Intel Renews Its Embedded Commitment

By Nicole Freeman

At September’s IDF in San Francisco, CA, Intel gave embedded developers reason to celebrate. The company made several key announcements, extending embedded offerings with its Intel® Core™ 2 Duo processors including expanded life-cycle support for the Intel Core 2 Duo processors E6400 and T7400 for embedded applications, used in small form factor applications.

Based on Intel® Core™ microarchitecture, these two dual-core processors provide developers with high-performance, power-efficient solutions with long life-cycle support: five to seven years for embedded developers. The embedded Intel Core 2 Duo processors are aimed at users programming performance-intensive, low-power embedded applications that require smaller form factors, including ATMs, point-of-sale registers, gaming platforms, industrial control and automation, digital security surveillance, medical imaging, and communications applications.

The E6400 and T7400 processors offer a power-sensitive blueprint design, providing enhanced energy-efficient performance to help equipment manufacturers balance processing capabilities within power and space constraints. System- enhancing hardware extras such as Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT) are also included. With Intel VT, embedded applications running on separate platforms can be consolidated onto a single platform, providing cost savings and improving reliability and manageability.

Also announced is Intel’s extended life-cycle support for the most recent chipset to pair with the Core 2 Duo E6400: the Intel® Q965 Express chipset. This chipset includes Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT), which allows for remote management and minimizes productivity loss due to system downtime. The Intel Core 2 Duo T7400 processor has been validated with the Mobile Intel® 945GM Express chipset, an extended life-cycle chipset announced earlier this year.

ADLINK Launches M-885 with Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor
Intel® Communication Alliance member ADLINK Technology has released the M-885, an FlexATX industrial motherboard that uses the Mobile Intel 945GM Express chipset and supports the Intel Core 2 Duo processor.

With a 667MHz front side bus, up to 2GB dual-channel DDR2 memory, and an integrated graphics engine, the M-885 is aimed at developers creating multitasking and memory-intensive applications, such as game consoles, ATMs, interactive terminals, and automation control systems. Deployed with low-power CPUs, the M-885 keeps heat dissipation low, reducing system slowdown and extending the component’s life cycle. It supports high-performance, low-power CPUs and has a compact FlexATX footprint, letting the M-885 fit a variety of industrial chassis designs and customizations.

The M-885 comes with the Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950, which provides visual quality and faster 2D/3D performance. The M-885 also includes one channel LVDS with inverter power control for LCD application.

The motherboard includes two serial ATA ports and a single-channel ATA100 connector for data storage. The M-885 supports up to six high-speed USB2.0 ports, two RS-232 COM ports, a 26-pin parallel port, and an IrDA header. Prepared for applications that use hi-fi sound, the board comes with multi-channel, high-definition audio via the Realtek ALC880 Codec.

RadiSys Rolls Endura 945GM Mini-ITXexpress

RadiSys, another Intel Communication Alliance member, has announced its new long-life Endura TP945GM Mini-ITXexpress motherboard. It combines a small form factor and support for the Intel Core Duo processor with advanced audio-video features and accelerated performance.

The Endura TP945GM Mini-ITXexpress represents a significant performance enhancement coupled with reduced power consumption compared with previous- generation boards. The TP945GM’s audio-video capabilities are handled by the Mobile Intel 945GM Express chipset paired with an integrated 3D graphics engine based on the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 architecture and eight-channel, high-definition audio. The new motherboard measures 6.7x6.7 inches (170mm x 170mm) square and is RoHS compliant.

The Endura TP945GM has an estimated production lifetime of five to seven years, eliminating the need to qualify new board revisions every year, as is typical of commercial motherboards. The Endura TP945GM has been designed for extended temperature operation up to 70C, making it a candidate for use in space-constrained systems with demanding thermal requirements. The board’s increased performance comes with lower power consumption, providing more MIPS per watt. The integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 also delivers enhanced 3D graphics performance. The Endura TP945GM is targeted at designers building next-generation applications such as medical imaging equipment, entertainment systems, web-based terminals, kiosks, gaming platforms, network appliances, test-and-measurement devices, and industrial automation programs.

The Endura TP945GM supports a scalable range of embedded Intel processors including the Intel® Core™ Duo processor T2500 2GHz, Intel Core Duo processor L2400 1.66GHz, and Intel® Celeron® M Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) 423 1.06GHz processors. The thermal design power (TDP) for these processors ranges from 31W for the T2500 down to 5.5W for the ULV 423. The Mobile Intel 945GM Express chipset has a 667MHz front side bus and supports up to 4GB of dual-channel, DDR2-667 memory.

The integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 provides 3D graphics performance and an x16 PCI Express graphics slot. An on-board VGA interface, 18-bit dual channel LVDS interface, and TV-out header for composite, S-video, and component video provides a choice of video outputs. Media expansion cards can be used in the x16 PCI Express graphics slot to provide additional DVI and LVDS outputs. Any video output can be used with dual independent displays.

An eight-channel codec provides support for 7.1 surround sound and multichannel high-definition audio for superior playback quality. An S/PDIF interface also provides high-quality digital audio output. On-board expansion is provided via a mini-PCI slot, an x16 PCI Express slot (which also supports x1 PCI Express cards), an optional PCMCIA type II socket, and an optional CompactFlash socket. The Endura TP945GM is fully RoHS 6 compliant.

Sample units of the Endura TP945GM will be available from September 2006, with volume production starting in October 2006.

Intel Gains Momentum in the NOR Flash Memory Sector
In addition to the three-volt (3V) version of the Intel StrataFlash® embedded memory architecture and serial peripheral interface (SPI) offering, Intel recently announced a set of NOR flash memory products for the emerging low-cost handset development market. The products have a new pin-sharing package that minimizes pin count and are configured to work with low-cost, single-chip baseband and RF solutions from chipset suppliers. Major handset vendors are expected to start introducing low-cost cell phones based on Intel flash products this quarter.

As the mobile consumer market continues to demand low-cost phones, the release of Intel® NOR Flash memory products are particularly well-timed. Although it might not seem like it in the local supermarket checkout line, only about 20% of the world’s population uses cell phones, largely because of handset costs.

Intel’s products for the low-cost handset market segment feature lower-density NOR flash memory products from 32Mb to 256Mb with optional RAM in a multichip package. These products include a common 88-ball QUAD+ package with an address-data multiplexed (A/D Mux) configuration created to simplify the design-in process, enable faster time-to-market, and lower design costs. These memory solutions are expected to evolve to support the common 107-ball x 16C package with an A/D Mux configuration. To enable accelerated design cycles, Intel offers a portable low-cost handset design kit, which includes a design guide, product datasheets, and migration guides.

Intel® Embedded Solutions Conference
Need to learn how to use the new Intel® embedded processors and technologies, including embedded Intel architecture and Intel microarchitecture?The upcoming Intel® Embedded Solutions Conferences will deliver details on new, scalable product lines from Intel featuring lower power consumption and higher performance, while integrating to meet the needs of a broad range of applications.

Please pre-register for complimentary admission at http://www.intelembeddedconference.com/.