Intel wants to squeeze ARM out of server market with Xeon D

The Intel Xeon Processor D is an interesting processor.
The Intel Xeon Processor D is an interesting processor.

Intel has pulled the curtains on the latest additions to its server-focused Xeon family with immediate availability.

The Xeon Processor D fills a gap between the low-end Atom-based C2750 and the mainstream Xeon E5 range and looks destined to reinforce Intel's formidable armada as competition from ARM (via Cavium, Calxeda, Applied Micro and AMD) heats up.

With the Xeon D, Intel moves the focus from the Data Center edge to the Network edge, a clear threat to ARM's established partners like Freescale, Broadcom or Marvell.

Amongst the target products are edge routers, microservers wireless base stations, network and security appliances as well as entry-level NAS and SANs.

And Intel is coming out with all guns blazing with more than 50 design wins expected on the Xeon Processor D range, including the likes of Cisco, NEC, HP, QCT, Sugon and Supermicro.

The Xeon D range consists of two models, the 1520 and the 1540, both of which have a 45W TDP and are system-on-chip solutions. They're based on the Broadwell architecture (Haswell shrink and 14nm manufacturing process).

First Broadwell server chip

Intel says that the more powerful of the two, the 1540, has eight cores, with 16 threads and is clocked at 2GHz.

The company quotes a performance improvement of up to 3.4x compared to the C2750 and 1.7x better performance per watt (although the figure is likely to be higher as the tests were carried out on a pre-production Xeon Processor D clocked at 1.9GHz).

What is likely to make vendors and businesses more excited, beyond the performance, is that it integrates connectivity and other IOs.

There's support for two 10GbE Ethernet, 24x PCIe 3, 8x PCIe 2, six SATA3 and four USB 3.0 ports. Others will like the fact that it supports up to 12MB of L3 cache and can address up to 128GB of DDR4 memory.

The Xeon Processor D is already available to select partners. Price starts from $199 (about £130, AU$230) for the D-1520.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.