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Jul 10, 2012

Boston Limited Revolutionary ARM “Viridis” Servers with Calxeda Processors

We have talked about Calxeda’s impressive energy efficient quad-core processors. We also reported about the its performance and energy efficiency. Now, server maker Boston Limited is announcing the new “Viridis” server line using Calxeda’s EnergyCore SoCs.

SoC is short for System on Chip, which are quad-core ARM processors based on ARM’s Cortex A9 architecture. Boston’s new servers pack 48 nodes in a 2U enclosure and are, thus, able to offer an impressive 4032 cores in a single standard 42U rack. A node is in fact a Calxeda EnergyCore SoC with four Cortex A9 ARM cores inside with its 4GB of RAM, flash memory and network controllers. Practically, the 2U server box will house 192 Cortex A9 cores and will consume a maximum of just 240 watts. Packing so much processing power in a 2U modular enclosure consuming an average of less than 150 watts is truly amazing. The SoCs are mounted in “POCket boards,” which is a term coined by Boston Limited defining a board with four SoCs and four miniDIMM connectors with four SATA ports (one per each EnergyCore processor).

12 such boards are mounted in a 2U enclosure and each one comes with a 10Gbps Ethernet link, which is the interconnector between the main motherboard and POCket board. The thing is that a whole 42U rack packing 4032 Cortex A9 cores running at frequencies between 1.1 GHz and 1.4 GHz will be able to suck up a maximum of 5400 watts, thus making the whole rack consume less than the average instant water heater. Boston Limited claims over 10 times the performance per watt the best Xeon x86 server can offer and we tend to agree with them.

Calxeda Marketing Shot
Image credits to Calxeda

Calxeda EnergyCore Diagram
Image credits to AnandTech


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