance/watt" compared to any product on the market, even accounting for a "generous margin" for competitors like Intel and AMD.

The SoC is also said to contain an "embedded fabric" that will allow each server to communicate with each other. The Calxeda chip will face some serious competition from the likes of Seamicro, Nvidia (with Project Denver) and Marvell with its Armada XP server chip.