Intel UMPC chip enters service as server CPU
Madness or genius?
UK hosting company Bytemark has seen the future of servers and it's... er... a processor designed for tiny laptops and desktops.
Yes, we're talking Intel's Atom, specifically the 1.6GHz 230, which Bytemark's now using as the basis for what it claimed were its lowest-cost dedicated Linux-running servers yet.
An Atom-based box with 2GB of memory and a pair of 100GB SATA drives costs £45 a month to rent, compared to £60 for a unit built around an AMD Athlon LE-1620, 1GB of Ram and a 100GB hard drive.
Bytemark's Atom-based box: lots of empty space
Bytemark charges less to set the system up, too: £50 for the Atom box, £100 for the Athlon. Both CPUs are single-core jobs.
Part of the reason for the lower cost is the power saving: the Atom system consumes 25W in total - a lot less than the Athlon rig does, Bytemark's Matthew Bloch claimed.
"[Atom] might not do for your HD TV playback or gaming," he said, "but when it comes to pricing servers in the data centre, where electricity prices are still marching north, the Atom’s 6W board is king."
Elsewhere, Register Hardware reader Jason Morphett details his experiences building an Atom-based MythTV media centre here.
Intel Atom 230 ultra low-power desktop CPU
Would make sense if:
1) all those things with power supplies ran off 12V (bit of a pisser this one)
2) there weren't at least some of us for whom wiring a 240V circuit is not a Black Art and to whom it had never even occurred to hire someone else to do it (I do my own plumbing, gas fitting and telephone wiring too - you can shove your stalinist bureaucracy where the sun shineth not).
3) all those things that don't have power supplies ran off 12V (a serious pisser this one)
Last, but not least:
4) TPTB would allow this to happen without requiring you to have a license to buy a car battery (showstopper this one).
RE: Labour costs
@ Bill: Since our Atom boards are a fixed spec, you bet there's a reduced setup cost. We can build them 5, 10 at a time, ship them to the data centre en masse and just turn them on as requested. Much less hassle than what needs doing with the value or hotswap servers (custom config, ship 'em one at a time, etc, etc)
Besides, the CPU is already seated in the motherboard. That saves 10 seconds per machine, right there! :p
The intel atom cpu is
actually a classic pentium mmx core produced with the newest technology. It can execute at most 1.5 instructions/clock compared to at least 2 instructions/clock for the pentium pro. This is why you get only around half the effective speed at the same clock speeds compared to the ppro family. It was never intended to be a standalone cpu, it was designed to be embedded into gpus, because intel's gpu system is actually designed to run gpu shader code on x86 cpus. They just decided to sell them as standalone cpus too. However, imho intel should really come up with an atom variant with a built in north bridge. That would solve the power consumption problem and allow smaller systems, while retaining the same functionality.