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November 2013, Volume 2, Number 10

Reintroducing the RISC processor for data center servers

At its core, the RISC processor offers energy efficiency and compute power that may tempt server vendors. But certain limitations may prevent RISC from ousting x86 from the data center throne. Improving processor design Part 1: Modern processor design means integration, efficiency Part 2: Reintroducing the RISC processor for data center servers Reduced instruction set computing (RISC) is really an old computing idea that appears in every dedicated computing appliance like printers, routers and industrial controllers -- any device that performs limited jobs and doesn’t need a wealth of diverse instructions. But the relentless drive toward data center energy and computing efficiency has underscored the realization that an enterprise runs many mundane applications like DNS servers, Web servers, file servers, security gateways and even cloud computing tasks. Applying an x86 processor to all of these simple, yet very important, business tasks can be better left to RISC-based servers that use less energy and execute suitable programs ...

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