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When it comes to processors, many of us in the computer industry can be a little like Tim Allen’s “Tool Time” character in the 1990s television show Home Improvement. We want more power, more performance—the best we can get. Which is why under the hood of my desktop, you’ll find a recent Intel® Core™ i7 processor that delivers more performance than I need for most applications. Yet when it comes time to do some video editing of footage from an adventure, watch out. This computer seriously earns its keep in whipping through transcoding and rendering tasks while I mercilessly continue multitasking on everything from web browsing to my writing projects.


It’s much different in the embedded industry. Here there’s a real talent in selecting the processor that delivers the right performance for a specific task or tasks. The more price-competitive a market, such as retail digital signage, the more important it is to offer a variety of products providing a full range of performance and price points. After all, not all signage customers are looking to screen ultra HD images and video on ultra high resolution displays. Often a customer just needs some players that will provide solid HD playback and high resolution video for advertising promotions and in-store branding.


For the displays that don’t need the eye-popping graphical performance of 4th generation Intel® Core™ processors, an Intel® Atom™ processor delivers great price/performance for a wide variety of fanless form factors. In these cases, developers turn to boards featuring either the Intel® Atom™ processor N2000 or D2000 series. These processor deliver excellent media performance for lower end players (see Figure 1). And do it running at a thermal design power (TDP) ranging from 3.5 W to 10 W.

Untitled-1 copy.bmp

Figure 1. For developers of digital media players, this chart provides helpful guidance on when to select a board with an Intel® Atom™ processor versus one with the more extensive features on an Intel® Core™ processor.



The Intel® Atom™ processor N2000/D2000 series use an integrated Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 3600/3650 to deliver high definition 1080p video playback and streaming at a fraction of the power consumption of their predecessors. This graphic engine includes two hardware decoders (H.264, VC-1, MPEG-2) and can power dual independent displays. The multiple digital display and output options include LVDS, HDMI, VGA, and DisplayPort.


An integrated memory controller supports up to 4GB of DDR3 system memory, providing plenty of headroom for whatever processing tasks are required. Features like Intel® Rapid Start Technology, which provides fast resume from standby, and Intel® Smart Connect Technology, which enables units to download content updates even during standby, have strong appeal in the retail market.


Add it all up and the Intel® Atom™ processor N2000/D2000 series provide a perfect entry solution for signage applications where the extreme video transcoding performance, ultra high resolutions, and the advanced management and security features of Intel® Core™ processors are not needed. Developers and system integrators instead can use these Intel Atom processors to deliver economical players that provide 1920 x 1200 resolution, smooth video playback at full HD 1080P video, and support for the common Microsoft Windows* operating systems that run most of the content creation and management software that signage customers want to use.


Solutions from the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance offer a wide array of media players and boards for digital signage and kiosk systems using processors from the Intel Atom processor N2000 and D2000 series. Their solutions make it easy to tap both performance and economy of these chips for price-sensitive markets. In this post, I want to highlight a number of them.


The fanless AAEON DSS-CV21 (Figure 2) features a small, slim enclosure (240mm x 32mm x 170mm) and is powered by the Intel® Atom™ Processor D2550 with 1M Cache at 1.86GHz. It supports dual view with one VGA and one HDMI port. Robust connectivity is available via Gigabit Ethernet connection and optional wireless LAN (Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n) antennae. Storage is one 2.5" HDD/SDD, with further storage capability through an SD Card Reader. Additional device connectivity is supplied by one RS-232 expansion port and four USB 2.0 ports. Multi-channel audio is also supported through an S/PDIF interface.



Figure 2. AAEON DSS-CV21


The Axiomtek OPS830 signage player (Figure 3) is a modular design featuring compatibility with the Open Pluggable Specification (OPS). This means you can insert it into any OPS-compatible display to make an all-in-one player/display unit. This player uses the Intel Atom processor D2550 and provides an array of display interfaces including a VGA port on the module and DisplayPort and DVI/HDMI via the slot-in JAE 80-pin connector used for OPS connections. A PCI Express Mini Card slot is available for graphics-enhanced video card, wireless LAN card, and tuner/AV capture card.



Figure 3. Axiomtek OPS830

The SECOpITX-x2000 (Figure 4) is a Single Board Computer in the Pico-ITX form factor (just 100mm x72mm) that is available with: the Intel® Atom™ D2550 at 1.86GHz and 10W TDP; the Intel® Atom™ N2800 at 1.86GHz and 6.5W TDP; and the Intel® Atom™ N2600 at 1.6GHz and 3.5W TDP. This small, feature-packed board with dual independent display support (HDMI connector and LVDS internal connector) is ideal for making a low-power entry-level media player for a wide variety of uses including retail signage and menu boards.



Figure 4. SECOpITX-x2000


The Supermicro SYS-1017A-MP (Figure 5) is a Mini-ITX box PC. This a compact, low power system features a 6.5W Intel Atom N2800 processor, 1x 2.5" HDD bay, 1x mini PCI-E expansion slot, and a VESA mount bracket. It’s ideal as a mountable compact media player. It supports VGA, HDMI and DisplayPort video. There are two Intel 82574L Gigabit Ethernet ports. The motherboard also has two USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0 ports. The system has a 60 W power supply.



Figure 5. Supermicro SYS-1017A-MP


The IEI ECN-360A-HM65 (Figure 6) is a fanless media player (255mm x 130mm x 63mm) available with either the Intel Atom processor D2550 (1.86 GHz) or the N2600 (1.6 GHz). This wall mountable system has a 2.5” SATA HDD bay for applications and media and an option for wireless LAN (802.11b/g/n) in addition to its 2x Realtek RTL8111E PCIe GbE controller.



Figure 6. IEI ECN-360-HM65


The Norco BIS-6595 (Figure 7)is an Intel® Atom™ processor-powered player utilizing the next generation of their proprietary large “ICEFIN” thermal design. This design ensures maximum heat dissipation and a true fanless system. Available with the Intel Atom processor N2800 or D2550, the unit (280mm x 219mm x 115mm) includes 2x Mini PCIe and one internal SIM slot, WiFi and 3G support for network connectivity, and DVI+VGA dual independent display output.



Figure 7. NORCO BIS-6595



We’ve just looked at six great options from members of the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance for meeting the needs of developers and system integrators targeting the market for entry-level digital signage solutions. I would encourage contacting these companies for information on other boards and solutions they have for addressing this growing market, as well as their products using Intel® Core™ processors to deliver high performance to mainstream and high-end signage solutions.




Learn More

Contact Featured Alliance members:


Solutions in this blog:

·        Aaeon DSS-CV21

·        Axiomtek OPS880

·        SECOpITX-x2000

·        Supermicro SYS-1017A-MP

·        IEI ECN-360A-HM65

·        Norco BIS-6595

Related topics:

·        Energy Efficiency - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)

·        Digital Signage - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)


Aaeon, Axiomtek, IEI, and Norco are Associate members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance. SECO and Super Micro are Affiliate members.


Mark Scantlebury

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Associate Editor, Embedded Innovator magazine

One great thing about digital signage media players and displays designed to the Open Pluggable Specification (OPS) is that developers and system integrators can capitalize on their modularity to update their product lines with the latest advancements in graphics performance. This is no small advantage. When it comes to capturing eyeballs, smart retailers and other digital signage users want the latest and greatest technology on the floor.


Ultra high resolution graphics and video make whatever is advertised look that much more intriguing and desirable, drawing people to the sign. That’s what makes the latest Intel® HD Graphics available with 4th generation Intel® Core™ processors so exciting. The Intel® Iris™ graphics available on select SKUs are such an improvement over the latest generation that they double the performance of the previous generation. Paired with an appropriate ultra-high resolution display, they can deliver brilliant 4K Ultra HD images and video for truly immersive experiences. You can even daisy-chain up to three displays and use a new collage mode to combine displays into a single unified super-sized image.


The media upgrades are particularly valuable for signage applications. They improve video decode performance and visual quality for outstanding multi-stream HD media playback. Intel® Quick Sync Video adds acceleration for MJPEG and H.264/MPEG-4 AVC Scalable Video Coding (SVC), as well as support for custom codecs through the Intel® Media SDK. In addition, the latest Intel® Clear Video HD Technology adds a separate video quality engine with new features to improve quality while lowering system power.

The 3D graphics engine, known as Intel® HD Graphics, also gets a major boost. It now features wider data paths, sampler improvements, double clocked geometry, more execution units, and support of the latest 3D APIs (DX11.1 and OGL4.3).


The Modular Advantage

If you’re new to OPS, you might want to check out an earlier post, “OPS Goes Mainstream.” In a nutshell, OPS modularizes the connection of display panels and media players, enabling any OPS-compliant player to be inserted into any OPS-compliant display. The displays have a built-in slot for OPS-compliant media players. The player and the display connect through an 80-pin JAE connector that supports commonly used interfaces such as DisplayPort and USB. (A short Intel video gives an overview of OPS and its benefits).


The big change since that earlier post is that now you can now get OPS-compatible players equipped with 4th generation Intel® Core™ processors that include Intel Iris graphics, or other improved versions of Intel HD Graphics, and the new collage mode.


Two OPS-Compliant Players Featuring the New Processor

Two good examples come from Axiomtek. The first is Axiomtek’s OPS880 (see Figure 1). This digital signage player combines a 4th generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor and the Mobile Intel® QM87 Express chipset. Compliant with standard OPS architecture, the OPS880 is an ideal choice for multi-display applications in shopping malls, stores, airports, corporate offices, schools, hotels, churches, banks, restaurants, performing art centers, museums, and more. The player supports Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT) 9.0 for remote management and control.



Figure 1. Axiomtek OPS880.


The OPS880 is connected to displays via the standardized JAE TX-25 plug connector, and includes an HDMI interface, DisplayPort, UART, Intel® HD Audio, and USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. The smart pluggable module is designed for quick installation and easy maintenance to save time and money, as well as make it easy to move from one monitor to another. The module supports one 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet and RS-232 to enable fast and efficient data computation and communication. Optional 802.11 b/g/n is available. In addition, one mSATA and two PCI Express Mini Card slots allow flexible storage and expansion options. System memory supports one 204-pin DDR3L-1600 SO-DOMM socket for a maximum of up to 8 GB capacity.


The very similarly equipped OPS885 (see Figure 2) takes security features a step further by including a Trusted Platform Module (TPM). This TPM works with Intel® Trusted Execution Technology (Intel® TXT), a versatile set of hardware extensions that enhance security capabilities through measured launch and protected execution. Intel TXT creates a chain of trust that can remotely attest that the player has its specified hardware setup and software and thus has not been compromised. By providing an environment where applications can run within their own space, protected from other software, it adds an important element of security in signage applications where networked devices could be used to gain access to sensitive data or proprietary content.



Figure 2. Axiomtek OPS885



OPS-Compliant Displays

Along with many other manufacturers, Axiomtek also offers OPS-compliant HD displays. The OFP321 OPS-compatible display features a 31.5-inch Full HD 1920x1080 LED-backlight LCD. An interactive IR touchscreen solution is optional.


Now, you might ask, is there an OPS-compatible 4K LCD monitor available? There is: the JVC ProVérité PS-840UD. This 84-inch class LCD panel with edge-illuminated LEDs delivers vibrant images from a wide range of HD and 4K input sources. With a native screen resolution of 3840 X 2160 (four times the resolution of full HD) images are sharper and crisper with higher contrast and incredible detail.


