Last year when RadiSys started designing the next generation SBC, the ATCA-4500, we decide to use the Intel Xeon L5518 processor. We were excited about the potential performance that the integrated memory controller and hyper-threading might provide. The goal was to build a single socket SBC that would provide higher performance at a lower cost then a dual socket SBC based on the quad core L5408 processor. When we started benchmarking last summer, we got even more excited. In all the industry standard benchmarks a single L5518 provide higher performance than a dual 5408 processor.
We also focused on the total cost of ownership when we designed the board.
We focused on the thermal so the ATCA-4500 work in most customers existing chassis. This allows them to upgrade systems in the field, and they can continue to use their existing chassis. No customer wants to go through the expense and time of validating a new chassis simple to get a new SBC to work.
Support for 8 DDR3 VLP DIMMs instead of 6 DIMMs. This allows customers to scale up to 32GB of memory with 4GB DIMM and up to 64GB DIMM when the 8GB memory modules become available later this year. This also saves customers money when they need more then 24GB of memory. They can reach higher memory densities with the 4GB modules thus avoiding the price premium of the 8GB DIMM modules.
Support for EFI instead of legacy BIOS allows customers to take advantage of the pre-OS scripting environment EFI provides. Customers can add EFI applications to their system that can provide pre-OS diagnostics or bare metal provisioning.
The ATCA-4500 also supports options dual user flash of up to 16GB each (total of 32GB). The flash density is finally getting to a where customers can replace spinning drive for applications that minimum storage requirements.
Hopefully when Spring 2010 rolls around I can write about the advantages of the Westmere processor and how it provides a drop in replacement for the ATCA-4500, and how the Cubs have a chance to repeat the World Series title in 2010
Additional information about RadiSys and the ATCA-4500 are available at