consumption has been a growing concern for CPU designers,
manufacturers, and end-users for
the last decade. The projected exponential growth in power
consumption led Intel to abandon its NetBurst microarchitecture in
favor of the much more efficient Core design. This has also led both
Intel and AMD to focus on multi-core designs that would be more power
efficient and scale more effectively.
also took power efficiency to a whole other level with the Atom
processors. Designed for nettops, netbooks, Mobile Internet Devices
(MIDs), and the embedded market, Atom's relentless focus on power
efficiency over pure performance created several new computing
world's largest semiconductor company is working on multi-core
designs with CPUs that number
in the dozens, but those products are years away from
commercialization. A new startup may have found a way to give them a
run for their money.
figures that most of today’s servers are particularly inefficient
on small simple workloads, and even more inefficient during periods
of low utilization or idle. It believes that microtransactions
are best handled by using hundreds of power-efficient CPUs instead of
larger multi-core chips.
company has developed a new server that can utilize up to 512 Atom
CPUs together. Sixteen Atom CPUs and chipsets are integrated onto a
single PCB along with SeaMicro's proprietary ASIC that handles server
management and load balancing. Up to 32 PCBs are assembled together
to form a single SM10000 server, four of which can fit in a standard
design removes 90% of the components typically found on a motherboard
and consolidates discreet networking components to further reduce
power and cost. Up to 64 GbE and/or 16 x 10GbE uplinks and anywhere
from 0-64 6Gb/s SATA
drives can be used.
secret sauce is SeaMicro's Dynamic Compute Allocation Technology
(DCAT). It has the ability to shut off cores or entire boards, using
its software to determine which is more efficient. Rule based
management is also an option and can be programmed by the customer,
with several default profiles provided.
only major flaw is that SeaMicro's server do not support ECC or
registered memory and therefore should not be used for
mission-critical applications. The current design using Intel's Z-530
Atoms, and can only support 2GB of DDR2 DRAM per chip. However, that
equals 1 Terabyte of DRAM in a full configuration.SeaMicro
claims a higher degree of security than virtualization, because
individual Atom dice or entire boards can be isolated. Each drive can
also be isolated for additional security.
design is platform agnostic, and its flexible architecture can
be made compatible with any x86, ARM, RISC and others designs.
The hardware can also be easily modified for compatibility with
for a SM10000 starts at $139,000 USD. However, SeaMicro claims a 75%
reduction in space and power consumption for an equivalent amount of
performance from mainstream solutions. The associated reduction in
power conditioning and cooling will also help companies save money.
The SM10000 comes with 80Plus
power supplies, and uses less than 2 KW of power.
SM10000 will go on sale at the beginning of July in limited
quantities, with general availability on July 30. SeaMicro already
has multiple customers amongst the top 100 data centers. Applications
with large volumes of microtransactions include free web-based email
(such as Gmail and Hotmail), and social media sites (Facebook and
was founded by industry veterans from leading technology companies
including Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, Sun Microsystems, Intel,
and AMD. The company has raised $25 million from strategic
partners and venture capitalists, and was awarded a $9.3
million grant from the Department of Energy.
quote: Having owned an N270 and currently own an Atom 330, 512 Atom CPUs still doesn't equate to much performance. You're probably still better off, both in terms of performance and power usage, buying a pair of quad core nehalem based silicon.