Intel sought to downplay that threat. "There's been some interest in low-power but it's been a bit overblown," said Dylan Larson, director of technology initiatives in Intel's data center group. He acknowledged that some workloads might benefit from the efficiency of certain very low-power chips.
"We won't be asleep at the wheel," he said, implying Intel will act to address the changing demands.
Some vendors already have. Just this week, SeaMicro introduced the second generation of its servers that use 256 low-power, dual-core Intel Atom processors, which Intel intended for use in netbooks. While Intel wasn't keen to support SeaMicro's efforts initially, it has changed its tune since the first server was received fairly well by the market, Brookwood said. "Instead of 'You're nuts,' Intel is now saying 'What can we do to help you,'" he said.
But other companies are working on similar concepts using ARM-based processors.
"Because of Intel's corporate culture of 'only the paranoid survive,' it's worrying about where the little guys are coming from who can eat up Intel," Brookwood said.
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