Intel "Avoton" Atom processors to have up to 8 cores

We already reported that Intel plans to launch Bordenville platform for micro-servers sometime this quarter. Part of the Bordenville platform is a "Centerton" system on a chip, that incorporates two Atom "Saltwell" cores, single-channel DDR3 memory controller, PCI Express 2.0 interface, and a number of legacy I/O controllers. The Centerton SoCs don't require Platform or I/O controller hub, but they do need external controllers to support Ethernet, SATA and USB interfaces. The processors will run at frequencies from 1.6 GHz to 2 GHz, and have 6 - 8.5 Watt TDP.

Some of the shortcomings of the Centerton processors, like requirement of external controller chips, will be addressed by Edisonville platform. That platform will have much greater performance per Watt ratio compared to Centerton, or even Haswell microprocessors. The platform will be based on "Avoton" SoC, that integrates SATA, GbE and USB interfaces directly on a chip. The interfaces will support 4x SATA 2, 2x SATA 3, 4x Gigabit and 4x USB 2.0 ports. Like Centerton products, Avoton processors will have 16 lanes (4 controllers) of PCI Express 2.0 interface, and support legacy I/O, such as LPC, SPI, SMBus, UART and general purpose I/O. DDR3 memory controller on the SoC is going to have two channels, and work with DDR3-1600 and DDR3L-1600 memory.

The CPU part of the Avoton SoC will pack from 2 to 8 Atom cores. Each pair of cores will share 1 MB L2 cache, therefore the 8-core version of the chip will have 4 MB of level 2 cache. The cores will be built on "Silvermont" 22nm microarchitecture. Silvermont cores are expected to support out-of-order processing, which should significantly increase their performance. Another enhancement in Avoton processors will be Turbo Boost-like feature, that may temporarily raise clock frequency to achieve better performance. Avoton processors will be clocked up to 2.4 GHz (depending on SKU), or up to 2.7 GHz when the Turbo feature is active. Thermal Design power of Avoton SoCs will range from 5 Watt to 20 Watt. The CPUs will be produced in a BGA package. The SoCs and the Edisonville platform will be released in the second half of 2013.

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