Intel adds Atom with embedded FPGA

Well, it looks like Intel is treading some new ground with its Atom CPUs. The company has announced the Atom E600C series, a new lineup of chips that bring together Atom E600 microprocessors and Altera field-programmable gate arrays on the same package.

Intel says four derivatives, branded E665CT, E645CT, E665C, and E645C, will be available within the next two months. Another two, the E625CT and E625C, will follow next quarter. Intel quotes volume prices of $61 to $106, which aren't a whole lot higher than what it charges for netbook- and nettop-bound Atom CPUs right now.

According to the official announcement, the Atom E600C series let hardware makers incorporate "a wide range of standard and user-defined I/O interfaces, high-speed connectivity, memory interfaces and process acceleration to meet the evolving needs of embedded device market segments." FPGAs, naturally, can be programmed to stand in for dedicated silicon in a variety of tasks. Embedding them onto the same silicon as the Atom CPU core is an interesting move, though.

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