It’s hard to imagine how digital signage can get better than this. With 4th generation Intel Core processors, you get amazing resolution and video performance without an add-on graphics card. With OPS-compatible players, you get the ability to assemble tidy player/monitor units in which either player or monitor can be easily upgraded to the next level of performance that comes down the line. Nevertheless, I’ll be keeping my eye out for the next big development down the digital signage road. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing much more from Intel and the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance in the future.



Learn More

Contact Featured Alliance Member:

      ·    Contact Axiomtek

Solutions in this blog:

·        Axiomtek OPS880

·        Axiomtek OPS885

·        Axiomtek OFP321


Related topics:

·        Performance - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)

·        Interoperability - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)

·        Digital Signage - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)




Axiomtek is an Associate member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.


Mark Scantlebury

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Associate Editor, Embedded Innovator magazine

An increasing need for security of all types is driving the expansion of the global video surveillance market. In a widespread effort to enhance security in public venues, cameras have been installed en masse on the streets of major cities around the globe. Indeed, the rush to deploy video-based security systems in municipalities resembles one of those African wildebeest migrations seen on the TV channel “Animal Planet”. For example, there are now an estimated 6,000 public sector surveillance cameras in New York City, helping to prevent crime and assisting police in finding suspects.


At first blush one might think that community residents would react badly to the intrusion of video surveillance in public areas, but in fact there has been an overwhelmingly positive reception to the increased surveillance primarily due to the accompanying crime prevention and crime reduction aspects of the system. According to a poll by Quinnipiac University an overwhelming majority of New York City voters support the increased use of surveillance cameras in public spaces. Overall, NYC voters support the use of surveillance cameras by an 82 to 14 percent margin, according to the study.


As a result, leading physical security market analysts predict that megapixel commercial camera sales will grow over the next three years at a better than 40-percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate). But cameras alone are only one part of the ecosystem needed to provide effective video surveillance. Also riding the growth wave and expected to chalk up a high CAGR .are recording and storage industry products such as network video recorders (NVRs),  video decoders supporting a range of compression standards from H.264 to MPEG-4 to MJPEG,  media servers that primarily deal with routing recordings to system management computers back in the control room and other computing devices charged with implementing video analytics, that is, performing research or analytical work on the media (e.g.,looking for a face or a license plate in the raw footage captured by city-wide closed circuit cameras or identifying suspicious movement of people or packages and more). Video analytics has become crucial because as the number of cameras deployed across a video surveillance network increases, security personnel’s ability to attentively scan them decreases. Having an intelligent system that can accurately and immediately detect and alert staff to suspicious activity is critical.


Users are also demanding Digital Surveillance and Security systems offering high-definition video and long term storage. The two are related; as the picture resolution and detail rendering improves security operators will want to keep this evidence longer.  Last year shipments of megapixel resolution network security cameras outsold standard resolution network security cameras for the first time. Systems now must meet the performance demands of 1000-channel, real- time full HD (1080p at 30 frames per second) video processing, video streaming, video tagging and storage, all running 24/7 with continuous availability and stability. One thousand channels of 1080p/30HD video at 5 Mbps per stream requires approximately 5 Gbps of system throughput end-to-end, from the network video recorder (NVR) to the storage system.


Other trends driving growth in the DSS sector: in-vehicle surveillance is being used to monitor vehicle fleets to ensure safety and smooth operation and retail store surveillance systems are gaining increased traction in small to medium- size businesses as well as in large box retail outlets.


Let’s now look at some recent Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance DSS Solutions based on Intel® Technology:


The Seneca Xvault NVR400 pedestal is armed with xVault Unified Storage technology , which means the appliances function as both network attached storage (NAS) and storage area network (SAN) systems;  This unit has the capability to hold up to 96TB of maximum raw storage. The xVault xNVR400 Series supports two Intel® Xeon® Processors E5 Series and additional storage expansion shelf options are available to meet storage demands.


NEXCOM has expanded its security surveillance portfolios with the Tower NVR NViS 5240. It features a dual core Intel® Atom™ processor D2700 running at 2.13GHz and supports surveillance recording and video playback.  The 16-channel NViS 5240 offers wireless connectivity;  it can be
configured for Wi-Fi/3G connectivity whereby surveillance videos can be efficiently exchanged over the network. Using GbE LAN, the security surveillance platform can coordinate videos captured from up to sixteen high megapixel IP cameras and store more than 8TB video footage on four separate HDDs.  Storage capacity can also be expanded via an eSATA interface. It is specially tailored for small and medium size surveillance projects within the retail industry. NViS 5240 provides high quality digital recording, real-time display and supports a wide range of megapixel IP cameras.





PoE (Power over Ethernet) is an advanced technology which following the IEEE 802.3af standard with capacity of delivering 15.4W power and
transferring data via Ethernet cable to various PoE devices, allowing it to function smoothly even in areas not reachable via power cables. The Lex Computech Twister NI525A 4 Channel PoE Server Solution can be connected to IP Cameras with video and images transferred along with power via an Ethernet cable for a more cost-effective surveillance solution. The unit employs an Intel® Atom™D525 dual core CPU running at 1.8 GHz.



Digifort IP surveillance and recording software for closed-circuit TV is based on TCP/IP with the ability to control and view images from IP or analog cameras connected by video servers or codifiers. It also controls recording of images for later selective search and retrieval. It can work IP cameras and analog cameras simultaneously, as long they are directly connected to the TCP/IP or by way of a video server. The software has a user friendly graphic interface based on Windows. The scalable system supports an unlimited number of cameras and Ethernet boards per server. It allows viewing of any image resolution (even higher than 1280x1024), if the camera supports it. The system supports recording and live visualization speeds of up to 30 FPS per camera, recording by manual or external events and/or by movement detection. The Digifort product also supports scheduling of recording by time and day of the week.





Learn More[jfm1]

Contact Featured Alliance Members:

        ·       Contact Seneca

        ·       Contact Nexcom

        ·       Contact Lex

        ·       Contact Systrade

Solutions in this blog:
·       Seneca Xvault NVR400

      ·       NEXCOM Tower NVR NViS 5240

·       Digifort IP software
Related topics:
·        Digital Surveillance and Security Top Picks
  (blogs, white papers, and more)




Seneca is an Associate Member of the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance

Nexcom is an Associate Member of the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance

Lex Computech is a General Member of the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance

Systrade Comércio e Serviços LTDA (Digifort) is a General Member of the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance



Murray Slovick

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance






In the midst of a wave of announcements during Intel Developer Forum (IDF) last week, I have to confess that, for me, the most thought-provoking press release was the one that hit my Twitter feed on Thursday: NASA’s confirmation that the Voyager 1 spacecraft has left the solar system.

Voyager_spacecraft.jpgLet’s think about this for a moment: Voyager 1 was designed in the early 1970s, using 1960s technology, and it was launched in 1977, before many of the readers of this post were born. In 36 years, it has travelled 12 billion miles and is now 120 times as far from the Sun as the Earth is. Enough of its instrumentation is still working that it’s able to measure magnetic fields, plasma waves and other characteristics of empty deep space.

Equally amazing to me is the fact that we are able to receive and decode this information, transmitted back to Earth at a bit rate of 160bps using a 23W radio transmitter. As NASA loves to explain, that’s the same power as a refrigerator bulb and the signal takes 17 hours to reach us.

I’m sure someone reading this can calculate just how attenuated that signal is when it gets here. Just image the sophistication of the signal processing within the Deep Space Network that is required to extract meaningful data from a 23W signal that’s travelled 12 billion miles.

And let’s not forget that, early in its lifetime, Voyager 1 performed stunning flybys of Jupiter and Saturn. Many of us have those photos on our walls or as screen savers. And its last service call was on the launch pad. No way to send a technician to swap out a failing component or reseat a connector. Remote firmware upgrades, however, have been performed occasionally and very carefully.

I’m old enough to remember when the two Voyagers were launched. I had lots of hair and a deep fascination with the space program (at least one of those characteristics has survived). For me, it was unfathomable that a machine could travel as far as Jupiter, let alone out of the solar system almost 40 years later.

Surely, this represents the ultimate in terms of rigorous system design, total reliability and a communications system with unsurpassed sensitivity. Everyone with an understanding of the complexity of these systems and the challenges that have been overcome in this program should have the utmost respect for the engineers at JPL and elsewhere that made it happen. After all, here’s an example of the most common design tool:


OK, time to put my slide rule away and share some thoughts about IDF……

6WIND’s booth at IDF was in the “Software-Defined Infrastructure” area, so our neighbors were hardware, software and systems companies focused, like us, on applications such as Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV).

Following our announcement on September 9th that our accelerated Open vSwitch (OVS) solution is fully-compatible with the Intel® Open Network Platform (Intel® ONP), we demonstrated that solution in our booth.

Booth.jpgAttendees seemed to be impressed to see the 6WINDGate™ software accelerating the performance of the standard OVS by more than 10x (68Mpps vs. 6Mpps on ten cores, details here), with no changes required to the OVS code itself.

We talked to people working on enterprise, cloud and telecom (NFV) data centers. They confirmed that the improving the number of VMs per server (VM density) by 3x to 9x, which is typically what our software enables, creates a massive advantage in terms of CAPEX and OPEX. After all, their subscribers are essentially paying for cores running VMs, not cores running OVS.

It’s hard to believe that NFV is less than one year old (that would be less than a thirty-sixth of a Voyager), with the ETSI initiative basically being started at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress in October 2013. Despite this short period, however, it was very clear from conversations at IDF that engineers and architects are firmly focused on practical questions relating to Proof-of-Concepts (PoCs) and real-world testing.

Many of the questions that we were received about 6WINDGate were not about the performance acceleration that it provides (attendees could see that from the demo and anyway it’s widely deployed in telecom equipment today) but about how to install it in real networks and start running tests. We heard several requirements relating to NFV PoCs that will be happening by the end of the year, with clear expectations of performance results being delivered quickly.

From that perspective, there was significant interest in CloudNFV. Knowing that 6WIND is a founder member, several people stopped by our booth for more details. People already knowledgeable about the initiative appeared to look on it very favorably, as a quick approach to a true end-to-end, multi-vendor implementation of the ETSI requirements.

Since our focus for NFV is on data plane acceleration, we had a number of interesting discussions about the impact of virtualization on the system-level performance of network functions. The general consensus seems to be that Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) need to deliver overall cost-performance that’s comparable with traditional physical equipment, otherwise the ROI for NFV just isn’t viable. Of course, meeting this requirement is not easy given the performance limitations of standard virtualized environments. This is a problem that the 6WINDGate solution solves (and a topic for another post).

Interoperability is a major topic for service providers and telecom equipment manufacturers working on NFV. A number of architects confirmed to us that traditional, physical networking equipment will coexist with virtualized solutions for a long time. From a software perspective, solutions are required that provide optimal performance in both environments, for maximum operational efficiency as well as optimized CAPEX/OPEX.

