How Intel Builds Custom Chips for Giants of the Web

This is a great article that proves you can sometimes cut out the middle man and go directly to the source.  The Facebook servers are still assembled in Asia (likely by Foxconn or Gigabyte) and then shipped back for use in the datacenter.

According to Frank Frankovsky — who oversees hardware design at Facebook — this started as far back as 2009. That’s when the company first asked Intel for certain changes to the design of the silicon chips it builds for computer servers — the machines that drive the internet and the private computer networks inside the world’s businesses. Since then, Frankovsky says, Intel has worked hand-in-hand with the company to accommodate such changes.

For the most part, he explains, these changes are rolled into the same processors that Intel sells to the world at large, though there are cases where the changes are unlikely to benefit anyone but Facebook. “The more insight we can give our technology suppliers about what makes our software work the best, the more we’re able to influence their design roadmaps,” Frankovsky says. “We do influence their roadmaps — way upstream — but then they are able to bring these changes out to all of their customers.”

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This is really the best part of the whole article, Intel releasing purposefully overclocked CPUs.

He also says that there are cases where Intel will crank the chip clock speeds to unusually high levels at the request of certain buyers — if the buyer is willing to deal with the extra heat this generates. 

I guess we now know where the K and X edition processors got their start. big grin smile

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