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Friday, July 25, 2008
Intel Outlines 'System on Chip' Designs Based on Atom

Intel on Wednesday said it is developing a new category of highly integrated, purpose-built and Web-savvy System on Chip (SoC) designs and products, most of them based on its energy efficient Atom processors.

The company also unveiled its first eight such products under its Intel EP80579 Integrated Processor family for security, storage, communications, and industrial robotics.

For the first time, Intel is architecting several of these smarter SoC chip designs based on the same blueprint as the company's existing processors that run the bulk of the Internet, called Intel architecture (IA). Intel said that products would offer new levels of performance and energy efficiency versus traditional SoCs, combine multiple functions and would be customized to target the company's traditional computing businesses and several growth areas across Consumer Electronics (CE), Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) and embedded markets.

Intel has more than 15 SoC projects planned internally, including the company's first Consumer Electronics (CE) chip codenamed "Canmore" scheduled for introduction later this year and the second-generation "Sodaville" next year. In addition, Intel's second-generation embedded product line is scheduled to arrive in 2009, with Intel's next-generation platform for Mobile Internet Devices code-named "Moorestown" and featuring "Lincroft," scheduled for release in 2009/2010. Many of these new products will be based on the Intel Atom processor core.

"We're now able to deliver more highly integrated products ranging from industrial robotics and in-car infotainment systems to set-top boxes, MIDs and other devices. By designing more complex systems onto smaller chips, Intel will scale the performance, functionality and software compatibility of IA while controlling the overall power, cost and size requirements to better meet respective market needs," said Gadi Singer, vice president of Intel's Mobility Group and general manager, SoC Enabling Group. "Best of all, customers and consumers will equally benefit."

Four of the eight new smart SoC Intel EP80579 Integrated Processor products include Intel QuickAssist Technology that simplifies the use and deployment of security and packet accelerators in Intel-based computers. Each SoC is based on the Intel Pentium M processor, integrated memory controller hub, and a variety of integrated communications and embedded I/O controllers.

These processors include a 256KB of cache memory. The models are illustrated in the following table:

Processor model
Supported DDR2 memory

These products come in a range of speeds, power dissipation and commercial/industrial temperature options. In some cases, they will lead to platforms that have a 45 percent smaller board footprint and 34 percent lower power dissipation.

The smart SoC versions with Intel QuickAssist Technology accelerate cryptographic and packet processing for security appliances such as virtual private network (VPN) gateways, firewalls, Unified Threat Management (UTM) and enterprise voice applications such as Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) and converged access platforms.

Intel said that it already has 50 customers for these products, many of which have had access to them for nearly a year. A variety of initial systems will arrive this quarter, with more expected later this year and next, as embedded system design cycles can take 12 to 18 months to get into the marketplace.

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