Several attendees also gave us their thoughts on phased approaches to NFV hardware. The low-risk strategy seems to be to first deploy virtualized applications on existing hardware platforms, achieving initial CAPEX/OPEX reductions through improved resource utilization. Next, the virtualized applications can be migrated to customized COTS or server platforms, optimized for NFV workloads. For the ultimate in CAPEX/OPEX improvements, the complete system will finally be transitioned into data centers and into the cloud.

Inevitably, network reliability was a hot topic when we talked to NFV architects. Telecom service providers have set the bar high in this area and, as subscribers, we all have demanding expectations when it comes to service availability and network uptime. For traditional physical infrastructure, the mechanisms of High Availability systems are pretty well understood and service providers know what it takes to achieve “Carrier-Grade Reliability”, whether that means zero-downtime, five-nines or another SLA metric.

Once the network is virtualized and running in the cloud, a whole new set of reliability problems and questions arise that are far beyond the scope of this post. Thinking of a (then) state-of-the-art system that’s still functioning after 36 years, 12 billion miles, extreme temperature fluctuations, killer radiation and absolutely no service calls, maybe we need a concept of “Voyager-Grade Reliability” to keep us communicating seamlessly as all our telecom traffic moves to the cloud?

Network appliances are key systems for small and medium sized enterprises. The Intel® Atom™ processor C2000 product family (formerly code named Rangeley) are enabling a new generation of entry level network appliances that deliver significantly higher performance using fewer components. The solution integrates several features that have previously only been available in systems using multicore Intel® Xeon® processors.


In this blog I am going to explore the benefits that the Intel Atom processor C2000 product family brings to network appliances and other communications systems. For this blog I am using implementation examples from Premier members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance Advantech and Portwell. If you are at IDF 2013 this week, be sure to stop by their booths to see these products for yourself, as well as many other intelligent systems from the 250-plus members of the Alliance.


Intel® Atom™ Processor C2000 family


The Intel Atom processor C2000 product family is a range of highly integrated multicore, pin-compatible system-on-chip devices. A block diagram is shown in Figure 1. The devices integrate up to eight low-power Intel Silvermont microarchitecture cores, dual DDR3-1600 memory interfaces, sixteen PCI Express Gen 2.0 lanes, four Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, storage and general-purpose interfaces, and, optionally, Intel® QuickAssist Technology.

Intel Atom processor C2000 family.jpg

Figure 1. Intel® Atom™ processor C2000 family


The Intel® QuickAssist Technology accelerates encryption and decryption using integrated hardware engines. Intel Atom processor C2000 product family is also supported by the Intel® Data Plane Development Kit (Intel® DPDK). The Intel DPDK is a set of source code programming libraries that accelerate basic data plane functions for Intel® processors. By using Intel DPDK system developers can reduce time to market and quickly implement packet processing functions.


Intel Atom processor C2000 product family-based devices are available with two, four or eight cores and with or without Intel QuickAssist Technology. The devices utilize Intel’s 22 nm process technology with 3-D Tri-Gate transistors. Thermal design power is 7W up to 20W with eight 2.4GHz cores making this a very energy-efficient solution.


The Intel Atom processor C2000 product family is a unique solution that is already gaining significant traction with system developers. The integration of high speed interfaces and Intel QuickAssist Technology makes these devices ideal for a huge range of dense communications applications and intelligent systems.


Network Appliances


Network appliances provide cost effective solutions for network security and related functions for small and medium sized businesses. Network appliances are usually stand-alone boxes or 1U rackmount chassis. Key functions for network appliances include packet inspection and forwarding, encryption and decryption, and control plane processing. The latest network appliances also integrate LAN bypass. LAN bypass is used to connect a wide area network (WAN) directly to the local area network (LAN) in the event of a major system failure limiting the business.

FWA-2320 and Block Diagram.jpg

Figure 2. Advantech FWA-2320 Network Appliance.


The Advantech FWA-2320 Network Appliance is a 1U system supporting dual and quad core Intel Atom processor C2000 product family. As shown in Figure 2 the number of devices required is kept to a minimum due to the highly integrated processor device. The system supports four Ethernet interfaces that can be configured as dual WAN and LAN ports with LAN bypass. The Advantech FWA-2320 Network Appliance design can be configured to meet specific system requirements with support for any Intel Atom processors C2000 for Communications Infrastructure.


CAR-2050 Smaller.jpg

Figure 3. Portwell CAR-2050 Network Appliance.


The Caswell CAR-2050 Network Appliance available through Portwell integrates an eight core Intel Atom processor C2000 product family with Intel QuickAssist Technology. The 1U rackmount system has dual swappable network interface units and up to four HDDs. The CAR-2050 Network Appliance is designed for use in security applications such as firewall, virtual private networks (VPN), intrusion detection and prevention (IDS/IPS) and unified threat management (UTM). The system can also be used in a wider range of applications including routers, gateways, server load balancing and industrial automation.


Highly Integrated Communications Systems


The Intel Atom processor C2000 family for Communications Infrastructure opens up new opportunities for highly integrated communications systems. Figure 4 shows a ruggedized appliance proof of concept for security applications from Advantech. The system uses the same motherboard as the Advantech FWA-2320 Network Appliance and the power efficient Intel Atom processor C2000 enables a fanless design. This approach is driving more cost effective solutions for security and other networking applications in a wide range of environments.


0820 Small.jpgFigure 4. Advantech ARK10T Ruggedized Appliance for Security Applications.


The Intel Atom processor C2000 product family is driving a new generation of  network appliances and other communications systems for small and medium-sized businesses. The integration of up to 8 processor cores, hardware acceleration for security and high-speed network I/O delivers new levels of performance within existing power and chassis constraints. The Intel Atom processor C2000 product family is also being used in a wide range of communications applications beyond network appliances and this will be the subject of a future blog.


Learn More

Contact Featured Alliance Members:

Solutions in this blog:


Related topics:


Advantech and Portwell are Premier members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.


Simon Stanley

Roving Reporter (Intel® Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Principal Consultant, Earlswood Marketing

Follow me on Twitter: @simon_stanley

In June there was a noticeable warp in the intelligent systems time/space continuum as Intel announced its 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor family based on the Haswell microarchitecture (oops, I may have been watching too much “Big Bang Theory” lately!). Many of the hardware members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance jumped out with news releases detailing new products, or plans to announce products, in support of the Intel news. Most were pre-announcing products that will have more details announced as they reach production release dates this fall.

The driving force behind the wave of news releases was the promise of significant improvements in performance and power of the new processors, enabling new use cases and applications in the embedded industry. Intel has been working closely, behind the scenes, with suppliers of hardware and software to the embedded computing industry to speed the rapid adoption of technologies empowering the OEM community with embedded boards and systems.

The 4th generation Intel Core processors support significant architectural enhancements aimed at high-performance embedded applications. Improvements within the 4th generation Intel Core processor include increased raw processing performance per watt, hardware-based memory encryption with Intel® AES New Instructions (Intel® AES-NI), and increased floating-point and integer performance utilizing Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions 2.0 (Intel® AVX 2.0). The graphics processing unit (GPU) has also been enhanced, adding additional execution units for upgraded 3D / media graphics and up to a 24% increase in raw performance. The 4th generation Intel Core processors also support OpenCL 1.2, enabling them to perform as general-purpose graphics processing units (GPGPUs). There are significant maintenance and diagnostics advantages achieved through utilizing the remote configuration and management feature, Intel® Active Management Technology 9.0 (Intel® AMT 9.0), continues these advantages.

The enhancements in CPU performance and graphics capabilities, as well as security and power efficiency in the 4th generation Intel Core processor family boost signal- and image-processing performance and strengthen security for military/aerospace and other high-end critical embedded solutions.

Let’s take a look at what new products are in the pipeline from the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance members that also have a focus on the military and aerospace markets. These members are especially excited to be offering products that help to squelch their nemesis, the Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) ratio, that drives so many of their customers computer architecture decisions. Be sure to check out the table at the end for a complete summary of the new products.


ADLINK Technology, Inc. announced availability of its initial offerings on the 4th generation Intel Core processor with Intel 8-series chipsets. The first products featuring the new generation processor are the Express-HL and Express-HL2 (COM Express*), NuPRO-E42 (PICMG 1.3), cPCI-3510 (CompactPCI*), and Matrix MXE-5400, enabling enhanced embedded applications in medical, defense, transportation, and industrial automation.

“The 4th generation Intel Core processor-based platform allows ADLINK Technology to deliver up to double the graphics performance over the previous generation,” said Dirk Finstel, EVP of ADLINK’s Global Module Computer Product Segment. “In addition, these new integrated graphics capabilities enable more compact imaging solutions, leading to new form factors and devices with an as-yet-unseen level of visual capabilities.”

Recently, ADLINK rolled out its most advanced COM Express Type 6 module, the ADLINK Express-HL. This new module is well suited for intelligent systems innovations in a variety of market segments, such as retail, medicine, gaming, transportation, defense, communications, and industrial automation.


Advantech announced its latest platforms including Industrial Motherboards, Single Board Computers, Computer On Modules, Industrial Serverboards, CompactPCI Platforms, VPX blades and Network Application Platforms. With improvements in CPU performance, media and graphics capabilities, security and power efficiency, the new platforms are ideal for powering intelligent systems designed for a variety of market segments including video surveillance, digital signage, medical, industrial automation, gaming, network and telecom, etc.

“To capitalize on the true potential of the Internet of Things (IOT), Advantech is committed to developing platforms based on Intel technology at every point in the network. Our product divisions design data acquisition devices and controllers which are deployed across multiple industries capturing vital information. The products we are announcing are all catalysts in the conversion process of massive volumes of data from many different sources into value-added information,” said Franz Wei, Vice President of the Embedded System Group.

Concurrent TechnologiesConcurrent Technologies trb12msd.jpg

Concurrent Technologies announced the TR B12/msd, a 3U VPX board featuring the Intel® Core™ i7-4700EQ processor and the associated mobile Intel® QM87 Express chipset. With up to 16 Gbytes of DRAM and a rich assortment of I/O interfaces, this board is an ideal processor board for 3U VPX solutions requiring the latest in processing performance. 3U VPX is particularly well suited to high-end compute intensive applications in military embedded, aerospace and transportation systems for data acquisition, control systems and video signal processing.

Glen Fawcett, CEO, Concurrent Technologies, commented, "We are delighted to introduce one of the first 4th Generation Intel Core processor-based 3U VPX boards, continuing our policy of supporting the latest Intel processing technology on key embedded architectures. The TR B12/msd is an upgrade to our current products and is suitable as both an upgrade path for existing applications as well as new projects.”

congatec AGconga-TS87_press.jpg

congatec AG announced the availability of the conga-TS87, a Type 6 COM Express module featuring 4th Generation Intel Core processors. The COM Express module offers outstanding performance, featuring improved vector processing, more efficient floating point calculation and amazing graphics without an increase in power consumption.

The conga-TS87 COM Express module with pin out Type 6 takes advantage of integrated graphics and the associated advanced digital display interfaces. The conga-TS87 also utilizes the high bandwidth of USB 3.0 and PCI Express 3.0 with additional PCI Express lanes.

