Intel's Core processor family makes deeper dive into embedded computing -

Intel’s Core processor family makes deeper dive into embedded computing


In a lot of ways, what differentiates an embedded microprocessor from a standard microprocessor is the amount of time that the vendor promises to keep that processor available. In the case of Intel's latest Core family of CPUs, the company has pledged a seven-year lifecycle.

The family of 10 products are filled with such features as advanced power management, error-correcting code (ECC), a smaller footprint, and increased power efficiency using the company's Turbo Boost and Hyper Threading (HT) technologies. Turbo Boost is the processor's ability to run slight faster than its rated speed, up to 133 MHz faster. HT is an intelligent way of making the most efficient use of multiple processor cores. Hence, multi-threaded software applications can execute threads in parallel within each of the processor's cores.

The ten members of the Core family range from two to four cores, running at 1.06 to 3.33 GHz. Maximum power dissipation runs from 18 to 95 W. Most are produced using the company's latest process technology at 32 nm. In all cases, the processors join with the QM57 (or Q57 for non-mobile) chip sets. That chip set allows you to connect to all the various peripherals, including PCI Express, display, audio, Ethernet, SATA, USB, etc.

Like many of the products announced by Intel, simultaneous announcements were made many of the company's ecosystem partners. This includes ADlink, Advantech, Curtiss Wright, Emerson, EuroTech, RadiSys, and TenAsys.

One such example, is a separation kernel and embedded hypervisor announced by LynuxWorks. The company's LynxSecure will provide the performance and security enhancements needed for next-generation products. The software supplies an environment in which multiple guest operating systems and their applications can execute at the same time, in their own virtual partitions without compromising security, reliability or data integrity.

Another partner, GE Intelligent Platforms, announced three single board computers based on 2.53-GHz version of the family. The new boards are the rugged 6U VME VR12, the rugged 6U CompactPCI CR12, and the 6U VME XVB601. The boards are suited for such applications as radar processing and flight control as well as in general purpose industrial and commercial system-level applications.

Kontron, who is also a partner of Intel, introduced the Kontron VX6060, a VPX computing blade for parallel data and signal processing applications. Using two independently implemented Core i7 processing nodes linked to an Ethernet and PCIe infrastructure, the VX6060 serves as a building block for intensive parallel computing workloads where a cluster of VX6060s can be used in full mesh VPX or switched OpenVPX environments. Target applications for the VX6060 include radar, sonar, imaging systems, airborne fighters, and UAV radar which will use clusters of the VPX blade.

ADLink Technology developed the Express-CB Computer-on-Module (COM) using the Core i7/i5 processors and QM57 Express chip set. Integrated graphics support includes features such as OpenGL 2.1, DirectX10, and Intel's Dynamic Video Memory Technology (DVMT 5.0). Graphics outputs include CRT, LVDS, and Embedded DisplayPort.

The Express-CB is specifically designed for customers with high-performance processing graphics requirements who want to outsource the custom core logic of their systems for reduced development time. Target applications include medical diagnostic equipment and medical imaging, portable medical devices, instrumentation, industrial automation, transportation, data storage, infotainment, gaming, and video preprocessing.

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