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Network appliance has dual Xeon CPUs

Feb 22, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Portwell announced a high-end network security appliance sporting two Intel Xeon C5500 or C3500 processors. The CAR-5000 supports up to 96GB of RAM, has two 3.5-inch or eight 2.5-inch drive bays, offers up to 26 gigabit Ethernet ports, and is available with PCI Express expansion slots, the company says.

Just as Lanner did with its recently announced FW-8910, Portwell has adopted Intel's new Xeon processors to craft a high-end, 2U network appliance. The CAR-5000 is said to support either the Xeon C5500 or C3500, though precisely which ones — Intel released eight different C5500/C3500 versions last week — wasn't specified.

The CAR-5000 also employs Intel's 3420 I/O controller, like the other new Xeon devices we covered last week. According to Portwell, the device has 12 240-pin DIMM sockets, allowing it to accept up to 48MB of DDR3 memory per processor.

Non-volatile storage is said to be provided both via a CompactFlash slot and by SATA hard disk drives: either two 3.5-inch drives or eight 2.5-inch units. Though Portwell didn't mention it, RAID configurations are presumably possible, thanks to the inherent capabilities of the 3420.

Portwell's CAR5000

Portwell says the CAR-5000 offers up to 24 gigabit Ethernet ports via three modules, visible above. The device has two additional gigabit Ethernet ports on board for management purposes, an RJ45 connector for a serial console, and an internal header providing VGA output, the company adds.

According to Portwell, the CAR-5000 is also available with optional, front-accessible expansion slots: one PCI Express x8 and two PCI Express x4. The appliance has room for an LCD panel, which can be either a 16 x 2 character display, or a graphical display offering 128 x 32 or 128 x 64 pixels, the company says.

Specifications listed by Portwell for the CAR-5000 include:

  • Processor — Dual Intel Xeon C5500/C3500 CPUs (specific models and clock speeds not listed)
  • Chipset — Intel 3420
  • Memory — Up to 96GB of DDR3 RAM via 12 240-pin DIMM slots
  • Display — serial console or VGA (the latter via header); LCD panel for character or graphical display
  • Storage - 2 x 3.5-inch SATA hard disk drives, or 8 x 2.5-inch drives; CompactFlash slot
  • Expansion:
    • 1 x PCI Express x8 (optional)
    • 2 x PCI Express x4 (optional)
  • Networking — three modules accept up to 24 gigabit Ethernet ports; two additional gigabit Ethernet ports for management purposes
  • Other I/O:
    • 3Gb/s SATA ports (number unspecified)
    • 2 x USB 2.0
  • Operating range — 41 to 95 deg. F (5 to 35 deg. C)
  • Dimensions — 22.8 x 17 x 3.5 inches (580 x 431 x 88mm)
  • Weight — n/s

Intel's new Xeons

Intel's C5500 and C3500 Xeons (right) were first promised under their "Jasper Forest" code name last September, then revealed with their final monikers last week. (See our earlier coverage, here, for a complete listing of the CPUs.) The latest manifestation of Intel's "Nehalem" microarchitecture, they're aimed at communications, storage, wireless infrastructure, routers, military, and security applications, Intel says.

While the C5500 and C3500 are still 45nm parts, they nonetheless represent a breakthrough, says Intel, because they include an I/O hub integrated via PCI Express. The 3420 Platform Controller Hub provides eight PCI Express x1 ports (configurable as x2 and x4), six SATA 3Gb/sec. ports, 12 USB 2.0 ports, and "Matrix Storage Technology," the chipmaker says. Intel adds that the 3420 allows using the Xeon CPUs in either single- or dual-processor configurations .


Portwell did not release pricing or operating system specifics for the CAR-5000, but the device appears to be available now under both the Portwell and Caswell brands. More information may be found here or here.

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