Intel Atom “storage optimized” platform promises faster NAS

Mar 5, 2010
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Intel's Atom processors may be best known for their role in netbooks, but the low-power chips have also been making inroads into always-on devices such as NAS, RAID arrays and small servers.  It comes as little surprise, then, that Intel have pushed out its first "storage-optimized" Atom-based platform, using the latest D410 and dualcore D510 CPUs paired with the high-throughput Intel 82801IR I/O Controller.  Apparently the platform has already been picked up by LaCie, LG, QNAP, Synology and Thecus for upcoming products.

While Atom chips generally balance performance with power savings, in this context - and with the I/O controller - they can fight above their weight.  Intel reckons the platform will allow up to 20 users to simultaneously stream high-definition-level (30Mbps) data within a local network; it also supports six PCI Express lanes, twelve USB 2.0 ports, a port multiplier function and eSATA, along with an integrated gigabit ethernet controller and hot-swap drive capabilities.  Compatible OSes include various Linux builds and Microsoft Home Server, and one of the first devices to use the platform will be LG's N4B2.

Press Release:

Intel Expands Intel® Atom™ Processor-Based Platform to Home, Small Office Storage Devices

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

Intel releases its first storage-optimized Intel® Atom™ processor-based platform for the growing home and small office/home office storage markets.
New single- and dual-core chip options provide performance scalability and flexibility and run on Microsoft Windows Home Server* and Linux operating systems.
Leading storage vendors LaCie*, LG Electronics*, QNAP*, Synology* and Thecus* plan products based on the new Intel Atom processor-based platform.
Intel Atom processors also introduced for embedded applications are ideal for multiple market segments including print imaging, digital security surveillance and industrial.

CEBIT, HANNOVER, Germany, March 4, 2010 – Intel Corporation today launched its first Intel® Atom™ processor-based platform optimized for networked home and small office/home office (SOHO) storage devices.

The energy-efficient platform consists of the Intel® Atom™ processor D410 single-core or D510 dual-core and the Intel® 82801IR I/O Controller and delivers the processing performance and input/output (I/O) connectivity required to meet the throughput demands of leading storage vendors such as LaCie*, LG Electronics*, QNAP*, Synology* and Thecus*.

Home server and SOHO network-attached storage (NAS) devices based on the new Intel Atom processor- based platform act as centralized hubs that organize, manage, protect and share documents, photos, videos and music throughout the home and small office. This makes it possible to keep digital content safe and available anytime, anywhere. "NAS systems have traditionally been found in businesses to manage, store and access data," said Seth Bobroff, general manager, Intel Data Center Group, Storage. "Today, households and small offices have an ever-increasing number of computers, laptops, netbooks and mobile phones that create and consume digital content. This advancement in mobility coupled with the explosive growth of data and media are creating the need for centralized, easy-to-use network storage solutions for the home and small office."

With an up to 50 percent power reduction and improved performance1 compared to Intel's previous generation of Intel Atom processors, the new Intel Atom processors paired with the Intel 82801IR I/O Controller enable vendors to deliver cost-effective, feature-rich and reliable systems that scale to support the demands of the evolving home and small office storage market.

"The introduction of Intel's Atom processor is a critical advancement that will dramatically change the scale of storage solutions across LaCie's target markets," said Erwan Girard, professional business unit manager, LaCie. "We are excited to work with Intel and leverage this game-changing technology to offer a new level of powerful and robust features to our customers."

Powered by the Intel Atom processor D510, LG's N4B2 NAS device performs fast "reads" and "writes" of large data files and allows up to 20 users to simultaneously stream high-definition-level (30Mbps) data within a local network. "As multimedia libraries grow, so does the need for secure, redundant storage," said Dong-Keun Lee, vice president, DS Division, LG Electronics. "Network-attached storage has become more than just a fancy disk drive. It is now a secure, redundant vault for your irreplaceable photos, songs and documents. With the innovative, fast data processing features of N4B2, we are emerging as a leader in this segment."

The new platform features six PCI Express* lanes, 12 USB 2.0 ports, a port multiplier function and eSATA ports that give OEMs the ability to add peripheral devices and expand storage capacity outside of the box. It also features hot plug capabilities for easy capacity upgrades and an integrated gigabit Ethernet MAC controller for improved data transfers to and from the home server or small office NAS device. The storage platform also offers the flexibility to support Microsoft Windows Home Server* and open source Linux operating systems. Additional information is available at intel.com/go/storage.

Intel Atom Processors in Embedded
In addition to the introduction of the storage platform, Intel also announced two single-core Intel Atom processors, the N450 and D410, and the first dual-core Intel Atom processor, the D510, for embedded devices. With 7-year lifecycle support to meet the performance-per-watt requirements of embedded devices, the Intel Atom processor-based embedded platform is ideal for small, energy-efficient designs for print imaging, digital security surveillance and industrial market segments.

The three processors are paired with an I/O controller designed for the embedded market – the Intel® 82801HM I/O Controller – for a 2-chip solution that provides rich I/O capabilities and adds flexibility via high-bandwidth interfaces, including PCI Express*, PCI*, SATA and USB 2.0 connectivity.


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