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions introduced its CHAMP-AV9, the industry’s first rugged, high performance OpenVPX* (VITA 65) DSP (digital signal processing) engine based on the latest quad-core Intel® Core™ i7-4700EQ processor. The CHAMP-AV9 is specifically designed to operate in extreme environmental conditions for rugged, deployed applications at the highest possible performance level.  Using the enhanced Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel AVX) 2.0 instruction set, the CHAMP-AV9 offers 614 GFLOPS per board, not including the on-chip GPGPU numerical co-processors, to deliver more than double the performance of previous DSP solutions.  CHAMP-AV9 is also the first OpenVPX DSP engine to utilize a 40 Gigabit per second (Gbps) Ethernet or InfiniBand* data plane fabric, providing 14 GB/sec full duplex throughput with RDMA to support scalable, distributed, real-time computing.

“Curtiss-Wright’s highly-engineered thermal management solutions for Intel processors eliminate throttling at extreme temperatures, yielding greater performance for rugged, deployed applications,” said Lynn Bamford, senior vice president and general manager of Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions. “With the CHAMP-AV9, Curtiss-Wright continues our focus on DSP applications that require maximum performance within size, weight and power constraints.”

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions also introduced the S/DVME-1908, 6U VME64 single board computer. The S/DVME-1908 delivers an unmatched combination of ruggedization, high performance and affordability – ideal for upgrading legacy systems based on older processor technology or contemporary SBCs that require higher levels of ruggedization. This rugged air- or conduction-cooled SBC is designed for high-performance operation in benign to harsh environments and is ideal for upgrading SWaP-C-constrained legacy systems on the most demanding fielded applications from unmanned aerial and ground vehicles, tactical aircraft, and armored vehicles to rugged naval systems.

"Our new S/DVME-1908 breathes new life into legacy systems where a complete redesign is cost prohibitive," said Lynn Bamford, senior vice president and general manager of Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions. “At a price point targeted at technology insertion requirements; our new SBC brings 4th Gen Intel Core i7 processor technology to older systems to replace outdated or lower-ruggedization SBCs with contemporary processing performance. With Intel's ongoing commitment to long life-cycle supply, this advanced low-power processing engine will drive a new generation of higher performance and power efficient compute intensive applications."

Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES)

Introduced several 3U VPX, 6U VPX, XMC, 3U CompactPCI, 6U CompactPCI, 6U VME, and COM Express Single Board Computers (SBCs). Rob Scidmore, CEO of X-ES, emphasizes X-ES’s commitment to being first to market with a wide selection of 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor-based products, “We are proud to continue our leadership in the industry by providing a full line-up of embedded form factors based on Intel’s latest processor architecture.”

Ben Klam, VP of Engineering at X-ES adds, “We are utilizing our unique understanding of Intel architecture to provide highly reliable 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor-based products that maximize I/O capabilities, operate at extreme low temperatures, and provide industry-leading cooling for unequaled high-temperature performance.”

X-ES’s line up of conduction and air-cooled products based on the 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor include the XCalibur4500 6U CompactPCI, the XCalibur4530 6U VME, and the XCalibur4540 6U VPX modules, which maximize memory capacity and I/O capabilities and add configurability with two PMC/XMC sites.  X-ES provides the XPedite7570 3U VPX and the XPedite7530 3U CompactPCI modules, which are ideal for smaller aerospace and vehicle platforms that require maximum processing performance and I/O capabilities with the flexibility of PMC and XMC support.  For applications with severe size, weight, and power (SWaP) challenges, such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs), X-ES also offers the small XPedite7501 XMC and XPedite7550 Rugged COM Express modules. 

GE Intelligent Platforms

GE Intelligent Platforms announced the SBC326 rugged 3U VPX single board computer. Featuring the quad-core 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor, it provides outstanding performance per watt while helping to minimize size, weight and power (SWaP) in deployed subsystems – making it ideal for constrained environments such as manned- and unmanned vehicles.

Concurrently, GE-IP announced that it would make available a broad range of new products based on 4th generation Intel Core i7 processors in a range of architectures and form factors, including rugged 6U VPX, 3U and 6U CompactPCI, and 6U VME single board computers and a dual processor multiprocessor.

“Our customers’ applications are increasing in complexity and in their demand for across-the-board performance – yet they are challenged by new generations of military platforms that need to be smaller and lighter than ever before,” said Rod Rice, General Manager, Military & Aerospace Products at GE Intelligent Platforms. “The SBC326, and the products that will follow, address these needs by delivering more computing bandwidth in each chassis slot – enabling subsystems to deliver more capability with the same size, weight and power, or to deliver a level of capability that previously required more size, weight and power.”


The first Kontron intelligent platforms to feature the 4th generation Intel Core processors will be COM Express, Mini-ITX, 6U CompactPCI, and the Kontron SYMKLOUD Media cloud platforms. They integrate new features such as the Intel AVX2 instructions, which dramatically accelerate floating-point-intensive computations and the improved Intel AES-NI, which accelerates data encryption and decryption. Graphics-intensive applications will profit from the graphics performance which has been doubled in comparison to solutions based on the previous generation processors, while the thermal footprint has remained nearly the same.

"With our early launch parallel to the introduction of the new processor technology on a rich selection of standard embedded computing platforms, we are enabling our OEM customers to kick-start the development of their latest state-of-the-art intelligent systems. Both OEMs and users will benefit from improved graphics capabilities and impressive computing power that come along with a more eco-friendly power consumption in operating as well as in sleep mode," said Norbert Hauser, Head of Business Line Industrial Automation at Kontron.

Target applications include digital signal and image processing applications in the medical, industrial automation and MAG (Military, Aerospace and Government) markets, as well as cloud-based video transcoding for content delivery networks.

Mercury Systems, Inc.

Mercury Systems, Inc. has expanded its family of powerful system building blocks with the new rugged Ensemble* Series 6U OpenVPX HDS6502 High Density Server (HDS) module.

2013-06-04 Mercury Systems HDS6502-AC.jpg

“The HDS6502 is a natural and complementary evolution to our other HDS/LDS (High Density Server/Low Density Server) product solutions ideally suited to high performance, real-time embedded applications,” said Gregg Ogden, Director of Solutions and Product Marketing, Mercury Systems. “But that is only half the story: this module is also a critical building block for our existing customers, enabling them to future-proof their legacy systems through targeted upgrades. Upgrades using the HDS6502 preserve their software, optimize SWaP (Size, Weight and Power) performance, and, true to Mercury tradition, more again can be achieved with less. And this is all done while enabling full OpenCL implementation. The whole concept of open systems is broadened by through the use of OpenCL programming support across multiple platforms.”

“The Intel® Core™ i7-4700EQ with Intel Advanced Vector Extension 2.0 support and an on-die Intel® HD Graphics 4600 GPU enables high volume graphic rendering and simultaneous data manipulation of real-time vector-based information which is characteristic of signal and image processing-intensive applications,” said Marc Couture, Director of Product Management, Mercury Systems. “OpenCL support promotes a heterogeneous ecosystem which, packaged within a rugged module, is an ideal cornerstone for embedded system upgrades and new computing-intensive applications with stringent SWaP specifications. This is a significant adoption of commercial silicon integration, power and performance improvements applied into the defense marketplace.”


Portwell, Inc. announced the release of the PCOM-B630VG, a Type 6 COM Express Basic (125mm x 95mm) module featuring a 4th generation Intel Core processor. This translate into higher performance with reduced manageability costs, which along with new security features make the PCOM-B630VG an ideal solution for Medical Healthcare Systems, Digital Signage and Retail Systems.

The PCOM-B630VG COM Express module supports up to 16GB ECC DDR3L 1333/1600 MT/s SDRAM on two 204-pin SODIMM sockets, making it faster than its predecessor. Its expansion interface supports one PCI Express x16 Gen3 (8.0GT/s) with three controllers integrated into the processor for enhanced video performance and enhanced capabilities which can also be configurable to 2 x8-lane or 1 x8-lane and 2 x4-lane PCI Express ports. The module supports three independent displays, DP (DisplayPort), HDMI or DVI and VGA, with up to 1.6x greater 3D performance compared to its previous generation.

American Portwell Technology, Inc., announced the Portwell ROBO-8112VG2AR, a full-size PICMG 1.3 form factor System Host Board (SHB). Portwell’s ROBO-8112VG2AR implements flexible PCI Express expansion which is ideal for a range of applications across several fields, such as Factory Automation, Image Processing, Medical and Military.

Real-Time Systems GmbH

Real-Time Systems announced Real-Time Hypervisor support for the 4th generation Intel Core processors. The RTS Hypervisor allows the parallel execution of multiple, independent operating systems on a single hardware platform based on processors with the new Intel microarchitecture.

The dual- and quad-core 4th generation Intel Core processors with their enhanced support for virtualization lends itself to be partitioned using an embedded Hypervisor where each partition containing one or multiple CPUs can carry its own, independent operating system even for hard real-time purposes.

By utilizing the RTS Hypervisor, a traditional embedded system, typically consisting of an industrial PC for the user interface and a separate hardware for real-time tasks, can now be replaced by a single hardware solution carrying multiple independent operating systems. Building a manageable, secure system with e.g. Microsoft Windows® safely in parallel to a real-time operating system on just one board based on the 4th generation Intel Core processor, reduces the bill of materials while increasing a system’s reliability and reducing power consumption.

"Our customers keep asking for processors with more and more performance but at the same time, the CPUs should use less and less power to keep temperature in a cabinet or housing at a minimum" said Gerd Lammers, CEO of Real-Time Systems in Germany. "This new generation of the Intel microarchitecture with its improved power efficiency and enhanced CPU performance is ideal for these types of applications. For this reason it was important that we had our Hypervisor ready for our customers the same day Intel released their new generation of x86 processors."

TenAsys Corporation

TenAsys Corporation announced that it has validated its key products: INtime* family of Real-Time Operating System (RTOS) and eVM* for Windows Embedded Virtualization Manager (VMM), for use on the 4th generation Intel Core processor family.

The 4th generation Intel Core processor family delivers a new level of graphic and digital signaling performance that makes it particularly desirable for applications that combine the need for an advanced Human Man Interfaces (HMI) with advanced processing.

“TenAsys’ real-time embedded virtualization technologies have been fully aligned with Intel’s multicore strategy in supporting evolving usage models,” said Kim Hartman, TenAsys’ Vice President of Marketing and Sales. “Our embedded virtualization technologies partition a multicore platform such that users can run mixed workloads on the same platform and make better use of Intel Core processor advanced features. This allows them to integrate multiple advanced HMI’s and control applications on a single system providing customers with comprehensive, cost-reduced, integrated solutions.”

Round-Up of Current Announcements






COM Express



4th generation Intel Core i7 processor





Embedded Computer System

Matrix MXE-5400


COM Express


4th generation Intel Core i5/i7 processors and the Intel Q87 chipset



Mini-ITX motherboard


MicroATX motherboard


ATX motherboard


CompactPCI Platforms


VPX blades


Network Application Platform


Concurrent Technologies


TR B12/msd

Intel Core i7-4700EQ processor and Intel QM87 Express chipset

Congatec AG

Type 6 COM Express


Intel Core i7-4700EQ processor and Intel QM87 Express chipset

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions

Rugged OpenVPX DSP engine


Intel Core i7-4700EQ processor

Rugged, 6U VME64 SBC


Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES)

3U and 6U VPX


Intel Core i7-4700EQ processor



3U and 6U CompactPCI




COM Express


GE Intelligent Platforms

Rugged 3U VPX SBC


4th generation Intel Core i7 processor



3U and 6U CompactPCI


Dual processor multiprocessor


COM Express


4th generation Intel Core processor



6U CompactPCI


SYMKLOUD Media cloud platforms

Symkloud MS2900 Media

Mercury Systems

Rugged Ensemble Series 6U OpenVPX High Density Server (HDS) module

Ensemble HDS6502

Dual 4th generation Intel Core i7 processors

Portwell, Inc.

