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Supermicro Offering Atom-based Servers

Jeffrey Burt is a senior editor for eWEEK and contributor to TechWeekEurope

The Atom chips should enable Supermicro to offer efficient and quiet servers for such roles as data storage and network appliances

Supermicro is putting Intel’s Atom processor into several new systems in its Server Building Blocks Solutions portfolio.

The new Supermicro systems—which while their main thrust is as servers, can be customised as motherboards as well—will use the 4-watt and 8-watt Atom chips.

Intel has been riding the strength of its Atom chips in the netbook market to grow its dominant share of the x86 processor space. Research firm iSuppli said in early April that Intel gained share in every quarter of 2008, thanks in large part to Atom and the netbook space. Intel is expanding the reach of the Atom chips through a partnership with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing.

Supermicro is looking to offer users Atom-based systems that are energy-efficient and quiet and can be used in basic scenarios as data storage and network appliance or print and e-mail servers.

“Bringing the low-power consumption advantages of Atom processors to the server appliance market empowers our customers with energy-saving, quiet solutions that provide flexible expansion and storage features previously unattainable with Atom solutions,” Supermicro president and CEO Charles Liang said in a statement.

The company’s X7SLA-L platform is powered by the single-core Atom 230 chip, which uses four watts of power. The X7SLA-H is powered by a dual-core Atom 330 chip, which consumes eight watts of power. Another difference in the two systems is that the X7SLA-H offers dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, an additional onboard Type A USB 2.0 connector and an extra internal serial port.

Another Atom-based systems include the small form factor 5051A SuperSaver, with a high-efficient and quiet power supply. The SuperSaver 5035A offers greater expansion and storage capabilities, including four hot-swap drive bays and three add-on cards, plus a 300-watt power supply.