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
ECX-1000 Atom
ECX-2000 Atom
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
2 + 2 logical (SMT)

4 physical

4 physical

4 physical
8 physical
Clockspeed  2 GHz 1.4 GHz 1.7/2 GHz 1.8 GHz 1.7/2 GHz
L1-Cache (per core)
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 Dual Channel
128-bit Dual Channel
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?
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • texadactyl - Friday, November 1, 2013 - link

    Just be sure to stay clear of the NANO-5050 based on my experience with the Intel D2550MUD2. They're both running GMA3650 graphics ("Cedar Trail", originally developed by PowerVR). There is very limited support in Linux and Windows. In fact, Intel only provides Windows driver downloads for *32*-bit Windows (nothing for Linux). Personally, I'll be very careful before buying another Intel based or provided motherboard.
  • stagn - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Yes, where can I buy micro-boards (smaller than mini-ITX) with these. At least 2 gigabit Ethernet and 2 cores. I don't need a Bay Trail chip since I won't be connecting it to a monitor.
  • ShieTar - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Nope. Out of curiosity, what is you design logic for wanting less than mini-itx, but gual GigE ports? I can think of a few applications, but basically all of them seem to be served as well by a router with an open source firmware.
  • pjkenned - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Hi Johan,

    If you want me to run tests on the C2750 let me know. Published these a while back:

    In some synthetic benchmarks the 8-core C2750 is more than 10x faster than the S1260. My general characterization is that it feels more like half of a Intel Xeon E3-1220 V3 in terms of performance. Power consumption for a mITX C2750 platform including 32GB (4x8GB @ 1.35v) cooling and a SSD is 33w with everything including the 4x Intel i354 Gigabit Ethernet ports running.

    About the same both on the Supermicro and ASRock units we have tested thus far. Happy to run some benches if you want. Should be getting the fourth platform in the next two weeks so can spare.

    Other cool news is that the C2750 runs ESXi fine. If Intel included VT-d it would be a category killer with passthrough. I think you are right that the C2550 or C2730 may be better NAS chips because even on the 12 disk ASRock C2750D4I you can run RAID-Z2 and have plenty of CPU power left over.
  • JohanAnandtech - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Interesting comparison. However, I have a few nits to pick. "There is a major myth that the Intel Atom C2750 is many times slower in single threaded performance", but most of your "closer to realworld" benches tell exactly the opposite :-). See the crafty bench for example.
  • milli - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Johan that's not really a fair thing to say. The Xeon E3 and Opteron turbo to 3.7 and 3.6Ghz respectively. The Atom will turbo to 2.6Ghz. Compared to the Xeon L5520 (2.26Ghz), it's only around 20% behind. That's quite a feat for a cpu core that uses around 2W.
    With the clocks normalized, it's almost 5x faster than the S1260 it replaces, only 35% behind the Opteron and 2x slower than the E3.
    He concludes the following: "performance generally around half of the Intel Xeon E3-1200 V3 series". Seems right to me.
  • JohanAnandtech - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    1. The clockspeed is part of the µarchitecture trade-offs. So you can not simply normalize clocks.
    2. The point I was making was about "single threaded performance". It is not even close to being half that of a Xeon... more like one fourth. Not bad, but it is *not* a myth that Atoms are "several times" slower single threaded.

    Not saying the Atom C2000 is a dog (it is pretty amazing in fact), just pointing out that the C2000 is still "several times" slower per thread. The myth has not been debunked yet...
  • pjkenned - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Even there 1/3 of the E3 V3 performance at < 1/4 the platform power consumption on a single threaded application. The difference is that the C2750 is not 1/10th or less the speed like the S1260 was.
  • geekfoo - Friday, November 1, 2013 - link

    Patrick, how come you dont run x264 and ffmpeg tests given these are quite popular things to do on servers both home and industrial ?

    something along the lines of

    FOR %%A in ("*.mkv") DO (
    ffmpeg.exe -threads 0 -i "%%A" -f mp4 -vcodec libx264 -crf 16 -minrate 900k -maxrate 2100k -bufsize 2100k -refs 3 -preset slow -vprofile high -strict -2 -acodec aac -ac 2 -ab 192k -vf yadif,hqdn3d,unsharp=5:5:0.5,gradfun "%%~nA.MP4"

    for .bat and easy to edit slightly for bash

    for f in *.mkv
    name=`echo "$f" | sed -e "s/.mp4$//g"`
    ./ffmpeg -threads 0 -i "$f" -f mp4 -vcodec libx264 -crf 16 -minrate 800k -maxrate 1800k -bufsize 1800k -refs 3 -preset slow -vprofile high -strict -2 -acodec aac -ac 2 -ab 192k -vf yadif,gradfun,hqdn3d,unsharp=5:5:0.5 "$name.MP4"

  • pjkenned - Sunday, November 3, 2013 - link

    @geekfoo - will look into adding the bash one. The new development version of the script adds a redis benchmark and sysbench CPU tests. It also now works on CentOS as well as Ubuntu from a clean install:

    Feel free to give it a try to compare. Will add the above as an open item once I get back to the US this week.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now