Calxeda joins the 64-bit ARM server chip race

Company will start production of 64-bit chips for ARM servers by 2014

ARM's efforts to jump from smartphones and tablets to servers received a vote of confidence from chip company Calxeda, which announced Wednesday that it has ramped up efforts to push 64-bit ARM processors into servers by 2014.

Four-year-old Calxeda is developing a chip code-named Lagos, which will be based on ARM's 64-bit ARMv8 architecture. ARM, which licenses processor designs to chip makers, announced the 64-bit architecture in October last year and has said that servers with chips based on its 64-bit architecture will be available around 2014 or later.

The announcement comes on the heels of Calxeda's announcement of US$55 million in capital funding last week, which gives the company more financial resources to focus on chip development. The company has more than 100 employees in U.S. and Asia.

"We will have 64-bit production product in 2014," said Karl Freund, vice president of marketing at Calxeda, in an e-mail.

ARM processors are found in most smartphones and tablets today, but are also attracting interest as an energy-efficient way to handle large volumes of Web requests. Some industry watchers believe thousands of ARM servers could help cut energy bills while more efficiently processing Web requests such as search or social network requests compared to x86 server chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, which are used in most servers today.

Calxeda offers a chip 32-bit server called EnergyCore, which is based on the Cortex-A9 processor design. The chip is used in prototype servers from Dell and Hewlett-Packard and offered to customers for benchmarking and testing purposes. A company called Boston Ltd. is one of the few companies commercially selling servers based on EnergyCore. Calxeda is also trying to raise awareness about its chip by demonstrating servers at trade shows.

However, there are some drawbacks with current ARM processors, including a lack of virtualization features and support for only 32-bit addressing, which limits memory and storage capacity on servers. Most of today's operating systems, such as Windows and Mac OS, are based on a 64-bit architecture, which helps tackle a transaction-heavy and data-intensive applications. However, Calxeda customers have been able to run Web-enabled frameworks critical for cloud services such as Java, LAMP (Linux, Apache server, MySQL, Python) and Ruby on Rails without changing code.

ARM is also playing catch-up with Intel, whose server chips are already 64-bit. ARM later this year is expected to announce new processor designs based on its 64-bit architecture. But to tackle the ARM threat, Intel will start shipping new 64-bit low-power Atom S-series server chips later this year.

Calxeda will also help developers write applications for 64-bit ARM servers. ARM is already providing developer tools, and in August released code for Linux to support the ARMv8 instruction set, which is now being picked up by various distributions, including Ubuntu.

Other companies developing ARM server chips include Cavium and AppliedMicro. AppliedMicro hopes to come out with 64-bit ARM test servers next year, which ARM has said will be sold at a cheap price to developers in an effort to stimulate software development.

Calxeda on Wednesday also said it is developing a chip called Midway, based on ARM's upcoming Cortex-A15 processor core. The new chip will become available in 2013 and add more performance, memory and virtualization features, the company said.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?