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Intel announces Atom C3000 16-core Denverton parts

Intel announces Atom C3000 16-core Denverton parts

Intel's Atom processors, previously topping out at quad-core parts, are growing up: the company's new C3000 family includes a top-end 16-core part for network and server use.

Intel has announced the Atom C3000 series, taking a chip family originally designed for palmtops and netbooks into the many-core era with up to 16 cores at the top end.

Announced back in 2008 as the launch name for the Silverthorne architecture, Intel's Atom chips were designed with 'Mobile Internet Devices' in mind. Boasting ultra-low power draws of between 0.6W and 2.5W in their original incarnation yet offering full 32-bit x86 compatibility, Intel saw the Atom family as driving forward a new era of pocketable internet access terminals - but, sadly, the launch of the smartphone era a year earlier and its focus on parts from rival ARM meant Intel's vision of the future never came to pass. Instead, the company would find a home for Atom chips in the short-lived netbook product category, attempt to shoe-horn them into smartphones only to be faced with a brick wall of ARM-based chips, and eventually shuffle the parts sideways into low-powered microservers, networking devices, and consumer electronics.

With this fresh market in mind, Intel has announced that it is considerably beefing the Atom family up with the impending launch of the Atom C3000 family - which includes a top-end part boasting 16 physical processing cores. Designed for high-throughput yet low-power devices like network attached storage and smart network switch systems as well as microservers, the 16-core Atom includes reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS) features previously exclusive to the company's server-centric Xeon range - something which may represent an attempt by the company to bring the Atom family out from the under the shadow of its recent device-bricking C2000 family erratum.

Based on the Denverton architecture, full specifications for Intel's 16-core Atom have not yet been released; instead, the only C3000-series family entry currently live on the company's ARK database is for the lower-end Atom C3338, a dual-core part running at 1.5GHz and boosting to 2.2GHz in a 9W thermal design profile (TDP) and able to address up to 64GB of DDR4 memory with optional ECC support in a single memory channel.

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Vault-Tec 22nd February 2017, 11:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Starts with a dual-core, though.

Naturally
edzieba 22nd February 2017, 13:02 Quote
Xeon-D with weaker cores (didn't work out well for ARM when they tried that, although the Denverton cores beat the pants off any core ARM has in SP performance), or tiny cut-down Xeon Phi?
Taua 22nd February 2017, 17:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vault-Tec
Naturally

:D
IamSoulRider 22nd February 2017, 20:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Article
the only C3000-series family entry currently live on the company's ARK database is for the lower-end Atom C3338, a dual-core part

Yeah, this is the only fix they could find for the C2000 problems...
David 22nd February 2017, 21:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Starts with a dual-core, though.
Followed by an unlocked version that costs more than a quad?

Bitter? Me? No, of course not. :(
Chicken76 23rd February 2017, 20:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
...able to address up to 64GB of DDR4 memory with optional ECC support in a single memory channel
How exactly is it going to address 64GB of RAM on a single channel? Can it use RDIMMs or FBDIMMs?
Gareth Halfacree 23rd February 2017, 20:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicken76
How exactly is it going to address 64GB of RAM on a single channel? Can it use RDIMMs or FBDIMMs?
You're not limited to a single DIMM slot just because you have a single memory channel. Think of how many dual-channel architecture motherboards have four slots; there's nothing to stop a single-channel chip addressing two or even four DIMMs, it just can't address them all at the same time.

We had multiple memory chips in computers long before multiple channel memory buses were a thing. The Z80-based Sinclair ZX81 had either one 1KB or two 512B chips depending on what Sinclair could buy cheap at the time. Intel didn't get dual-channel support until the 865 chipset, and you had multiple SIMMs and DIMMs in PCs long before that: my old 8088 had 1MB of RAM spread across four 256KB SIMMs.

Dual, triple, and quad-channel memory architecture isn't about addressing more memory than single-channel; it's about addressing the memory you've got faster.
jb0 24th February 2017, 10:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicken76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
...able to address up to 64GB of DDR4 memory with optional ECC support in a single memory channel
How exactly is it going to address 64GB of RAM on a single channel? Can it use RDIMMs or FBDIMMs?

Given it is targeting embedded systems, I'd be surprised if most implementations can use ANY DIMMs. RAM soldered directly onto the board shall rule the day.
Gareth Halfacree 24th February 2017, 11:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jb0
Given it is targeting embedded systems, I'd be surprised if most implementations can use ANY DIMMs. RAM soldered directly onto the board shall rule the day.
It's targeting "high-throughput yet low-power devices like network attached storage and smart network switch systems as well as microservers" - and most of the NASes and all of the microservers that would have a 16-core Atom in them will be taking DIMMs for their RAM, guaranteed. Just take a look at Synology's current higher-end Atom NASes, like the RS815+, which has two DDR3 DIMM slots in it.
Chicken76 24th February 2017, 12:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
You're not limited to a single DIMM slot just because you have a single memory channel. Think of how many dual-channel architecture motherboards have four slots; there's nothing to stop a single-channel chip addressing two or even four DIMMs, it just can't address them all at the same time.
As you put more DIMMs on a channel, the signals degrade. That's why we don't see more than two slots per channel for unbuffered DIMMs. Going to three would require putting a 'register' chip on each DIMM to receive the serialized addresses from the memory controller and then access the actual SDRAM chips (thus RDIMM). Of course, you can put more than two DIMMs on a channel, but you'd have to lower the frequency significantly to maintain signal integrity, and possibly use higher voltage which would increase power consumption, neither of which are desirable.
Going to four DIMMS per channel usually requires buffering both address and data lines (FBDIMM).

