Intel has souped-up its Atom chip, which is more famous for being an underperforming low-end chip for mobile devices.
The latest Atom C3000 chips have up to 16 cores and are more sophisticated than ever. Of course these are not going into smartphones – Intel has given up on that market. Instead they are made for storage arrays, networking equipment, and internet of things devices.
To be fair, networking and storage devices don’t require much grunt, so a low-power Atom chip will work. Few Intel server chips have more than 16 cores. In this case though, the number of Atom cores means the chip can handle more streams of data.
Under the bonnet of the C3000 is RAS (reliability, availability, and serviceability) capabilities, which is mostly found on high-end Xeon chips. The feature corrects data errors on the fly and prevents networking and storage equipment from crashing.
Intel is also providing development kits for writing storage and networking applications for the chips.
The new chips are already shipping to testers and will become available in the second half of this year.
The Atom C3000 succeeds the C2000 which were originally targeted at microservers and networking and storage equipment. The Atom C2000 is currently in the centre of a row over a flaw that could crash servers and networking equipment. Apparently the C2000 came with a flaw which caused it to die after two years. Intel has provided a temporary fix, but the company is working on a permanent fix.
The Atoms are not the only thing that Intel is making for networking gear. It also has the new Xeon D-1500 chips for networking and storage gear that require quicker turnover of processed data. The chips integrate 10-gigabit ethernet controllers and have a technology called QuickAssist to drive throughput of compressed data up to 40Gbps (bits per second).