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Intel tips big plans for x86 SoCs

Apr 3, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Intel's x86-based SoC (system-on-chip) processor roadmap may be much broader than originally thought, judging by a presentation by Intel Embedded GM Doug Davis at the Embedded Systems Conference this week. Additionally, Intel has shipped its first quad-core processors for embedded applications, and announced an 8-core server platform due in July.

Intel's plans for an x86-based SoC were leaked last month by Chinese technology website HKEPC. The site described Intel's initial “Tolapai” SoC design as being based on a Pentium M core clocked at 600MHz to 1.2GHz, with integrated external memory controller and I/O peripheral interfaces. Its power envelope would range between 13 and 25 Watts, the site said.

Speaking at ESC today, however, Intel's Doug Davis spoke of SoC-architecture chips with thermal envelopes between 15 and 75 Watts, suggesting Intel may be planning on offering x86-based SoCs for a broader range of applications than originally expected. One is reminded of Centaur processor company founder Glenn Henry's statement, “It's clear that the processor is the black hole, and that all silicon is going to fall into it at some point.”

In other embedded Intel news, Intel has shipped its first two embedded processors with 4-way cores. The 2.0GHz Xeon E5335 and 2.33GHz Xeon E5345 include Intel's virtualization and I/O acceleration technology, and target compute- and I/O-intensive applications such as rack-mount and blade servers, storage devices, and medical imaging equipment, Intel said. They are available immediately, priced northwards of $600 apiece.

Additionally, Intel announced plans to ship an NSC2U IP Network Server this July. Based on a pair of 5300-series Xeon processors, it will target network-centric applications, such as intrusion prevention, and telecommunications “services-over-IP” (SoIP), including IMS, IPTV, and VoD (video-on-demand), Intel said.

Additional details about Intel's ESC announcements may be available in eWEEK's coverage, here.

Meanwhile, the big embedded chip news from Intel competitor AMD at this year's ESC was the debut of x86 SoCs with embedded ATI graphics processors. Intel's initial Tolapai design is not expected to incorporate graphics.

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