Intel teases next embedded Atom

At the Spring Intel Developer Forum in Beijing, China earlier today, Intel took a moment to tease an upcoming Atom system-on-a-chip designed specifically for embedded applications. Most notably, the Tunnel Creek SoC features on-chip PCI Express connectivity intended to help minimize the cost and footprint of embedded designs.

Tunnel Creek will also include an Atom processor core, a memory controller, a graphics core, and a video decoding engine, all sharing the same piece of silicon. Thanks to the included PCIe connectivity, Intel says firms will be able to “connect their own custom-built silicon to the Intel chip as long as it is . . . PCI Express compliant.” Intel believes Tunnel Creek will find its way into “IP phones, printers and in-vehicle-infotainment systems for cars.”

Speaking of which, Chinese car maker HawTai was at the show:

[Doug Davis, corporate vice president and general manager of Intel’s embedded and communications group] also welcomed an executive from major Chinese auto manufacturer, Rongcheng HawTai Automobile* to join him on stage. HawTai announced that its new B11* luxury sedan will incorporate the Intel Atom processor and open-source MeeGo software platform in its in-vehicle-infotainment systems.

Cui Chunfeng from China Mobile was also on stage and, in Intel’s words, “discussed how the largest wireless company in the world will partner with Intel in developing its next generation wireless network infrastructure to help move China Mobile into a ‘compute and cloud’ model.” If that’s not clear enough, Cui explicitly said the partnership will involve China Mobile using Intel-architecture processors.

Comments closed
    • thermistor
    • 11 years ago

    #20…Well at x86 tasks anyhow.

    • StashTheVampede
    • 11 years ago

    I’ll take a NAS with an embedded Atom chip.

      • eitje
      • 11 years ago

      I built a NAS with an Atom chip.

        • StashTheVampede
        • 11 years ago

        I’m actually using Intel’s current “NAS” and it’s a celeron with four drives that aren’t hot swap. It’s VERY fast for reads and I’m sure going Atom would make the unit a bit smaller.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 11 years ago

    Any idea if this version will increase the number of SATA ports? I’d heard that Intel was planning a version of the Atom specifically for NASes. That’s something I’d like to play with.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 11 years ago

      “IP phones, printers and in-vehicle-infotainment systems for cars.”

      I think the idea here is to reduce them.

      I haven’t heard about a NAS version, but that would probably come along with the DDR3 update.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 11 years ago

        Nm. It appears that Intel aren’t changing anything but the CPU chip for the DDR3 version of Atom, and the NAS devices which have more SATA ports and new Atom CPUs are just swapping the standard low power southbridge for one of Intel’s normal ones.

        In actual use, that’s probably not terribly different from connecting something else to this embedded version. Either way certainly works, but it doesn’t appear as if there’s any sort of inherent advantage to any upcoming version.

          • UberGerbil
          • 11 years ago

          Yeah, the only real advantage would be if they put support for more ports on the silicon directly (which presumably a third party could do according to that quote from Intel, though I’m still from Missouri wrt to any of these “custom” 3rd party variants). If you could dispense with a second chip then you get power and cost savings, obviously. Otherewise, it’s just up to somebody to put together a mobo with the right SB and a bunch of ports. It’s certainly an interesting idea, particularly since you could also make it a more general network appliance — run your torrent client to stream data from the internet directly to your NAS, with support for a second gigE port you could also use it as a firewall, etc.

    • Farting Bob
    • 11 years ago

    So will this be any faster or more power efficient, or just marginally cheaper to produce? They keep on doing incremental updates to the atom chip, but none of them seem to extend battery life or speed things up, either of which would make alot of people happy.

      • sweatshopking
      • 11 years ago

      they are concentrating on shrinking it to fit in your phone. intel figures they are fast enough for MID now. just need to make them smaller and cheaper. I disagree, but they dont.

        • NeelyCam
        • 11 years ago

        Why would you disagree?

          • sweatshopking
          • 11 years ago

          cause it’s slow as hell. yah yah some guys liked them. I had a dell 9inch, tried it with xp and with ubuntu. after 2 weeks, i promptly sent it back. too slow to be useful.

            • OneArmedScissor
            • 11 years ago

            They’re not going to actually make it any faster until 2011 when there’s a completely new 32nm version. Don’t hold your breath for anything useful to come of that.

            I have my doubts that they can really lower the power much more so long as netbooks have the same sorts of screens, RAM, and southbridge setup as laptops. Any modern CPU can be restricted to a very minimal power state and there’s just not enough of a distinction in the platform itself.

            • NeelyCam
            • 11 years ago

            Yeah, but of course you would expect higher performance from something that looks like a laptop.

            We’re talking about cell phones here. The current atoms have much more computational power than any cell phone chip. Other stuff like HDD, OS etc. are the reasons why netbooks seem slow.

            There’s no reason why a power-scaled atom wouldn’t eat ARM’s lunch.

      • tfp
      • 11 years ago

      This last iteration that just came out will have better battery life because of the power saved with the better north bridge vs what was used before. The power usage of the system (CPU/MB) is down about half if I am remembering right.

      If netbook makers drop the size of the battery everytime intel makes an improvement in power consumption the end user will never see longer battery life. They might see cheaper netbooks though.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 11 years ago

        As time goes on, the number of netbooks sold will drop, and the price will likely just go up.

        Almost all the new version of Atom really accomplished was reducing the manufacturing cost, but netbooks went up almost $100, and the profits from netbook sales still dropped dramatically.

        If they really cut them down to truly separate them from laptops and sold them for under $200, they’d probably be able to move enough of them.

        The trouble is that all of the manufacturers are hell bent on keeping the lines between the two as blurred as possible, and while they’re wasting time not sorting that out at all, new MP3/video players, tablets, and smart phones are creeping up on netbooks.

        Of course, Atom is actually intended for those things, so it still makes sense, but netbooks likely won’t for much longer.

    • BoBzeBuilder
    • 11 years ago

    Apple Tax!!!

      • 5150
      • 11 years ago

      Third post!!!

        • bthylafh
        • 11 years ago

        The story comment section really needs a killfile.

          • 5150
          • 11 years ago

          Can it run Crysis?

    • Hattig
    • 11 years ago

    So that Intel/TSMC plan to allow for custom Atom SoCs didn’t pan out eh?

      • NeelyCam
      • 11 years ago

      TSMC 32nm got killed and 40nm is in trouble… I wonder if this had something to do with it..?

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