Intel looking to boost horsepower on server chips with ASIC integration

Intel will integrate ASICs designed by Silicon Valley startup eASIC

Intel is expanding its custom server chip program by integrating a special processing unit that could speed up specific applications in cloud computing environments.

The chip maker said it will integrate ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) in future Xeon chips, which will speed up cloud, security and big data applications. The ASIC designs will be provided by eASIC, a fabless semiconductor company based in Santa Clara, California.

Intel declined to comment on the type of ASICs being integrated, or when they will be integrated in Xeon chips. But the integrated ASICs will be reprogrammable, and customers will be able to add more flexibility to their servers to handle specific types of tasks.

ASICs could play a key role in hardware acceleration in areas like big data, sorting, searching and pattern matching, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64. The algorithms tied to specific computing tasks need to be programmed into ASICs, he said.

ASICs could also address challenges with security in the cloud through hardware-based encryption and decryption, Brookwood said.

Intel is already designing custom server chips with different types of I/O, memory and storage controllers. Intel is planning to also integrate FPGA (field-programmable gate array) reprogrammable circuits in its server chips. ASICs will be more power-efficient at specific tasks than traditional FPGAs, Intel said.

Many ASICs are hardwired to run specific tasks, but can be reprogrammed, depending on design parameters, Brookwood said. The FPGA approach is much more programmable, but it's not as power-efficient as a hardwired ASIC, he said.

Intel has been integrating FPGAs alongside its CPUs in some chipsets for years. Intel is rumored to also be looking to acquire FPGA maker Altera in a bid to expand its chip offerings.

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 agam_shah@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags servershardware systemsComponentsprocessorsintel

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

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?