Intel is widely expected to announce a new version of their ATOM SOC for microservers next week. Based on the Silvermont microarchitecture, the Avoton SOC is widely expected to repair their reputation after the disastrous Centerton product that has been largely ignored as a way-too-little-too-late response to ARM.
While we all eagerly await the final specs, and prices, some speculate that this chip will make it harder for ARM-based server SOCs to get traction. I think the opposite is more likely. If this chip is really good, and priced to sell, it means that Intel itself has capitulated to the market demands for a lower power chip designed for real workloads instead of benchmarks. And THAT will validate everything the ARMy of SOC guys have been saying: you don’t always NEED a Xeon behemoth, so why pay for it in terms of power, space, and $$$?? And of course, they wouldn’t do that, at the potential expense of Xeon margins, if they really thought this was less than 10% of the market, and if they didn’t feel threatened by ARM.
So, I’m rooting for Intel for a change. Validate the market, join the party, and may the best RACK win! (a thinly veiled reference to the important of the fabric, which Calxeda fans may appreciate ;-)