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Intel Claims New Jasper Forest Chips Will Save Power and Space

Intel Claims New Jasper Forest Chips Will Save Power and Space
By Mark Long

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Intel said its next-generation Jasper Forest processors for dense server and data-storage applications dramatically lower power consumption. Intel is also putting the I/O hub directly onto a dual-processing chip to save space in CompactPCI blades. System designers will be able to move from a single-core chip to a quad-core using the same socket.

Intel has revealed further details about its forthcoming next-generation processors for dense server and data-storage applications. Code-named Jasper Forest, the new dual-processing chips promise to dramatically lower power consumption in comparison with the company's current Nehalem-based Intel Xeon 5500 processors.

Specifically designed to deliver increased computing density and integration when deployed in embedded and storage applications, Jasper Forest takes advantage of Intel's 45nm process technology and high-k, metal gate transistors to deliver "eye-opening low-watt numbers," said Intel spokesperson Bill Kircos.

"Jasper Forest for embedded, communications and storage equipment will provide the same robust performance of our Nehalem-based Intel Xeon processor 5500 series -- but with a 27-watt system power savings," Kircos said. "And of course, all of this just gets better as we prepare for our 32nm process on tap."

I/O Hub Integration

With Jasper Forest, Intel is integrating the I/O hub directly onto a dual-processing Xeon processor for the first time. According to Kircos, this eliminates the need for a separate I/O hub in the board design, thus providing both real-estate and power savings.

The design features and thermals of the new Intel chips make them ideal for deployment in the CompactPCI blades used in carrier equipment, Kircos noted. Intel's next-generation devices are also aimed at designs based on the emerging Storage Bridge Bay spec, which defines the mechanical, electrical and low-level enclosure management requirements for an enclosure controller slot that can support a variety of storage controllers from different hardware and system vendors.

To facilitate dense storage and communications applications making use of IPTV, VoIP, NAS, SAN and wireless radio network controllers, Intel's chips integrate two Jasper Forest processors with 16 second-generation PCI Express (PCIe) lanes each. Moreover, the new devices are being paired with the Intel 3420 chipset platform controller hub, formerly code-named Ibex Peak.

A Scalable Option

Jasper Forest provides system designers with a scalable option for moving from a single-core, 23-watt processor to a quad-core, 85-watt processor using the same socket. According to Intel, this will enable telecommunications providers to cut costs by consolidating multiple system designs onto one common architecture and platform.

Jasper Forest also gives developers the ability to use Intel's architecture to run workloads that traditionally only functioned on non-Intel processors, Kircos noted. "For example, comms solutions can now consolidate workloads for both the control and data plane -- all on one Intel architecture system," Kircos said.

What's more, the new Intel chips incorporate data-storage protection features such as integrated RAID acceleration, together with a self-refreshing asynchronous DRAM backup solution that helps protect critical data in the event of a power failure. A non-transparent bridging functionality is also on tap for enabling multiple systems to seamlessly connect over a PCIe link without the need for an external PCIe switch, the company said.

Intel's Forest Jasper processors, which were first announced in April, will be offered to customers with seven-year life cycle support beginning early next year. Intel plans to reveal further details about the new chips at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco next week.

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