Anyway, my point was this: with 16GB being the biggest capacity DIMMS available for DDR4, how is the new Atom going to address 64GB? Four 16GB DIMMS on a single unbuffered channel? No way! Both RDIMM and FBDIMM need specific silicon in the memory controller. So the question is really, if the chip has the capability to use (besides UDIMM) RDIMM or FBDIMM?

If you're going to say: "there will be 32 GB DDR4 DIMMS in the future", then you may only be technically right, but practically wrong. No one is going to bother to put out such huge memory modules for the "client market" (Intel jargon).
Remember how DDR3 theoretically had 16GB unbuffered modules available? (from a single company and with a $300+ pricetag) Have you actually seen one? Hell, do you know anyone who knows someone who has seen one? The same thing will happen to 32GB unbuffered DDR4 DIMMs.

It kind of makes you wonder how they validated the chips to work with 64GB RAM, doesn't it?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
We had multiple memory chips in computers long before multiple channel memory buses were a thing. The Z80-based Sinclair ZX81 had either one 1KB or two 512B chips depending on what Sinclair could buy cheap at the time. Intel didn't get dual-channel support until the 865 chipset, and you had multiple SIMMs and DIMMs in PCs long before that: my old 8088 had 1MB of RAM spread across four 256KB SIMMs.
Didn't the ZX have 48KB of RAM? I had a compatible in the early nineties that had 56 or 64 KB (can't remember the exact value now)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Dual, triple, and quad-channel memory architecture isn't about addressing more memory than single-channel; it's about addressing the memory you've got faster.
In light of what I wrote above, it kinda' is about both, wouldn't you agree?
Gareth Halfacree 24th February 2017, 13:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicken76
It kind of makes you wonder how they validated the chips to work with 64GB RAM, doesn't it?
That'd be a question for Intel - I'm just telling you what the Ark entry says!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicken76

Didn't the ZX have 48KB of RAM? I had a compatible in the early nineties that had 56 or 64 KB (can't remember the exact value now)
That's the ZX Spectrum. Sinclair Research's first computer was the ZX80, which had 1KB and was the first fully-functional computer in the world to sell for under £100; the ZX81 followed a year later with a massive reduction in chip count thanks to a Ferranti Uncommitted Logic Array (ULA) and a price drop, but still 1KB of RAM. The ZX Spectrum launched a year later as an attempt to beat Acorn, bringing colour, basic sound, and a choice of 16KB or 48KB of RAM, but at a higher price (£129 for the 16KB version) and without the option of buying it as a self-assembly kit.

(Technically, Sinclair had a computer before the ZX80: the MK14. It launched under the Science of Cambridge banner, though, and was more of a calculator-on-steroids than anything you'd recognise as a modern computer.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicken76

In light of what I wrote above, it kinda' is about both, wouldn't you agree?
It can certainly help, to be sure, but that's not why the first dual-channel architectures were developed (to my knowledge, anyway - happy to be corrected!)
Chicken76 24th February 2017, 13:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
That'd be a question for Intel - I'm just telling you what the Ark entry says!
True, I wasn't questioning your report, just throwing the question out into the ether.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
That's the ZX Spectrum. Sinclair Research's first computer was the ZX80, which had 1KB and was the first fully-functional computer in the world to sell for under £100; the ZX81 followed a year later with a massive reduction in chip count thanks to a Ferranti Uncommitted Logic Array (ULA) and a price drop, but still 1KB of RAM. The ZX Spectrum launched a year later as an attempt to beat Acorn, bringing colour, basic sound, and a choice of 16KB or 48KB of RAM, but at a higher price (£129 for the 16KB version) and without the option of buying it as a self-assembly kit.

(Technically, Sinclair had a computer before the ZX80: the MK14. It launched under the Science of Cambridge banner, though, and was more of a calculator-on-steroids than anything you'd recognise as a modern computer.)

Ah, I see. I had no knowledge of the prior models. In fact I have never actually seen an original Sinclair unit, only compatibles. (compatibles, pfff..., who am I kidding, more like rip-offs. The Spectrum was not open source hardware, was it?)
Gareth Halfacree 24th February 2017, 13:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicken76
Ah, I see. I had no knowledge of the prior models. In fact I have never actually seen an original Sinclair unit, only compatibles. (compatibles, pfff..., who am I kidding, more like rip-offs. The Spectrum was not open source hardware, was it?)

No, but a basic enough design to easily churn out copies of. Back in those days computer PCBs were double-layer at most - you can copy one of those with a photocopier!

I've never seen a proper foreign Spec-clone in person. There's a guy selling ex-USSR clones, boxed and unused, on FleaBay, but I can't justify the asking price. Sadface.
Chicken76 27th February 2017, 13:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
I've never seen a proper foreign Spec-clone in person. There's a guy selling ex-USSR clones, boxed and unused, on FleaBay, but I can't justify the asking price. Sadface.

Unfortunately I don't have mine anymore, or I would send it to you.
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