Type 6 COM Express Basic module


4th generation Intel Core processor and Intel QM87 Express chipset

PICMG 1.3 form factor System Host Board (SHB)


4th generation Intel Core processor

Real-Time Systems

Real-Time Hypervisor support

RTS Hypervisor

4th generation Intel Core processors

TenAsys Corporation

Real-Time Operating System (RTOS)


4th generation Intel Core processors

For Windows Embedded Virtualization Manager (VMM)



Table 1: A sampling of the many products with 4th generation Intel Core processors or software supporting the processors.




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Solutions in this blog:

  • See table for complete listing


Related topics:


Advantech, Kontron, and Portwell are Premier members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.


ADLINK, congatec AG, and GE Intelligent Platforms are Associate members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.


Concurrent Technologies, Real-Time Systems GmbH, and TenAys are Affiliate members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.


Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions, Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES), and Mercury Systems, Inc. are General members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.


Jerry Gipper

OpenSystems Media®, by special arrangement with the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Editorial Director, OpenSystems Media, VITA Technologies

As robotics continue to replace humans on the factory floor, MV (Machine Vision) technology has become industrial automation’s new lens. Applications like motion control and quality assurance require high-resolution image analysis from these new “eyes” on the assembly line, and must execute with extreme precision to ensure optimized manufacturing processes. Released in June, the 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor (codenamed Haswell) leverages enhancements that meet the needs of demanding MV systems, including up to  2x graphics performance over previous generations and features like the Intel® Advanced Extensions 2.0 (Intel® AVX 2.0) instruction set, which doubles signal and image processing performance. As a result, several Intel® Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions Alliance members have introduced off-the-shelf products for use in MV system design.


Get Your Graphics Inside

Though most of today’s MV technologies rely solely on 2D image analysis, 3D imaging has started to emerge for certain industrial applications. Supporting both markets, 4th generation Intel Core processors incorporate Intel® HD Graphics Technology into the die of Intel's Haswell microarchitecture to realize up to 60 percent improvement in 2D/3D graphics performance. For example, certain BGA (Ball Grid Array) variants integrate GT3 ( Intel® HD graphics 5000) GPU cores that provide 40 graphics execution units at only 15 W TDP.


Industrial building blocks have already begun leveraging the enhanced graphics performance of the 4th generation Intel Core processor. For instance, NEXCOM, an Associate member of the Intel IoT Solutions Alliance, offers the ICES 670 COM Express Basic module with various graphics engine options supporting DX11.1, including the GT1 and GT2 integrated graphics (See Figure 1). The ICES 670 can accommodate processors up to 45 W, and combines Haswell microarchitecture performance with the Intel® QM87 Chipset for graphics-intensive applications. Compliant with Revision 2.0 of the COM.0 specification, the ICES 670 supports the Type 6 pinout to allow for expansion via 1x PCIe x16 lanes, 7x PCIe x 1 lanes, 1 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) interface, either 4 USB 3.0 or 8 USB 2.0 lanes, and the choice of 2x SATA 3.0 or 2x SATA 2.0 ports. In addition, three DDIs (Digital Display Interfaces) can be implemented through DisplayPort, eDP (embedded DisplayPort), DVI, HDMI, or VGA/LVDS interfaces (via the Platform Controller Hub - PCH - bridge chip), making the ICES 670 a viable subsystem solution for HMI (Human Machine Interface) platforms as well.



Figure 1. The NEXCOM ICES 670 Type 6 Basic COM Express module supports two different Intel® HD graphics engines for intensive imaging and analysis applications.


Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions 2.0 Floats More Image Processing Punch

For industrial system designers, the most significant enhancement of 4th generation Intel Core processors may be the expansion of the AVX instruction set. Sometimes called “Haswell New Instructions,”  Intel® AVX 2.0 instruction set extends most integer vector processing to 256 bits (thereby doubling workload throughputs from 128 bits), and introduces fully pipelined FMA3 (three- operand Fused Multiply-Add) on two ports for SIMD (Single Instruction, Multiple Data) and floating-point scalar operation. For precision MV, FMA3 support increases accuracy and doubles peak floating-point performance for imaging applications by rounding only once during multiply-add workloads. Some of the features and benefits of Intel AVX 2.0 are outlined in Table 1.


Table 1. Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions 2.0 adds significant floating-point performance and throughput enhancements for MV applications.


Intel AVX 2.0 is supported on all 4th generation Intel Core processors, so MV benefits can be leveraged from any available industrial subsystem that supports the Haswell microarchitecture. dfi-itox, another Associate member of the Alliance, has released the industrial-class HD101-H81 Mini-ITX motherboard that enables Intel AVX 2.0 technology, but also includes Microsoft DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA) to accelerate video processing tasks (See Figure 2). Ten graphics execution units are leveraged from the motherboard’s processor (GT1), which combines with the new Intel® H81 Chipset to support the new LGA 1150 socket (Socket H3). The Intel H81 Chipset enables the HD101-H81 to support the 2x USB 3.0 and 6x USB 2.0 interfaces that accompany 1x PCIe x16 lanes and 1 Mini PCIe slot, 2x SATA 3.0, 2 Gigabit LAN ports, and 2 COM expansion sites. The PCH enables three displays through 24-bit dual channel LVDS, and HDMI and DVI-I interfaces that can offer resolutions up to 1920 x 1200.


Figure 2. The HD101-H81 Mini-ITX motherboard from dfi-itox combines Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions 2.0 technology with DirectX Video Acceleration and the Intel® H81 Chipset to optimize video processing tasks.


ADLINK introduced a familly of industrial-grade products based on the 4th generation Intel Core processor market in June, including the NuPRO-E42, a PICMG 1.3 full-sized SHB (System Host Board) (See Figure 3). Capable of core speeds up to 3.1 GHz, the NuPRO-E42 is also equipped with the Intel® Q87 chipset, another chipset that accompanied the Haswell microarchitecture release. The Intel Q87 chipset brings Intel® Clear Video HD Technology to the SHB, allowing video decoding and post processing to be offloaded to GPU cores, as well as PCI Express 3.0 support that provides the SHB with 8 GTps communications through one x16 lane interface. Additional I/O connectivity on the NuPRO-E42 comes by way of 6 USB 3.0 ports with 5 Gbps data transfer rates, another 6 USB 2.0 ports, 1 PCI Express x16 lanes and 4x PCI Express x1 lanes, 4 PCI, and 6 COM ports. 4 SATA interfaces with 6 Gbps transfer rates, Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (Intel® RST).supporting RAID 0/1/5/1+0, along with two sockets of 16 GB DDR3 1333/1600 MHz memory also highlight the NuPRO-E42, tailoring it to industrial applications that require multitasking and high-speed data transfer.


Figure 3. The NuPRO-E42 includes the  Intel® Q87 chipset, bringing Intel® Clear Video Technology and PCI Express 3.0 support to the SHB.


Seeing 20/20 with Haswell

These products are just a few of the 4th generation Intel Core processor family solutions released by members of the Intel IoT Solutions Alliance that can be put to work in MV applications, with integrated graphics and Intel AVX 2.0 instructions just two of the enhanced features Intel® processors with Haswell microarchitecture can provide industrial engineers. If you are ready to begin implementing “Core eyes” in your MV system, the Solutions Directory can help identify form, fit, and function matches to your design goals.


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Contact Featured Alliance Members:

Solutions in this blog:

Related topics:

ADLINK, dfi-itox, and NEXCOM are Associate members of the Intel® Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions Alliance.

Brandon Lewis

OpenSystems Media*, by special arrangement with the Intel® Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions Alliance

Follow me on Twitter: @BrandonLewis13

While budget cuts have slowed the pace of military acquisition, innovation in electronic design for embedded MAG (military/aerospace/government) applications continues unabated, with Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance partners using the 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor family to develop new commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products that emphasize component commonality and meet reduced Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP)


Here’s a few for instances:


Curtis Wright’s new CHAMP-AV9 (Fig. 1) is a rugged, high performance OpenVPX™ (VITA 65) DSP (digital signal processing) engine based on a pair of quad-core Intel® CoreTM i7-4700EQ processors. The CHAMP-AV9 combines the floating point performance of the Haswell  microarchitecture featuring updated AVX 2.0 instruction units and redesigned on-chip graphics execution units with the substantial bandwidth and system-enabling features of the 6U OpenVPX form-factor. According to the supplier, the CHAMP-AV9 offers a 2-4X performance improvement per size, weight and power over previous DSP modules. With up to 14 GB/s of data plane fabric and 32 GB/s of expansion plane performance the unit has the bandwidth required to effectively harness the power of the processors.


And speaking of the processors, in case you are just tuning in the 4th generation Intel Core i7 microarchitecture contains substantial advances over previous generations.

  • Double the CPU floating-point performance with a fused multiply-add AVX instruction Ability to load two and store one operand per clock
  • Double the L1 and L2 cache bandwidth vs. 3rd
    generation Intel® Core™ processors
  • A 2.4 GHz CPU clock


  Figure 1 The Curtiss Wright CHAMP AV-9




OpenVPX™ builds on the module-centric VPX specifications by providing a nomenclature of planes and profiles to enable system integrators,module designers and backplane providers to effectively describe and define the aspects and characteristics of a system. By following a system-centric approach and defining a number of standard system topologies, OpenVPX enables interoperable off-the-shelf modules and development platforms within the VPX marketplace. The OpenVPX framework defines the interoperability points necessary for integration between Module to Module and Module to Backplane and Chassis. In this way OpenVPX reduces the need for custom development of backplanes and chassis for every application.The major fabric protocols supported by OpenVPX include Ethernet, Serial RapidIO and PCI Express.



The CHAMP-AV9 engine has been upgraded to DDR3-1600 and Curtis-Wright says that it incorporates thermal management solutions that result in little to no CPU throttling at its benchmark 71oC air-cooled and conduction-cooled 85oC card-edge environments.


Processing systems for today’s military radar designs must be scalable, open architecture and capable of long term viability-- unlike consumer and commercial markets where technology turnover is often measured in months the lifetimes of many military systems is measured in years if not


Floating-point-intensive applications such as radar, image processing, and signals intelligence will benefit from the performance boost provided by the Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions 2.0 (Intel® AVX2) in the 4th generation Intel® Haswell microarchitecture. Intel AVX2 extends Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel AVX) by promoting most of the 128-bit SIMD integer instructions with 256-bit numeric processing capabilities. The upgraded vector-processing technology also introduces a fused multiply-add (FMA3) that effectively doubles the peak floating point throughput in comparison to the previous generation. Multiply-add workloads are a critical component of any image processing task.


