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‘Low power’ server packs 64 Xeon processors

Jan 31, 2012 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 20 views

SeaMicro says it has packed 64 Intel Xeon processors into a device it says “uses half the power, takes one-third the space, and delivers twelve times the bandwidth of today's best-in-class servers.” The SM10000-XE has up to 2 terabytes of DDR3 memory, up to 64 SATA hard disks or solid state drives (SSDs), and up to 16 10 gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) or 64 1GbE ports, the company says.

We last looked at "power-saving" servers last November, when Calxeda announced its ARM-based ECX-1000 "server-on-a-chip" and HP said it would use the processor in "Redstone Server Development Platform" products during the first half of 2012. Given that there's no ARM-ready version of Windows Server software, the HP devices will run Linux — most likely Canonical's Ubuntu, it was reported at the time.

Intel and Sunnyvale, Calif.-based SeaMicro counter that it's possible to trim the power diet of Windows-ready x86 servers too, thanks to newly designed processors and architectures. Last March, the chipmaker announced four new CPUs intended for the "micro server" market, including the Xeon E3-1260L (four cores, 2.4GHz basic clock speed, 3.3GHz clock speed, 8MB L3 cache, 45-Watt TDP).

Also in 2011, SeaMicro unveiled a pair of servers that are 10U high (17.5 inches), 19 inches wide, and 30 inches deep — each containing 64 separate processor cards. The cards are said to be linked by a backplane known as the "Freedom Supercomputer Fabric," with a claimed capacity of 1.28Tb/sec.

Sea Micro's new SM10000-XE looks externally identical to its Atom-powered siblings
(Click to enlarge)

The original SM10000-64 offered four dual-core Atom N570 (dual-core, 1.66GHz) chips per processor card, for a total of 256 CPUs. The SM10000-64 HD, announced in July, increased the density to six N570s per card, for a total of 384.

Now, with the new SM10000-XE, SeaMicro has upgraded the processor cards yet again, placing a single Xeon E3-1260L on each in place of the multiple Atoms. Though the total number of threads becomes eight instead of the twelve that a SM10000-64 HD card provide, overall computing power is better, the company says.

The SM10000-XE contains 64 of these Xeon-based CPU cards

According to SeaMicro, the overall power consumption of the SM10000-XE is comparable to the SM10000-64 HD, at 3500 Watts. Each card accepts up to 32GB of error-correcting DDR3 memory, for a total capacity of as much as 2 TB; meanwhile, it's possible to jam as many as 64 2.5-inch hard disks or SSDs into the system, adds the company.

Like its Atom-powered siblings, the SM100000-XE includes redundant power supplies, multiple fans, integrated load balancing, and a terminal server. The server supports up to eight Ethernet cards in all, SeaMicro says: either 1GbE cards with eight interfaces apiece, or 10GbE cards with two interfaces each.

Andrew Feldman, CEO of SeaMicro, stated, "The addition of the SM10000-XE to the SM10000 family allows one architecture to support big and small processors — enabling customers to match their workload to the processor best suited for that work. The SeaMicro SM10000 family delivers a single architecture capable of supporting different processor types, each optimized for a different type of work."

Further information

According to Sea Micro, the SM10000-XE system is available now, starting at $138,000. More information may be found on the SM10000 product page.

Jonathan Angel can be reached at [email protected] and followed at

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