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NAS reference platform builds on Pineview Atoms

Mar 4, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Intel announced a SOHO-oriented network-attached storage (NAS) reference platform based on its D410 and dual-core D510 “Pineview” Atom processors and 82801R I/O controller. NAS vendors LaCie, LG Electronics, Qnap, Synology, and Thecus will incorporate the Linux-compatible platform in upcoming NAS devices, starting with the Blu-ray burner-equipped LG N4B2, says Intel.

Targeting small office/home office (SOHO) NAS devices, Intel's unnamed NAS reference platform offers significant power savings based on its new Pineview Atom processors, which offer up to 50 percent power reduction compared to earlier Atom CPUs, according to the company. NAS vendors, including LaCie, LG Electronics, Qnap, Synology, and Thecus are all developing NAS products based on the reference platform, says Intel.

The NAS reference platform offers six PCI Express lanes, 12 USB 2.0 ports, a port multiplier function, and eSATA ports for storage expansion, says Intel. Hot-plug capability is said to be provided, as well as integrated gigabit Ethernet MAC controller. The platform also supports both Linux and Microsoft Windows Home Server, says the company. No other details were provided. 

The platform consists of the Intel Atom D410 or the dual-core D510, both of which primarily target entry-level desktop PCs. Like the third Pineview processor, the N450, the D410 and D510 run at 1.66GHz. (This week the processors were joined by a speedier 1.83Ghz version of the N450 aimed at high-end netbooks, called the N470.)

Intel mates Pineviews with I/O-savvy controller

The Pineview processors do not require a northbridge chipset because Intel has integrated memory controllers and graphics cores (the GMA3150) on-die, so only a I/O controller is needed. For netbooks, Intel suggests its NM10 I/O controller, while the 82801HM (ICH8M) I/O controller is being employed on embedded designs.

For its new NAS reference platform, meanwhile, Intel is specifying its 82801IR controller, which offers RAID and is said to offer greater processing performance. Launched in 2007, the controller is an embedded-focused part with a maximum TDP of 4.3 Watts (compared to under two Watts for the NM10).

The controller supports up to 12 USB 2.0 ports and six SATA ports, while also providing for gigabit Ethernet and IDE connectivity, says Intel. In addition, it boasts support for PCI Express and PCI expansion, says the company.

Prototype of LG's N4B2
(Source: Tom's Hardware)

It appears that the first NAS device based on the Intel reference platform will be LG's N4B2. According to a Tom's Hardware story dating back to early January, LG was showing off the device at the CES show. The device is said to be notable for its built-in Blu-ray burner/rewriter. According to Tom's, which posted the photo shown above, the N4B2 offers four HDD bays, allowing for 8TB of storage, and comes with eSATA ports and a memory card reader.

The site did not list what embedded OS was incorporated in the N4B2, but the device is said to support interconnections with Windows, Mac, and Linux systems, and will be available "later this year." LG itself does not appear to have posted any information on the product. LinuxDevices has covered Linux-based NAS devices from all the other companies listed as working on devices based on the Intel reference platform — except for LG. Recent links to those device may be found at the end of the Related Stories section at the end of the story.

The N4B2 model shown at CES was equipped with an Atom N280, according to the story. This is now being swapped out for the D510, according to Intel. The company claims that its benchmarks show the device performing fast reads and writes of large data files, enabling up to 20 users to simultaneously stream high-definition-level (30Mbps) data within a local network.

Stated Erwan Girard, professional business unit manager, LaCie, "We are excited to work with Intel and leverage this game-changing technology to offer a new level of powerful and robust features to our customers."


Intel did not offer pricing or availability information on the Intel NAS reference platform based on the Atom D410 and D510. Additional information on the platform may eventually become available at Intel's storage platform page, here.

The Tom's Hardware item on the LG N4B2 NAS device should be here.

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