Supermicro Launches Atom-Based Servers

Supermicro is rolling out several systems that take advantage of Intel's energy-efficient Atom processors, which initially were used in the burgeoning netbook space. The Atom chips enable Supermicro to offer highly efficient and quiet servers-or customizable motherboards-for such roles as data storage and network appliances or as print and e-mail servers.

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 customized 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 appliances 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 4 watts of power. The X7SLA-H is powered by a dual-core Atom 330 chip, which consumes 8 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 system includes 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.