Monday, November 22nd 2010

Intel Expands Customer Choice with First Configurable Intel Atom-based Processor

With the debut of six products based on the Intel Atom processor, Intel Corporation is making it easier for customers to go-to-market with differentiated, custom-made designs. The company today announced the configurable Intel Atom processor E600C series, which features an Intel Atom E600 processor (formerly codenamed “Tunnel Creek”) paired with an Altera Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) in a single package.

The new Intel Atom processor provides greater flexibility and faster time-to-market for customers, who can now more readily handle design changes without complicated hardware changes – helping to lower development costs. In addition, the new processor offers board space savings and better inventory control due to the single package, as well as a simplified manufacturing flow and single vendor support through Intel.

“Our customers’ needs are continually evolving and they look to Intel to provide leading-edge products and technologies that will help them differentiate and compete in the markets they serve,” said Doug Davis, Intel vice president, general manager, Embedded and Communications Group, Intel Corporation. “Our new configurable Atom series helps to address these customer needs and provides greater flexibility with a simplified product choice, through one vendor.”



Based on Intel architecture, the Intel Atom E600C processor series provides original equipment manufacturers with the flexibility to incorporate a wide range of standard and user-defined I/O interfaces, high-speed connectivity, memory interfaces and process acceleration to meet the evolving needs of embedded device market segments.

The Atom E600C processor series comes with Intel’s extended 7-year-long life-cycle manufacturing support, and industrial and commercial temperature options, which makes it ideal for market segments such as industrial machines, portable medical equipment, communications gear, vision systems, voice over Internet protocol devices, high-performance programmable logic controllers and embedded computers.

Kontron, a leading embedded computing technology solutions manufacturer, has Atom processor E600C-based prototype boards available now, with full production beginning in the second quarter of 2011.

Formerly codenamed “Stellarton,” the Intel Atom processors E665CT, E645CT, E665C, and E645C are scheduled to be available within 60 days. The E625CT and E625C are on track to be available in the first quarter of 2011. Prices range from $61 to $106 in quantities of 1,000.
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10 Comments on Intel Expands Customer Choice with First Configurable Intel Atom-based Processor

#1
newfellow
"with full production beginning in the second quarter of 2011"

^ heh, PR crap.. Release the damn cores and get them to people like AMD does, atm.
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#2
iLLz
Wait what?????? What has AMD got to the people lately? Bulldozer? Fusion? You enjoying them right now? I'm all for Intel and this custom design. Its part of these FPGA they are manufacturing for other companies and actually rolling them into and Atom chip.
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#3
swaaye
Interesting. A CPU with an integrated FPGA die. I guess this means Atom is extremely popular for integrating into weird little custom devices.
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#4
Completely Bonkers
Dug Davis needs to cut 50% of the repetitive self-congratulating aggrandisement PR crap, AND go out and hire a proper actor that can remember his lines without an autocue and can deliver the voice stresses and intonations properly and authentically without looking like some kind of handicapped person with headshake.

The video is awful.

It's a shame, because the product might actually be interesting. Some case study examples of how the FPGA can be used would be far more educational than just referring to "industrial and embedded". Yawn. This guy just wants his Wharhol 15 minutes. He's had it, now please leave the building.
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#5
HalfAHertz
by: swaaye
Interesting. A CPU with an integrated FPGA die. I guess this means Atom is extremely popular for integrating into weird little custom devices.
These things are usually used in all kinds of automated manufacturing machines from printing presses to conveyor belt robots and I don;t think any of them are little :D
Basically the atom runs the interface and the FPGA moves the machine. FPGAs are a mixed bag. They can be very fast but only at a certain task.
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#6
DaJMasta
by: swaaye
Interesting. A CPU with an integrated FPGA die. I guess this means Atom is extremely popular for integrating into weird little custom devices.
It's the ideal CPU at the moment for X86 work... a small footprint, high level of integration (system on a chip for the most part), and extremely low TDP, but also clocks up high enough in some configurations to have some real computing power for embedded apps. Having the FPGA just adds another level of embedding, saving PCB space, cooling solutions, and the price of additional components.
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#7
hat
Enthusiast
I don't get it. What's so configurable about it?
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#8
Yukikaze
by: hat
I don't get it. What's so configurable about it?
An FPGA is a Field-Programmable Gate Array. By "burning" an FPGA image onto the device you can make it emulate the actual logic gate arrangements of a different chip. At work we use FPGAs to emulate future devices for which the actual silicon is not yet in production in order to test out the logic design and the firmware.

FPGAs can do two main things which make them very worthwhile:
1) Keep development costs down (We are using the same FPGA setups with different images for the emulation of several future products at work, some of them with widely different specs).
2) Allows the design of flexible hardware which can be tailored for a specific task in the field.

However, they are typically slower than actual silicon dies by around a factor of 10 (that is, they run at a clock-rate 10 times slower than the actual device they emulate), so they cannot simply replace all non-FPGA devices with more flexible systems. They are also quite expensive.
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#9
Completely Bonkers
by: hat
I don't get it. What's so configurable about it?
Think of an FPGA nothing more than a "really stupid, but very flexible computer chip". It is like a processor and a bios and a bit of ram all stuck together, but with "1980's" type of computational abilities.

What do you do if you want to design the "brains" in a microwave oven? Or a car dashboard/computer? Or a washing machine? Or an ABS braking system? You can either start with a blank piece of paper and develop silicon from scratch to do this (it will take you years and be very very expensive in R&D), or you can take a FPGA, an FPGA programmer attached to a PC, and FPGA development software, and design your piece of silicon in days if not weeks on a chip you can buy off the shelf in large quantities. R&D and time to market are very much reduced.

FPGA are also very good at handling I/O. So whereas we think of a CPU as the brains and the chipset that does the I/O, and FPGA really is a very very rudimentary "CPU" but very flexible in the I/O. (It's all relative, of course nothing is as flexible as a PC with a professional I/O card, but try sticking one a PC in your car to manage the ABS brakes for less than $10! LOL)
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#10
W1zzard
by: Completely Bonkers
but try sticking one a PC in your car to manage the ABS brakes for less than $10!
automotive stuff like abs is all asics noadays because at some production volume getting your own silicon made (high initial cost, low volume cost) becomes cheaper than using fpgas (low initial cost, but doesnt get significantly cheaper with volume)
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