Amazon to use custom Xeon to power new M4 instances for EC2

Server chip flexes muscle again

Amazon has added another VM instance to its AWS (Amazon Web Services) cloud computing platform. M4, as it is known, uses custom Intel Xeon Haswell-based processors; the E5-2676 v3 is clocked at 2.4GHz and appears to be a variant of the 2670. It comes with 30MB of L2 cache, 12 cores/24 threads and support for 768GB of system memory.

Five instances are available, with the largest, m4.10xlarge, offering up to 40 virtual CPUs and 160GB of memory as well as dedicated bandwidth via Amazon's EBS (Elastic Block Store) and a 10Gb connection.

AWS, which turns 10 next year, offers nearly 40 instances, some of them with storage and some like the m4.10xlarge, without.

Powerful but expensive

The cloud computing giant has also improved its networking performance by offering a new feature called Enhanced Networking which promises a higher packet per second performance, lower network jitter and lower network latencies.

The latter is particularly desirable for gaming servers or business applications like SAP or Microsoft SharePoint. Prices vary according to location; the cheapest m4.large instance costs $0.139 per hour (EU Ireland data centre) while the most expensive one costs $2.78 per hour.

In comparison, the most affordable Amazon instance, t2.micro is available for rent for a mere $0.0.14 per hour. Users can cut down on costs by reserving instances on up to 3-year term saving up to 57% (but having to pay everything upfront).

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Désiré (Twitter, Google+) has been musing and writing about technology since 1997. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global techfests, developing an uncanny attraction for anything silicon, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro.