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Intel unveils new customisable chips for the data centre

Intel has unveiled new customisable chips for the data centre based on its Xeon processors.

Diane Bryant, general manager of Intel's data centre group, revealed the new tech which she noted was the first time that server customers will be able to include their own software via an integrated FPGA (field programmable gate array).

Essentially, the chips will be programmable towards specific ends, for example to optimise video compression or web search, or whatever the end user needs.

Last year, Intel pushed out 15 custom offerings to the likes of eBay and Facebook, and Bryant said that more custom solutions are in the works for this year, with more than twice that number (30+) expected to emerge before 2014 is out.

However, the new tech goes further still, with FPGA allowing the customer the capability to customise and program the chips to speed up their own critical algorithms for a "dramatic" increase in performance. They'll be reprogrammable, too, so as workloads change over time the company will be able to adapt their servers.

Intel observes that industry benchmarks peg FPGA-based accelerators as delivering performance gains of a factor of 10 or more, and with its Xeon processor and FPGA combo, users can expect an additional factor of 2 when it comes to speeding tasks.

Bryant said: "This is an example of Intel leading a massive transformation at the silicon level of the data centre to drive increased value to our customers."

"Our new Xeon+FPGA solution provides yet another customised option, one more tool for customers to use to improve their critical data centre metric of 'Performance/TCO'. It highlights our commitment to delivering the very best solutions across all data centre workloads and our passion to lead in the transformation of the industry to cloud services."