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 intelserversprocessorshardware systemsComponents

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

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

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

Resources

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

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?