Microsoft pushing for 16-core Atom CPUs

Microsoft is reportedly pestering Intel for a 16-core version of its Atom processor, which would provide a low-power alternative to mainstream chips for use in data servers. Dileep Bhandarkar, an engineer at Microsoft's Global Foundation Services, suggested that higher-power Intel chips more commonly positioned for servers, such as the Xeon, demand too much power and active cooling in return for their higher clock speeds, PC World reports, and that there is a "huge opportunity" for a different strategy to data center processing.

"When you look at these tiny cores, another way of making them work in a very efficient way is [not to] surround them with a whole bunch of south bridges and network controllers. ... Essentially, the tiny cores and systems-on-chip should go together" Dileep Bhandarkar, Microsoft

Global Foundation Services is the division of Microsoft responsible for managing the hosting of Bing, Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger, together with Sharepoint and Exchange installations for businesses. Bhandarkar said that ARM's work on server processors was interesting but unproven, however it "lights a fire under Intel and AMD to deliver more effective x86 solutions."

For its part, Intel said it had "no announcements to make" regarding new Atom chips, but did point to the fact that its existing processors are already found in at least one HP Windows Home Server model.