Intel Corp. recently announced that its E7520 and E7320 chipsets had been qualified to run Intel mobile processors – the Pentium M and the Celeron M. The move allows Intel to target servers that seek for relatively high performance, but are even more focused on the lowest power consumption possible.
Intel’s E7320 and E7520 chipsets are designed for servers based on 2-way Xeon processors with 800MHz processor system bus and EM64T. The chipsets support dual-channel DDR or DDR2 SDRAM memory with ECC and with PCI Express x4 or x8 add-in cards, such as network adapters or RAID controllers. Intel currently offers specially designed LAN and RAID controllers with its E7320 and E7520 chipsets. The difference between Intel’s latest server chipsets is in the number of PCI Express x8 links (each x8 can be configurable as two x4s): the E7320 sports only one x8 link, while the E7520 sports three x8 links.
Intel Xeon processors with EM64T produced using 90nm process technology have thermal design power (TDP) of approximately 103W – 110W. Intel also ships Low Voltage Intel Xeon chips with 64-bit capability that have TDP of about 55W or even 30W. Still, even the most advanced Intel Pentium M chips have 24.5W TDP, which is even lower, whereas performance the chip provides should be enough for low-power and embedded applications.
Low-power applications are gaining popularity these days and with Intel Pentium M processors offering the best performance per watt Intel may win a number of designs. Nevertheless, the company’s Xeon chips still have advantage over the Pentium M, as they support dual processor operation.