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?
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  • azazel1024 - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Granted, it is in no way comparable as the multithreaded performance probably falls WAY short, but as an interesting power consumption comparitor, my home server is based on a G1620 Ivy Bridge chip, uATX board (I forget the make, but H77 based, I want to say Gigabit?), 8GB of memory (2x4GB 1.25v), a pair of Intel CT gigabit NICs (motherboard port disabled), 60GB SSD for a boot/app disc and a pair of 2TB Samsung F4EG drives in RAID0 and a 80+ Bronze 350w PSU.

    Whole thing pulls down 21w at idle and 32w with the drives spun up streaming. During heavy computational loads (as a simple test) the whole system pulls down a hair over 50W with both cores at 90+% and the HDD spun up.

    I'd personally love to see the system as a whole pull down half those numbers. I really am curious looking, more from a comodity/lower requirement stand point, the newer Atom based Celeron and Pentium chips.

    I'd be curious to see if anything exists with at least four SATA 6Gbps ports, RAID0/1/5 support, soldered on Atom based Pentium chip and at least one Intel based GbE port (with the option to stick another CT NIC in the PCI-e slot). Something tells me though that the newest celeron and pentium based atoms don't have support for 4 SATA 6Gbps ports though.
  • Gondalf - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    At least IMO, Calxeda is sandbagging a little about power consumption. A15 core is very power hungry, expecially over 1.6Ghz and Silvermont core has clearly showed a far lower power consumption under load.
    Dear Johan i can see a lot of marketing in Calxeda data, its pretty clear that this round is won by Intel with a wide margin.
    Maybe we need to wait some SPECpower submissions before any judgment. "Rough estimates" means nothing beacause Calxeda do not gives TDP data but only "average consumption" figures.
  • JohanAnandtech - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Last time, Calxeda marketing was simply wrong about their servers being good memcached or CDN servers. But we found that their power numbers were pretty close to reality. So they deserve the benefit of the doubt...We won't know until we unleash our server workloads on real machine, of course.
  • Drumsticks - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    Does calxeda do any custom changes to the A15? Or do they just straight up use what arm effectively gives them?
  • JohanAnandtech - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    They do not alter the core AFAIK, most of the engineering goes to the uncore. And IMHO that is the right way to do it for a company like Calxeda
  • twotwotwo - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    The thing about the preannouncement of the A53/7 and Intel's roadmap is that it's always hard not to wonder how microservers based on the *next* uarch will do. :)
  • DARBYOTHRULL - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    My question is, where can you buy these processors? I wouldn't mind using one for a personal server.
  • JohanAnandtech - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    The problem is that the integrated fabric might be a bit too complicated (= expensive mobo) for your usage model. There are probably better solutions for you on the market.
  • DARBYOTHRULL - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    That is probably true, and thank you for your comment. If only I knew where to find them, it just seems difficult to build a custom Atom system.
  • chavv - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    What OS/apps are these server SOCs supposed to run on?

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