Calxeda feels that the ECX-2000 at 1.8 GHz is competitor of the C2530 1.7 GHz (2 GHz Turbo, 4 cores, 9W TDP). If we look at Intel's SKUs, we noticed that the C2730 1.7 GHz (2 GHz Turbo, 8 cores, 12W TDP) might be also be a close competitor. So we list the ECX-1000 (the previous Calxeda SoC), the ECX-2000 and the two closest Intel Atom competitors. The "integrated" part is a bit short on details, but it is out of the scope of the article to discuss the different levels of I/O integration. We'll discuss that in a later article.

CPU Atom
S1260
ECX-1000 Atom
C2530
ECX-2000 Atom
C2730
Launch Date Q3 2012 Q2 2012 Q3 2013 Q4 2013 Q3 2013
Process Technology 32 nm 40 nm 22 nm trigate 28 nm 22 nm trigate
Cores
µ-Architecture
2 + 2 logical (SMT)
Saltwell

4 physical
Cortex-A9

4 physical
Silvermont

4 physical
Cortex-A15
8 physical
Silvermont
Clockspeed  2 GHz 1.4 GHz 1.7/2 GHz 1.8 GHz 1.7/2 GHz
L1-Cache (per core)
L2-Cache
24/32 KB D/I
2x 0.5 MB
32/32 KB D/I
4 MB
24/32 KB D/I
2x1 MB
32/32 KB D/I
4 MB
24/32 KB D/I
4x1 MB
Memory controller Single Channel
64-bit
64-bit Dual Channel
64-bit
128-bit Dual Channel
64-bit
Fastest Supported RAM DDR3 at 1.33 GT/s DDR3 at 1.33 GT/s DDR3 at 1.6 GT/s DDR3 at 1.6 GT/s DDR3 at 1.6 GT/s
Addressing 64 bit 32 bit 64 bit 32 bit with LPAE 64 bit
Max RAM 8 GB 4 GB 64 GB 16 GB 64 GB
Integrated PCIe Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Integrated Network No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Integrated SATA No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Typical Server node Power usage 20W (*) +/- 8 W 15-18W ?
(**)
12-16W ? (**) +/- 20W (*)

(*) Based upon Intel's "22 nm Intel Atom server SoCs Performance Overview"
(**) Rough estimates

Although the Atom S1260 had a TDP of only 8.5W, the power numbers were simply not comparable to the other SoCs as the S1260 needed more additional chips to perform the same tasks. In practice this means  that a server node based up on the S1260 need just as much power as the 12W TDP Atom C2730.

The performance/watt of the ECX-2000 SoC has probably not made a giant leap over the predecessor but the overall server efficiency should improve significantely as Calxeda also implemented Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) and other tricks to reduce the energy consumption of the "Fleet Fabric". And the point is of course that the number of applications where the performance per node is "good enough" has increased significantely.

The Atom C2000 can support up to 64 GB, where the ECX-2000 is limited to 16 GB. The trade-off is that the C2000 uses up to 4 DIMM slots, where the ECX-2000 is limited to one. Obviously, more DIMM slots offer more flexibility but also make the server node larger and consume more energy. 

 

The Calxeda ECX-2000 How good will the EnergyCore ECX-2000 be?
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  • davegraham - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Johan, what will additionally be interesting is AMD's Seattle cores launching around the beginning of next year. the multi-core ARM architectures, integrated FreedomFabric and 10GbE on SoC, etc. will be a powerful combination. those too will be integrated into Moonshot. (heck, even the AMD X-series compares pretty well here...) Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Looking forward to that AMD's Seattle too. I hope however that they will not be limited to the current SeaMicro boxes: those servers are extremely well designed hyperscale servers, but they are a massive investment for a large part of the market (most of our readers :-). Few of the web services providers are willing to shell out so much money (see Google, Facebook's minimal servers) Reply
  • hoboville - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    These low power high core count processors like the C2730 are interesting for SOHO NAS units. The core count and RAM capacity are also really interesting for VM platforms that use simple point of sale interfaces, since they aren't demanding in terms of calculation performance. Also, blade racks for virtualizing call centers and basic productivity remote desktops would see a boon from a high RAM and core count setup.

    There's a lot of potential, but they only support VT-x so advanced VM setups need not apply. Kind of disappointing, but I guess they want you to buy into Xeon. Still beats ARM though in terms of capacity (RAM, cores, etc).
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    The RAM capacity is still very limited for VM platforms. Two low voltage Xeons can offer up to 384 GB, 768 GB with LR DIMMs. Reply
  • theduckofdeath - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    64GB available for 8 lightweight cores is more than enough, I think. It's not like these systems will be used for heavy duty stuff like a Xeon-based server. Reply
  • dylan522p - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Why did you ignore the Xeon that is Silcermont based? Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    I am not sure what you mean but I fixed the table where Silvermont moniker was missing Reply
  • dylan522p - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Ya sorry. That was ignorance on my part. Reply
  • pikeike - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Anyone know of any small (around nano-itx or pico-itx sized) boards that have Intel Atom Rangeley chips and dual GigE ports? I don't need any video out. A serial port is good enough for the project I'm planning on doing.

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • idos422 - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    The smalled Silvermont based board with dual GigE I've found is this nano-ITX one using the embedded versions (Bay Trail I): http://www.portwell.com/products/detail.asp?CUSTCH...

    Too bad it has the GPU in it that's going to go unused. I'm sure this industrial application targeted board will probably cost the same as a larger Haswell based setup.
    Reply

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