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Open Compute 'Group Hug' Board Allows Swappable CPUs In Servers 82

Nerval's Lobster writes "AMD, Intel, ARM: for years, their respective CPU architectures required separate sockets, separate motherboards, and in effect, separate servers. But no longer: Facebook and the Open Compute Summit have announced a common daughtercard specification that can link virtually any processor to the motherboard. AMD, Applied Micro, Intel, and Calxeda have already embraced the new board, dubbed 'Group Hug.' Hardware designs based on the technology will reportedly appear at the show. The Group Hug card will be connected via a simple x8 PCI Express connector to the main motherboard. But Frank Frankovsky, director of hardware design and supply chain operations at Facebook, also told an audience at the Summit that, while a standard has been provided, it may be some time before the real-world appearance of servers built on the technology."
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Open Compute 'Group Hug' Board Allows Swappable CPUs In Servers

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  • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @05:54PM (#42609351)
    The GbE controller may or may not be part of an IO hub which would provide USB and SATA. Also there is likely to be a video device (though ARM has video as SoC as a matter of course, Intel and AMD server chips do not have Video on package... yet....).

    In a server, there is usually some service processor so that software bugs don't require a physical visit to regain capacity. In terms of manageability, I'd expect some I2C connectivity (the relation betwen fan and processor can get very interesting actually). Intel processor speaks PECI exclusively nowadays, wouldn't be surprised if standard basically forces a thermal control mechanism to terminate PECI on daughter card to speak i2c to the fan management subsystem. This is probably the greatest lost opportunity for energy savings; a wholistic system can do some pretty interesting things knowing what the fans are capable of and what sort of baffling is in place.

    Also, the daughtercard undoubtedly brings the firmware with it.

    All in all, the daughtercard is going to be the motherboard and not much changes. Maybe you get to reuse SATA chips, gigabit, usb and 'on-board' video chips for some cost savings on a mass upgrade, but those parts are pretty cheap and even they get dated. video, USB and gigabit might not matter for the internet datacenter of today and several tomorrows to come, but the SATA throughput is actually significant for data mining.

Torque is cheap.