Intel’s Centerton is a micro server-targeted Atom processor that is supposed to arrive sometime next year and to bring 64-bit support along with ECC and virtualization. HP was planning to get into the micro server business using ARM processors from its small partner called Calxeda.
Now, it seems that HP did a 180 degrees turn and is now announcing micro servers based on Intel’s Centerton.
Back when DELL showed their ARM test servers, it seemed to me that they were practically taunting Intel with their “Copper” ARM server project that they announced earlier this year.
I even got a chance to ask DELL about its intentions with Marvell Armada XP and how come Intel’s main partner was going for ARM.
After all, DELL was the company that remained Intel's exclusive partner all throughout the seven years between 1999 and late 2006 when AMD had the superior architecture and performance.
Intel poured money into DELL for most of that period and lately it was shown that DELL might have actually posted losses if it wouldn’t have been for Intel’s marketing funds.
The company’s representative claimed there was no “taunting” involved and that Intel and DELL are “best buddies.”
In my opinion, DELL won’t launch ARM-based servers too soon and the move is only to get better prices and other advantages from Intel.
We believe HP’s partnership with Calxeda was only put into practice to get Intel to offer HP a better deal. Intel’s Centerton is said to bring sub 10 watts power consumption. There are reports that place “Centerton” at a 6W TDP and if the architecture is similar to Clover Field or Medfield, it seems that the processors will run at high frequencies, such as 2 GHz or more. A 6 watt Atom CPU built on in 22 nm technology will likely be able to achieve a very high frequency and this will give ARM a run for their money. The thing is that ARM server processors are available now and they are trouncing Intel’s Xeon in specific benchmarks.