Floating-point-intensive applications also benefit from the from the performance boost provided by the Intel AVX2 in the Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) XPedite7570, a high-performance, low-power, 3U VPX-REDI single board computer (SBC) based on the 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor. With two PCI Express Fat Pipe P1 interconnects and four Gigabit Ethernet ports, the XPedite7570 is ideal for the high-bandwidth data processing demands of today's military and avionics applications. The SBC can accommodate up to 16 GB of DDR3L-1600 ECC SDRAM in two channels to support memory-intensive applications.It also hosts numerous I/O ports, including Gigabit Ethernet, USB, SATA, graphics, and RS-232/422/485 through the backplane connectors.


The XPedite7570 can be used in either the system slot or peripheral slot of a VPX backplane. Wind River VxWorks and Linux Board Support Packages (BSPs) are available, as well as Microsoft Windows drivers. Three levels of ruggedization are available for X-ES [rpdicus (Fig. 2) supporting comeercial, extended temperature, and conduction-cooled applications. Products may be air-cooled or conduction-cooled depending on their end application.



Figure 2 Extreme environments demand extreme engineering solutions





Within a tight budgetary environment wherever possible program managers would rather upgrade than acquire and replace. Mercury describes its new HDS6502 module as a building block for its existing customers, enabling them to future-proof their legacy systems through targeted upgrades preserving their software and optimizing SWaP performance, so that more can be achieved with less.


Based on Intel's  Haswell microarchitecture Mercury’s HDS6502 module is OpenVPX-compliant and initially will support Serial RapidIO® Gen 2 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet via the company’s next generation, low-latency POET™ (Protocol Offload Engine Technology).  Full backward compatibility with software protocols is provided including ICS™ (interprocessor communication system) and MPI/OFED (message passing interface/open fabrics enterprise distribution).


Low I/O latency and reduced module power consumption is gained from the single die cache coherent memory architecture between the CPU and GPU resources. This is a required characteristic of multidimensional computing applications requiring high throughput, determinism and low latency such as SIGINT, IMINT (Imaging Intelligence), RADAR, EO/IR (electro-optic/infrared) and large data/graphics renderings.


HDS6502 modules will be available in this fall for deployment in air-cooled, air flow-by and conduction-cooled systems. Support for InfiniBand and 40 Gigabit Ethernet-based modules will follow, according to Mercury. Infiniband is expected to become the switched fabric technology of choice among military system suppliers for inverse FFTs computation in the intensive signal processing functions found in radar and electronic warfare.InfiniBand is said to be also well-positioned to handle tasks in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as well as for other surveillance, reconnaissance and ground mobile applications.



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Solutions in this Blog


Curtiss-Wright CHAMP AV-9


Xpedite 7570


Mercury Systems Ensemble® Series HDS6502


Wind River VxWorks



Related Topics:



Military, Aerospace, Government - Top Picks (blogs, white
papers, and more)



Performance- Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)


Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions is a General
member of the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance


Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) is a General
Member of the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance


Mercury Systems is a General Member of the Intel Intelligent
Systems Alliance


Wind River Systems is an Associate Member of the Intel
Intelligent Systems Alliance


Microsoft Corporation is an Associate Member of the Intel
Intelligent Systems Alliance


Murray Slovick


Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent
Systems Alliance


The military and aerospace industries have some of the most demanding imaging requirements of any industry. Many of these applications are highly computationally intensive with requirements for high levels of precision, thus the need for floating-point data formats. These industries have been pioneers in imaging for decades, influencing much of the technology that is commonly used today, for example, the Vector Signal Image Processing Library (VSIPL) that is a standard set of functions and an open application programming interface (API) for signal and image processing applications.


The Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX) 2.0 introduced in the Haswell microarchitecture take these capabilities to a new level, delivering a 2x increase in peak floating-point throughput for an impressive 307 billion floating point operations per second (GFLOPS) at 2.4 GHz in a quad-core 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor. Fixed-point arithmetic also sees a 2x boost in peak throughput, and both fixed- and floating-point algorithms benefit from new vector gather, scatter, and permute operations.


Improvements and Benefits of AVX2


Improvements in Intel AVX2 include:

  • Extension of most integer instructions to 256 bits for 2x higher peak integer throughput which is particularly useful for imaging processing workloads.
  • New vector gather, shift, and cross-lane permute functions that enable more vectorization and more efficient loads and stores. The amount of shift is controlled by vector, critical in vectorized loops with variable shifts.
  • Fused multiply-add (FMA) instructions for 2x higher peak throughput—up to 307 GFLOPS at 2.4 GHz in a quad-core 4th generation Intel Core processor. These instructions are very useful in high performance computing, professional quality imaging, and face detection.


The most important benefit to the military and aerospace industry is the ability to process even larger sets of complex data in real time, faster and with less power, which helps to optimize the size, weight, and power ratio of their embedded systems. This leads to systems that are more effective, economical and more capable of processing the immense streams of real time data that is collected with today’s embedded systems.




Members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance having been working hard to ensure that they are in step with the Haswell microarchitecture and are able to offer enhancements to their own products that bring out the best capabilities of AVX2. Here is a peek at what a couple of members have done to leverage AVX and improvements they have seen with AVX2.


N.A. Software Ltd (NAS) has a suite of software tools for signal processing, vector processors, and DSP-related applications for military, aerospace and other industries requiring fast or real time processing. They also develop and license advanced radar algorithms and low-level DSP libraries including the Vector Signal Image Processing Library (VSIPL). NAS has produced a highly optimized Intel AVX2 VSIPL library that is especially well optimized for complex vector multiply operations, sine/cosine (when the data is not range reduced), and split complex FFTs. The NAS library is standalone code that does not rely on any third party software, enabling the library to be recompiled for any operating system quickly and easily to gain the most out of the Intel AVX2 instruction set.


NAS recently used VSIPL DSP operations on the Ivy Bridge and Haswell platforms to benchmark Intel AVX and AVX2. The results show that the Haswell platform has a significant performance advantage for all the DSP operations over most of the data sizes studied. The following table shows which DSP library and platform produced the optimum performance.



GFLOP Peak Performance

Performance Improvement

Ivy Bridge










Multiple FFT




Complex vector multiply




Figure 1: N.A. Software benchmarks of Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 2.0 compare Ivy Bridge and Haswell architectures.

More details on the NAS benchmarking can be found in the following reports.


NAS provides core software to several of the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance members that is then used to enhance and compliment their own software libraries.


Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions (CWCDS) offers Continuum Vector, a comprehensive set of C-callable functions which have been optimized to exploit the performance of the SIMD instruction sets of Intel AVX.


“Many more pixels and bits of data requiring more precision are being processed in military and aerospace imaging applications,” commented Eran Strod, systems architect at Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions. The increases in data and precision drive demand for more performance from the processor to get the job done. “We expect continuous generation-to-generation improvements from Intel and Haswell has done exactly that,” continued Eran. Support for AVX2 in Continuum Vector is expected in the near future as CWCDS completes integration and optimization of the libraries that maximizes the hardware potential of their boards and systems. Eran noted that in early testing, they have seen as much as a 4x improvement in execution times in certain 2D FFT’s, though specific improvements are highly dependent on the function and algorithms.




Intel AVX2 in the Haswell microarchitecture continues the performance improvement trend for floating-point data formats that is so important to many imaging applications within the military and aerospace industries. Improvements in many benchmarks are exceeding 2x over the original AVX numbers. This has developers excited about SWaP improvements and the huge gains in real time floating point data processing.


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NASoftware Ltd is an Affiliate member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions is a General member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.

Jerry Gipper

OpenSystems Media®, by special arrangement with the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Editorial Director,OpenSystems Media,VITA Technologies

ITEXPO.JPGOn August 26, I participated in an SDN/NFV panel discussion during the SDN Precon event that is part of ITEXPO. While the panel session itself covered a range of topics, one of the more interesting aspects of the whole SDN Precon event was that there were a number of presentations that highlighted new use cases that can be enabled by NFV.


In his presentation, Mike Sapien, Principal Analyst at Ovum, reviewed the likely impact of SDN on telecom and enterprise applications. He talked about various current SDN deployments, such as those at NTT, Google and Equinix (this last example comprising both connectivity between data centers as well as communication between the data center and a variety of ecosystem partners). He discussed the opportunities for appliance-based enterprise services and explained how SDN results in the simplification of services together with centralization.

Ronald Gruia, Principal Analyst at Frost and Sullivan, explained that VCs are expected to invest over $500M in SDN and NFV companies during 2013. He highlighted a number of NFV use cases, including data center cloud infrastructure, home network management, mobile operator applications such as video optimization and network visualization. He also stressed some key “caveats” or challenges that must be addressed in order for NFV to achieve widespread deployments, including scalability, interoperability, security, V & V (validation and verification) and Carrier Grade reliability.

Mark Durrett, Director of Marketing at Overture Networks, introduced the CloudNFV initiative (Overture is one of the six founding companies, along with 6WIND). He explained how managed CPE appliances (e.g. firewalls and routers) represent a compelling use case, with significant cost savings to be achieved through the elimination of CPE appliances, through pay-as-you-go services and through CAPEX/OPEX savings.

From Huawei, Mike McBride, Director of Technology and Strategy, presented a detailed approach to the virtualization of the home gateway appliance, explaining that current solutions suffer from a high volume of service calls, increasing equipment costs and decreasing service margins. He described how, as a first phase, the home gateway (HGW) function in the ONT equipment at the customer site would be replaced by a virtual home gateway (vHGW) instantiated within the OLT in the carrier network, reducing cost and complexity. Subsequently, a soft BNG (Broadband Network Gateway) controller would implement service chaining within the edge network, eventually co-located with IT functions in the core. As a next step, all these functions would be migrated into the telco cloud for ultimate cost savings.

Of course, all these use cases are examples of cost reductions compared to traditional physical implementations of network functions and network orchestration. In a post published a few weeks ago, I observed that most of the NFV discussions at conferences appear to be around cost reductions rather than revenue growth. Not much seems to have changed since then.

Clearly, significant CAPEX and OPEX savings are expected through the virtualization of functions that have traditionally been implemented as stand-alone, dedicated, fixed-function equipment. From the perspective of service providers, though, top-line P&L growth ultimately comes from making money, and specifically from increasing their Average Revenue per User (ARPU). That means new services that bring real value to subscribers, both enterprises and also consumers like you and me.

As the NFV network-level architecture details and deployment strategies firm up, so that service providers have confidence about the new capabilities of the infrastructure, I would hope that we’ll see a lot more discussions about interesting new services that will raise our monthly bills as subscribers and boost the service providers’ top line revenue.

What are your thoughts on this? What new services do you see being introduced thanks to NFV that will bring real value to subscribers, whether enterprises or consumers?

Do the math and it’s easy to understand why thousands of developers, technologists and business managers will be flocking to the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) next month in San Francisco. In addition to hundreds of hours of Technical Sessions and conversations with Intel engineers experienced in a variety of application topics, members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance will present their latest ideas in the Technology Showcase, helping designers  take projects to the next level.(To get a sneak peak of the event – and info on prizes for attendees – check out the embedded@Intel blog. And visit the IDF13 San Francisco page for the full agenda, travel, hotel and registration information.)


For example, ADLINK Technology plans to highlight how the power of intelligent systems applied to vehicles can assist bus fleet managers, drivers and passengers in daily municipal and commuter bus operations.  The company’s demonstration will show real-time positioning (via GPS tracking and mapping), two-way communication between drivers and dispatch,  vehicle status including mechanical health and condition, onboard public announcements, emergency notifications, emergency signaling, voice communication and even a live video feed.


