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Google Motherboard

Robert McMillan, Wired, This Google Motherboard Means Trouble for Intel, here. It has been years since I have played with any POWER chips.

The latest blow to Intel’s future arrived on Monday in the form of a red server motherboard touted by Gordon MacKean, the man responsible for building the hundreds of thousands of servers that power Google’s online empire. In a Google+ post, MacKean said he was “excited” to show off the red motherboard, which was built using not an Intel chip, but IBM’s Power8 processor.

To the outsider, the motherboard may not look like much, but the fact that Google has taken the time and effort to port its software to IBM’s architecture and even design a motherboard based on an IBM processor is a big deal. Since its beginning, back in 1998, Google has used servers equipped with Intel processors, and today the company is one of the world’s largest buyers of Intel server chips. The search giant doesn’t make servers for anyone but itself, but it’s likely the fifth-largest Intel server chip customer on Earth.

The Christopher Lameter, an R&D team lead with JumpTrading, a Chicago-based high-frequency trading firm, says that he hopes that the OpenPower effort will lead to new types of chip design that will be useful to customers like JumpTrading. He worries that the desktop slowdown will ultimately hurt new Intel developments on the server side, some four-to-six years down the line. And at the same time, he’s excited by some of the new things that have been developed in the mobile phone world. “On the kernel level, it seems that ARM/Android [is] driving innovation,” he says.

Wowsers, it’s the best when finance guys set up to do chip design like The Chistopher Lameter is getting ready to do. “Somebody go back an get a shitload of L3 cache.”

 

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