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Intel pitches Atom storage platform

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Intel is pitching an Atom processor platform for storage boxes in home networks and small office/home office applications.

Tandberg announced its DPS2000 4-drive storage box late last month and it uses the Atom chip.

The new platform has the newly-launched Atom D410 single-core and D510 dual-core. It also has Intel's 82801IR I/O Controller, six PCI Express lanes, 12 USB 2.0 ports, a port multiplier function, an integrated gigabit Ethernet MAC controller, and eSATA ports so OEMs can add external SATA thingies outside of the box containing this platform. Microsoft Windows Home Server and Linux operating systems support the hardware.

What we have here is an Atom processor with the I/O capabilities needed to build it into NAS filers for the home network or SOHO market. This is going to be cheaper than using other X86 processors such as Xeons.

Intel says products using it will come from LaCie, LG Electronics, QNAP, Synology and Thecus. Apparently LG's Atom D510-powered N4B2 NAS device does fast reads and writes to unspecified "large data files" and lets up to 20 users simultaneously stream high-definition-level (30Mbit/s) data within a local network.

ARM, whose chip designs are used in millions of mobile and smart phones and mobile internet devices, is seeing use of its chips in low-end storage boxes. Intel will want Atom to stop Advanced RISC Machines strong-arming its way into more of the markets it thinks should be Intel fiefs. It would like its Atom to be an ARM-smasher rather than the other way round.

Intel has also announced Atoms with another I/O controller for the embedded market. They include a single core N450, the D410 and D510, coupled with an 82801HM I/O controller with PCIe, PCI, SATA and USB 2.0 interfaces. Intel's talking about using this coupling of Atom and I/O controller for print imaging, digital security surveillance and industrial market segments. ®

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