Focusing on ADLINK’s new Matrix MXE-5400 rugged quad-core fanless computers, at IDF ADLINK will demo the interactive functions that a fleet operator’s back office can use to monitor bus systems such as if engine oil is getting too hot, if the bus is running low on fuel, or if it is traveling too slow or too fast..The ADLINK demo also will show how, by using GPS satellite technology, automatic vehicle location (AVL) can track the location of buses, ultimately resulting in increased fleet efficiency.

The demo further will illustrate how dispatchers can have full control over vehicles by setting alarms if the vehicle is out of its normal corridor as well as making voice calls to the driver, handling passengers’ requests and monitoring passengers via real-time video surveillance inside the bus. The demo will show how the connected back end server can send emergency calls triggered by bus activities.


Since  real-time vehicle and passenger information is critical for effective operations management in a daily dispatch environment the IDF demonstration also will present information that can be displayed on  the driver’s terminal as well as video and route data shown  in the passenger cabin (for example  passenger information indicating the next stop) . Other demonstrable Intelligent Vehicle activities include the ability to provide riders with more precise information about when buses will actually arrive at stops, enhancing passenger convenience.


ADLINK's MX5400 is based on the 4th generation Intel® Core™ i7 -4700EQ processor, the Intel® QM87 chipset and an Ethernet I/O comprising 4x GbE (with 3x Intel® 82574IT Gigabit single-port controller at 2.5 GHz plus one Intel® I217LM PHY) . The unit includes support for ADLINK’s SEMA (smart embedded management agent) and Intel’s® Active Management Technology 9.0, making it well suited for intelligent transportation applications. ADLINK’s SEMA was developed to resolve some shortcomings in today's embedded PC systems. The SEMA architecture consists of two parts: a hardware/driver layer and an application layer. The hardware/driver layer accesses the board management controller (BMC) directly through the onboard chipset via the System Management Bus (SMBus). The BMC handles all SEMA functionality in addition to performing system housekeeping such as start-up power sequencing and other similar functions. The application layer is for user interaction and reads commands and displays the data fetched by the BMC. As the interface to the hardware/driver layer is defined independently from the operating system, the application program can be easily ported between various operating systems. To that end versions for Windows and Linux are readily available.


The MXE-5400 delivers remote monitoring and control over embedded devices via the Internet. For embedded developers, using Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT) allows devices to be diagnosed and repaired remotely regardless of whether they are powered up or whether they have a functioning OS.  Advanced management capabilities include remote system reboot—in the event of OS failure—and system disconnect from the web when malicious intrusion is detected. Intel AMT is part of the Intel® vPro™ technology offering.


The Haswell microarchitecture-based platform onboard also allows ADLINK to deliver up to double the graphics performance over previous generation devices. Built-in visual features, including Intel® Clear Video HD  technology and Intel® Quick Sync Video 2.0, deliver smoother visual quality, improved ability to decode and transcode simultaneous video streams, and outstanding HD media playback.


The MXE-5400 can support up to 3 independent displays without the need for a discrete graphics card and has a DVI-I plus 2 Display ports (see Fig. 1). Additionally, the platform supports next-generation graphics APIs,such as Microsoft DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.0, and OpenCL 1.2.


Figure 1 The MXE-5400 offers numerous I/O ports

The Intel® Core™ i7 -4700EQ processor offers quad-core capabilities with superior performance and a thermal design power (TDP) of 47W, configurable down to 37W. Manufactured on industry-leading 22nm process technology with 3D Tri-Gate transistors, the processor offers enhanced CPU, graphics and media performance.


Employing the Intel® Ethernet Controller I217 in MXE-5400 reduces power consumption in all power states compared to previous generations of Intel® controllers. While in active-idle, Intel has implemented Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE), a new IEEE standard. With EEE, Intel has reduced the idle power of the Gigabit link from about 500 mW to just over 50 mW, providing a significant energy savings.  What’s more, the SEMA graphical hardware monitor displays how power consumption and temperature of the board develop over time. There are two temperature curves that can be shown, one for each of the two sensors on the board. These graphs help users to understand system behavior under different load situations.


To meet the requirements of bus fleet operators the ADLINK MXE-5400 has to provide ruggedness, including temperature and vibration resistance.  The unit can operate over a -20 to 60°C (-4°F to 140°F) wide temperature range and can withstand up to 100 G shock and 5 G vibration, making it ideal for deployment in harsh environments. Fanless construction also significantly extends MTBF to 190,000 hours and minimizes maintenance costs.

Optional wireless function enhancement for MXE-5400 include WCDMA, 802.11 a/b/g/n, BT3.0, 3G and AGPS. Additional I/O include two onboard SATA-III (6.0 Gb/s) ports, 6 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0, and 4 GbE ports.


IDF will take place September 10-12, 2013 at the Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco. See you there.

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ADLINK is an associate member of the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance

Murray Slovick

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

The annual Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco starts September 10, but Intel is already kicking off the action on Twitter – look for the #IDF13 hashtag.


You can also get a sneak peak over at the embedded@Intel blog, which promises prizes for developers who stop by the Intelligent Systems Zone. Check out embedded@Intel to learn more, and make sure you register to attend!


We will also be covering key events from the show here at the Intel® Embedded Community. Stay tuned for more!


Kenton Williston

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston

We now have access to more data than ever before due to the ubiquitous information gathering devices spread around the globe. This Big Data presents significant opportunities and many challenges. Much of this data is sensitive information that can be used to gain insights into individuals and businesses. Large databases and significant processing power are required to store and analyze the information, and robust data security is needed to ensure the data is protected from malicious access.


In this blog I am going to explore the benefits of using the Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 series and the Intel® Communications Chipset 89xx Series to implement data processing and enhance big data security. I am using implementation examples from Advantech, a Premier member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance. The 250-plus members of the Alliance collaborate closely with Intel to create hardware, software, tools, and services to help speed intelligent systems  to market.


Processing Big Data

Large quantities of data is collected from many sources including remote and wireless sensors, radio-frequency identification (RFID) readers, cameras, microphones and another information sensing devices. Big data is increasing in size with some datasets running to several petabytes of data. To gain the full benefit from big data systems need to rapidly process large data sets and correlate information across multiple sources.


The processing of unstructured and semi-structured data has been made significantly easier by the Hadoop software library. Hadoop is a scalable framework that supports the distributed processing of big data across clusters of computers. Hadoop scales from a single server up to many thousands of servers making the results of big data analysis accessible to a wide range of businesses.


Big data and Hadoop processing requires significant I/O and storage throughput. The Intel® distribution for Apache Hadoop software integrates hardware-enhanced performance and security capabilities that deliver significant performance gains. The performance of Hadoop can be increased by more than 30 times over previous generations of the Intel® Xeon® processor by using the Intel Distribution for Hadoop with the latest Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 series, 10GbE network connections and solid state drives.


Big Data Security

The use of big data creates some significant security issues. Big data is collected through a wide range of information gathering devices. Some data from these devices will contain sensitive information and therefore needs to be protected. This includes Personally Identifiable Information (PII), Protected Health Information (PHI) and Intellectual Property (IP).Much of the data can become more sensitive when viewed in the context of data from other sources. Companies therefore need to consider encrypting some or all data when it is moved and then stored.


The encrypted data is decrypted for processing and then re-encrypted before being moved back to the storage drives. The results of any processing may also need to be encrypted before being stored or moved to an external device. The greatest efficiency and security is achieved by using the same system for processing and decryption/encryption.


Accelerating Big Data Security

Data encryption in software requires significant number of processor cycles. The Intel Distribution for Apache Hadoop is optimized for Intel® Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (Intel® AES-NI) supported on Intel Xeon processors. This has been shown to accelerate encryption performance in an Apache Hadoop cluster by 5.3x and decryption performance by 19.8x. Significantly higher security performance can be achieved by using hardware security acceleration that is closely coupled to the processor.


The Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series integrate hardware acceleration for decryption/encryption and compression and are closely coupled to Intel Xeon processors through PCIe Gen 2.0 and DMI interfaces. As shown in Figure 1 these devices also integrate quad Gigabit Ethernet, PCIe Gen 1 and other I/O interfaces.


Intel 89xx.jpg

Figure 1. Intel® Communications Chipset 89xx Series.


The Intel Distribution for Apache Hadoop supports the Intel® Quick Assist Technology acceleration built into the Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series. Security performance can be scaled by adding additional Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series devices.


Scalable Hardware Platform Solutions

Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 series with the Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series are integrated into a wide range of platform solutions for computing and communications applications including carrier grade servers, network appliances and ATCA. Many of these platform solutions will support the Intel Distribution for Apache Hadoop with hardware acceleration for security.


The Advantech CGS-6000 carrier grade server integrates dual Intel Xeon processors E5-2600 and E5-2600v2. Hardware security acceleration can be added using Advantech PCIe Cards with four Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series shown in Figure 2. The CGS-6000 system has four full height PCIe x8 slots.


Advantech 8910 PCIe Card.jpg

Figure 2. Advantech PCIe Card with four Intel® Communications Chipset 89xx Series.


ATCA is a scalable platform for computing and communications applications. The Advantech MIC-5333 ATCA processor blade integrates the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 series and the Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series. The blade also supports additional mezzanine modules with up to four additional Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series devices. Advantech NetariumTM ATCA System platforms are available with 2-14 slots and optional extended rear transition modules (eRTM). The Advantech eRTM module shown in Figure 3 supports up to four network mezzanine cards (NMC) that can be used for further security acceleration or other functions. NMCs are also supported on the Advantech FWA-6510 Network Appliance.


Advantech eRTM.jpg

Figure 3. Advantech ATCA Extended Rear Transition Module (eRTM)


The combination of Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 series, Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series and Intel Distribution for Apache Hadoop allows system managers to deploy the right hardware and software solutions to enhance big data security.


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Advantech is a Premier member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.


Simon Stanley

Roving Reporter (Intel® Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Principal Consultant, Earlswood Marketing

Follow me on Twitter: @simon_stanley

What comes in mind when you think of a mobile POS device? A smart phone with a card reader attachment stuck on it? A bulky handheld with keypad, printer and a small screen? A tablet? The truth is, mobile POS is a device category that is wide open and the definitive form factors have yet to surface. That’s what makes mobile POS exciting from a developer perspective. Equally intriguing are the possibilities available to make more intelligent, graphically rich, low-power mobile POS devices by leveraging the many innovations of the 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor product family.


Form Factors and Use Cases for Mobile POS

Leading retailers are increasingly looking at mobile device POS devices as a way to put store associates on the floor and enable shoppers to make purchases anywhere. This can be a big advantage in situations where a store associate is helping a customer and the customer has just made the decision to buy. It might be shoes, a refrigerator, or a laptop PC. Processing the sale right then, at the moment of the buying decision, helps ensure the sale is made in the store and not later home online. It also helps reduce the number of sales lost as the shopper walks to a distant checkout station and experiences second thoughts.


Mobile POS devices come in handy in other use cases as well. They’re great for outdoor sales, such as at a gardening shop or lumber yard. In small shops, mobile POS devices can eliminate a stationary POS checkout station entirely, allowing store employees to freely interact with customers and help close sales. For stores that frequently do demonstrations of items such as a juicer, mobile POS devices enable store associates to make the sale when a customer reaches peak excitement about the product.


