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3/5/2010
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Jake Widman
Jake Widman
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Intel Introduces Atom-Based Server Platform

The new low-power-consumption platform is intended for use in servers and network-attached storage systems for small offices and home businesses.

The new low-power-consumption platform is intended for use in servers and network-attached storage systems for small offices and home businesses.Up to now, Atom processors have generally been associated with netbooks, but Intel thinks the same advantages can be transferred to servers and storage systems as well. One of the big advantages is reduced power consumption and heat generation: Intel claims that the latest Atom processors use as little as half as much power as the previous generation, which already drew significantly less power than standard computer processors. "Power consumption is a really big part of the equation," Seth Bobroff, general manager of Intel's Data Center Group, told InternetNews.com.

The new platform is based on a single-core D400 series or dual-core D500 series Atom processor coupled with an Intel I/O controller that supports both Linux and Windows Home Server operating systems. The controller also can handle up to six PCI Express lanes, 12 USB 2.0 ports, and eSATA ports that give manufacturers a lot of choices in how to build storage capacity around it.

Several storage OEMs are on board with the new platform, including LaCie, LG Electronics, QNAP, Synology, and Thecus. First out of the gate is apparently LG with its N4B2 NAS device. LG had the device at the Consumer Electronics show, at that time powered by an Atom N280; it came fitted out with four hard drive bays supporting 8 TB of storage, as well as a Blu-ray disc burner. Now the device will have the dual-core D510 and will enable up to 20 users to simultaneously stream high data rates across a local network. LG has not announced ship date or pricing for the N4B2 yet.

Another vendor quoted in the announcement is LaCie, whose professional business unit manager Erwan Girard said, "The introduction of Intel's Atom processor is a critical advancement that will dramatically change the scale of storage solutions across LaCie's target markets." LaCie hasn't announced specific devices built on the new platform yet, however.

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