Comdex 2001: Intel targets ultra-dense server market

Intel used Comdex as a launch platform for a chip designed exclusively for ultra-dense servers.

Intel used Comdex as a launch platform for a chip designed exclusively for ultra-dense servers.

It expects the chip to feature in a wave of new server blade offerings from companies such as Compaq, IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

The 700MHz Ultra Low Voltage Pentium III chip consumes only 1.1 volts during normal operation. This makes it ideal for dense server architectures, such as server blades, that promise maximum server density with reduced power consumption, according to Shannon Poulin, a launch and disclosures manager with Intel.

Combined with Intel's mobile 440GX chip set, the 0.13-micron architecture Pentium III offers 512Kbytes of on-chip cache memory and support for industry-standard PC 100 synchronous dynamic Ram.

As server blades progress into multiple-processor configuration, Intel plans to release a dual-processor version of the new Ultra Low Voltage Pentium III in the first quarter of 2002, Poulin said.

Intel believes that server blades hold the promise of becoming the default server architecture of the future, and is positioning itself to be the primary chip provider for server blades.

Server blades are a new breed of ultra-dense server that sport a revolutionary vertical design that lends itself well to low-power, low-heat operation while allowing users to fit hundreds of server blades in a standard rack.

Early entrances into the server blade market from companies such as RLX Technologies, Racemi and Compaq initially courted mobile chips from Intel rival Transmeta. But Intel saw the growing market for server blade processors and has now overtaken Transmeta, said John Enck, senior research director for Gartner Group.

But the early market was mainly comprised of service providers looking for dense front-end server solutions, Enck added. Now, as larger server companies such as Compaq, IBM and HP begin to look at server blades, "they look for things like ECC [error correcting code], which Transmeta does not have", he said.

"Intel wasn't in the best position to deliver these types of [server blade chips] until the big boys started getting into the idea of blades," Enck said. "Now Intel is really serious about producing a more competitive low-voltage product than ever before."

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