Mobile POS devices can also be invaluable in situations where a store associate is with a customer and an item is out of stock on the shelves. The store associate can check stock at other nearby stores or the warehouse, and even complete the sale, having the item shipped to the store for pickup or the customer’s home.


Store associates can also take advantage of upsell opportunities by showing a customer additional models of an item that might not be available in the store, but offer features a customer wants. To close a sale, a store associate might also show a customer product videos, reviews and recommendations, and even companion products to consider. Imagine, for example, the effect of showing to a customer a third-party video review that highly rates a camera, and then being able to show popular options such as extra lenses and filters.






For these last cases where a store associate wants to share information, a smart phone-sized device doesn’t offer a big enough screen to comfortably share information with a customer. That’s where they fall short. What works better is a tablet-sized device with a screen large enough that store associates can easily show a customer product features, alternative models, literature, and everything else available to help close a sale. A larger screen also makes it easier to capture a signature when making a credit card sale.


Advantages of 4th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors for Mobile POS Devices

Fourth generation Intel® Core™ processors provide the perfect balance of performance and battery life for Mobile POS devices of all sizes. With 25 percent lower design power versus the previous generation, 4th generation Intel Core processors enable developers to design thinner, lighter and sleeker form factors for mobile POS devices.






The combination of a fully integrated voltage regulator and new low-power processor states enables dramatic reductions on power consumption, yielding one of the biggest improvements in battery life compared to previous generations in Intel company history. Intel states battery life in an Ultrabook™ equipped with these processors is up to 10.3 hours when used in productivity tasks.


This processor family also includes Intel® Rapid Start Technology. This feature enables a device to wake up in just 3 seconds. Such fast startup is important when it comes time to complete a sale or show a customer information or other options.


Powerful Graphics That Help Make the Sale

One feature that helps ensure successful customer interactions on the sales floor is a mobile POS with excellent graphics capabilities. Whether an associate is showing a product review, a different model, or a video demonstrating the product in use, the better the graphics and video performance, the more likely customers will become engrossed by what they’re seeing on the screen. Here the latest Intel Core processors shine. New hardware-based media accelerators and added graphics execution units deliver stunning HD video  and 3D graphics performance, offering an even more engaging visual experience than previous Intel® microarchitectures (see Figure 1). In fact, Intel® HD Graphics, the highest volume graphics solution for PCs sold today, now offers 4K x 2K UltraHD 4KD display resolution support (3840 x 2160) for eye-popping visual clarity.


Figure 1. The integrated graphics of 4th generation Intel® Core™ processors provide a dramatic boost in performance.


Secure Near Field Communication

One particular hardware-based technology that makes 4th generation Intel Core processors ideal for mobile POS applications is Intel® Identity Protection Technology (Intel® IPT) with Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC enables “Tap-and-Pay” sales—the latest payment trend. NFC-enabled mobile POS devices enable customers carrying NFC-enabled smartphones or smartcards (i.e., digital wallets) to complete secure transactions in an instant.


Intel IPT is a suite of four technologies—One Time Password, Protected Transaction Display, Embedded PKI, and NFC—that introduces a “Tap and Interact” function that makes interactions more secure by isolating the data received by NFC from the operating system. Keeping the transaction data from the operating system prevents many forms of malware from gaining access to a customer’s identity information. (I provide an in-depth look at the security and manageability features that these processors bring to retail in an earlier blog: “Enhancing Retail Security and Manageability with 4th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors.”)


Solutions from the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

An example of a tablet that’s ready to go as a mobile POS solution is the Arbor Technology G1010 Tablet PC (see Figure 2). Equipped with a 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor ULT dual-core platform with 15W TDP with Intel® vPro™ and Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT), this unit can be ordered with a smart card reader and configured for NFC and bar code scanning. It’s designed for a battery life up to eight hours and features a swappable battery design so retailers can keep it on the floor as long as they’re open each day. The G1010 even has a sunlight-readable display for outdoor usage. For a developer looking to go to market fast, all this unit requires is the software.


Arbor G1010.jpg

Figure 2. Arbor Technology G1010 Tablet PC.


For developers looking to design their own mobile POS unit, Portwell offers the PCOM-B630VG Type IV COM Express module available with either 17W or 25W TDP (see Figure 3). A particular advantage of this board and similar ones is that since the PCI-Express slot is not needed for a graphics card, it’s open for other expansion options.


Portlwell PCOM-B630VG.jpg

Figure 3. Portwell PCOM-B630VG COM Express Module.


Many more board solutions for tablet and handheld form factors and designed for long battery life will be coming out soon as new, even lower voltage versions of 4th generation Intel Core processors reach board manufacturers. As every device in the modern store, from digital signage to interactive kiosk to electronic shelf display, gets more intelligent, mobile POS systems with rich graphics will continue to grow in importance as a way to market to customers and process sales at any location. Connected to the back office or cloud, these systems will help provide the data for real-time business intelligence to manage inventory, and track sales and profitability, as well as give store associates the latest information they need to close a sale.


Keep your eyes on this space. I’m sure that either I or one of my Roving Reporter colleagues will provide an update on new solutions for mobile POS products and POS trends in the near future.



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Solutions in this blog:

·        Arbor Technology G1010 Tablet PC

·        Portwell COM-B630VG

Related topics:

·        Retail - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)

·        Performance - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)

·        Energy Efficiency - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)

·        Security - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)


Portwell is a Premier member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance. Arbor Technology is an Affiliate member of the Alliance.


Mark Scantlebury

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Associate Editor, Embedded Innovator magazine

After a lull in which economic crises and healthcare policy changes slowed medical imaging equipment sales, the picture is definitely brightening. Frost & Sullivan expects the global market to hit $30 billion USD by 2017, with much of the growth coming from emerging markets (source: 2013 Global Medical Imaging Equipment Market Outlook Report). All segments offer opportunities: Low-end modalities such as ultrasound are migrating into new form factors and applications, while high-end modalities such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are increasingly being adopted in emerging markets.


Performance drives imaging innovation                                   

Parallel processing is key to medical imaging, and the 4th generation Intel® Core™ processors and Intel® Xeon® processor E3 v3 deliver parallelism in spades. In addition to offering four cores with up to 15 percent faster performance than previous generations, these processors benefit from the Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX) 2.0.


Intel® AVX2 provides an infrastructure and building blocks for meeting the escalating performance requirements of medical imaging applications through wider vectors, a new extensible syntax, and rich functionality. This upgraded vector-processing technology introduces a fused multiply-add (FMA3) that effectively doubles the peak floating point throughput in comparison to the previous generation. Multiply-add workloads are a critical component of image processing, so this upgrade will significantly benefit medical imaging applications. Intel AVX2 also expands most integer Intel AVX instructions from 128 bits to 256 bits, doubling fixed-point performance. And with gather support, Intel AVX2 now enables vector elements to be loaded from non-contiguous memory locations to simplify code vectorization.


Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX) 2.0 doubles peak floating-point and fixed-point throughput.

The Intel Haswell micro-architecture also offers an upgraded graphics engine with a 60% 3D graphics improvement over previous generations. Enhanced high-resolution display capabilities support up to 4K resolution on three independent displays. What’s more, the new “collage display” mode can present multiple displays to the OS as a unified resolution. These features are all invaluable for display of high-resolution medical images, and they reduce the need for expensive and power-hungry discrete graphics cards.


Intel architecture (IA) offers scalability advantage

IA processors offer the performance, energy efficiency, and features for a wide range of modalities, from advanced CT, MRI, and molecular imaging scanners, to mammography, X-ray, and ultrasound. The new Haswell microarchitecture, as implemented in the 4th generation Intel Core and Intel Xeon processor E3 v3, delivers the superior image-processing performance and enhanced security for next-generation devices such as portable ultrasounds and dental radiography. At the other end of the spectrum, the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v2—based on the Ivy Bridge microarchitecture—offers exceptionally high performance along with energy efficiency for lower total cost of ownership for the most demanding imaging applications.

This scalability offers several important advantages. First, medical OEMs can scale their products to different price and performance points, and can quickly diversify into new markets. Second, the consistent architecture and toolsets speed and simplify development, letting OEMs focus on their application expertise instead of learning new hardware. Finally, the entire IA roadmap is now marching forward with a “tick-tock” cadence that is consistently delivering new levels of performance and power efficiency. This gives developers a clear upgrade path and helps them maintain software designs across product generations.


Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance products employ Intel AVX2 with Intel Core and Intel Xeon processors in form factors such as COM Express that are ideal for medical imaging applications 

Portwell PCOM-B630VG COM Express Module

The Portwell PCOM-B630VG COM Express module brings quad-core technology and significant performance improvements with the 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor, while the Intel® QM87 integrated GMA graphics provides better performance and variable display interfaces for imaging-intensive applications. The module is designed to comply with both socket type and BGA type Intel® Core™ i7 processor for intensive computing, and the architecture of the module and carrier boards speeds time to market of tailor-made equipment. Features include the Intel Haswell Core i5/i7 BGA Type CPU, integrated memory controller that supports up to 32GB ECC DDR3-1333/1600, Intel® QM87 integrated GMA graphic, and support for 6GT/s SATA.

Portwell PCOM-B630VG.jpg

Intel Haswell-based Core i7/i5 CPU based Type VI COM Express module with ECC DDR3 SDRAM, Gigabit Ethernet, SATA and USB from American Portwell.

Kontron COMe-bHL6 COM Express Module

By integrating the new Intel® AVX2 and OpenCL 1.2, Kontron’s new COM Express module provides an increase in floating-point performance as well as improved parallel processing capacities for medical imaging and other imaging-intensive applications. The new application-ready COMe-bHL6 offers increased performance density and up to twice the graphics performance compared to its predecessors. Up to three independent, daisy-chained displays with up to 4K resolution are supported to create stunning user experiences. The module is available in versions up to quad-core Intel® Core™ i7 processors with up to 4x 2.4 GHz and features comprehensive display support with 3x dual-mode DisplayPort++ which can also output HDMI, DVI and DisplayPort 1.2. Kontron also offers standardized migration support services to accelerate design-in for fast field deployment.


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Kontron COMe-bHL6 4th Generation Intel® Core i-Series COM Express™ with Intel® Core™ i7

Intel® System Studio supports medical imaging system innovation

On the development side, the IA platform is supported by a rich set of tools, libraries, and development kits that provide portable, optimized signal processing from Intel® Atom™ processors to Intel® Xeon® processors. One key example is the Intel® System Studio, an integrated software development suite that provides deep hardware and software insights to speed development, testing, and optimization of Intel-based embedded and mobile systems. For developers of advanced medical imaging systems, this support is critical to maximize processor performance.

Common aspects of medical imaging workloads include echo addition and cancellation, pattern recognition, noise reduction, anti-aliasing, compression, smoothing, morphing, correlation, and filtering. These types of workloads, which involve processing large amounts of changing data such as MRI images, benefit from the data parallelism and vector registers supported by AVX2, as well as language extensions in the Intel architecture that provide floating point capabilities for data manipulation, data swapping, and matrix multiplication—all required for signal and data processing. The Intel System Studio optimizes AVX code for signal and media processing to speed the data flow and significantly improve performance.


Kontron and Portwell are Premier members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.


Cheryl Coupé

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Freelance technology writer and editor




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