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But according to analyst firm Pund-IT, the new Atom S1200 SoC puts Intel "several steps ahead of where any ARM-based" chip maker is today, mainly because processors based on ARM's next-generation 64-bit architectures aren't slated to launch until at least 2013.
"ARM-based microserver development is certainly intriguing, especially given the involvement of systems vendors like Dell and HP, but we believe that at least some of these solutions will be slower out of the gate than many expect," wrote Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, in a research note Tuesday.
Long-time Intel rival AMD announced in October its plans to launch a 64-bit ARM-based microserver processor under its Opteron series brand. The chips are slated to launch in 2014, and AMD told CRN it plans to stick to that timeline.
"2014 is not very far away in the world of box-building," said Andrew Feldman, general manager of AMD's Data Center Server Solutions group and former CEO of SeaMicro, the microserver vendor AMD announced it was acquiring in February. "That means people see a lot of parts in the latter part of 2013, and we begin shipping in 2014. That's just around the corner."
Looking ahead, Intel said it is already working on its next-generation Atom SoC code-named "Avoton," which should be available sometime next year and leverages the chip maker's tri-gate 22-nm transistors.