It may look like a regular server, but the SeaMicro SM10000 hides a surprising choice of CPU behind its mesh door. Rather than the Intel Xeon chip or two you might expect to find, the SM10000 actually gets a full 512 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 chips squeezed into a 10U rack-mount unit. Capable, SeaMicro reckon, of replacing forty 1U regular servers, the SM10000 also uses one quarter of the power.
The real magic isn’t in the processor but the way the company puts them together. Each Atom chip is matched up with its own DRAM and a custom SeaMicro ASIC on a credit-card sized board; eight of these so-called “compute blocks” are combined onto a 5 x 11 inch mainboard, and then SM10000 box packs 64 such mainboards. Then there’s special Dynamic Compute Allocation Technology (DCAT) which balances load across the various CPUs and can dynamically set unused chips into sleep mode.
Connections to the network are via up to 64 gigabit ethernet ports, and you can also have up to 64 hard-drives. According to SeaMicro the whole thing says the whole thing uses less than 2 kilowatts of power but can run regular applications with no modification necessary. No word on how much the SeaMicro SM10000 costs, however.