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One of the key benefits of Intel® architecture (IA) is its scalable performance. With processors ranging from low-power parts to high-end, multi-core beasts, IA covers a wide span of cost, power, and performance levels. This scalability provides a number of important benefits. First and foremost, scalability gives developers a reliable upgrade path. You can add features by moving to higher-performance parts, or you can cost-optimize with lower-performance parts.  What’s more, IA has an unsurpassed history of maintaining software compatibility across processor generations. That means developers can commit to the platform with the confidence that they will be able to re-use their software for years to come.

Scalability also makes it easier to design a range of products from a common software base. In the network space, for example, a single software base can scale from network appliances targeting the SMB market all the way up to telecom infrastructure used for next-generation 4G networks.


Both of these benefits – scalability and roadmap reliability – are enhanced by the supporting hardware, software, tools, and services offered by the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance, whose 200-plus members collaborate closely with Intel to help you speed scalable designs to market. Alliance members offer extensive support for the full range of IA processors, including:


  • Intel® Atom™ processors with thermal design power (TDP) starting at 2.7 W
  • Intel® Core™ processors with industry-leading graphics, performance, and I/O
  • Intel® Xeon® processors with advanced multi-core architectures


Intel has recently introduced updates to each of these platforms with significant performance and feature upgrades. For example, the new Intel® Atom™ processor N200 and D2000 series (formerly codenamed “Cedar Trail”) offers the new processors up to 4X the 3D graphics performance of their predecessors along with 1080p hardware video decode. These upgrades will be particularly useful for applications that combine modest processing requirements with intense graphics demands, such as entry-level digital signage and kiosks.


As the first Intel Atom processor built in a 32nm process technology, the new parts also gain major improvements in performance-per-watt. Notable power-saving features include:


  • Up to 10 hours of use and weeks-long standby
  • Intel® Rapid Start Technology for fast resume
  • Intel® Smart Connect Technology for an always-updated experience even during standby


For a closer look at the new parts, I recommend my recent Intel Atom processor blog. To get ideas on how you can use these processors in your next design, check out our webinar on Adding “Wow” to Embedded from Advantech and Portwell. In the meantime, here’s a quick overview of the specs:


Core Frequency

Graphics Speed

Video decode


Intel® Atom™ processor N2600

1.60 GHz

400 MHz

Single 1080p

3.5 W

Intel® Atom™ processor N2800

1.86 GHz

640 MHz

Single 1080p

6.5 W

Intel® Atom™ processor D2700

2.1 GHz

640 MHz

Dual 1080p

10 W


The brand-new 3rd-generation Intel® Core™ processors (formerly codenamed “Ivy Bridge”) also bring a host of major upgrades. The processors are the first to use Intel’s 22 nm fabrication process, which provides up to 20% better performance in the same thermal envelope as the previous generation. The biggest news, however, is the majorly upgraded graphics engine, which offers an up to 2X boost in 3D performance and support for 3 displays. I/O also gets a major upgrade – new support for PCI Express* Gen 3 and USB 3.0 more than double I/O throughput.


These upgrades will benefit a wide range of applications, including digital signage, healthcare, mil/aero, and industrial automation – all of which we will cover in our upcoming webinar with Kontron and Radisys. To dive deeper, check out my Intel™ Core® processor blog, where you will find application examples like anonymous viewer analytics (AVA) for signage:




Intel has been busy upgrading its top-of-the line Intel® Xeon® processors as well. The latest Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 series (formerly codenamed “Romley”) are the first to offer 8-core/single-socket and 16-core/two-socket configurations, providing significant performance improvement over previous-generation. They are also the first Intel Xeon processors to use the Intel® microarchitecture codenamed Sandy Bridge, which introduces significant performance upgrades such as the Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX) that accelerate signal and image processing applications like radar detection, medical imaging, and factory automation.




Other key upgrades include:


  • Automated low-power states put processor, memory and I/O controller into lowest-available power states while meeting current workload requirements
  • PCI Express 3.0* integrated on the processor die and two Intel® QuickPath Interconnect links boosts performance, reduce latency and save power
  • More memory channels and PCIe lanes compare to previous generation for enhanced performance


The new processor is supported by a wide range of Alliance solutions for applications like networking and medicine. To explore these solutions, check out the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 series product listings in our Solutions Directory.


The links I’ve noted here show just a few examples of the solutions available from the Alliance. To learn more about the Alliance and its solutions, see


Advantech, Emerson Network Power, Kontron, Portwell, and Radisys are Premier members of the Intel® Embedded Alliance.


Kenton Williston

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

Editor-In-Chief Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve already heard about the launch of the 3rd-generation Intel® Core™ processors (formerly codenamed “Ivy Bridge”). But do you know what these new chips can do for you? Before we answer that question, let’s review the basics: The new processors are the first to use Intel’s 22nm fabrication process, which provides up to 20% better performance in the same thermal envelope as the previous generation. The biggest news, however, is the majorly upgraded graphics engine, which offers an up to 2X boost in 3D performance and support for 3 displays. I/O also gets a major upgrade – new support for PCI Express* Gen 3 and USB 3.0 more than double I/O throughput.




In practical terms, this translates to systems with greater features at lower cost. Consider digital signage. The bump in processing power makes it easier to support intense workloads like anonymous viewer analytics (AVA) – a technology that lets signs see their audience and adjust their advertising accordingly. (For example if the sign detects a young woman, it might show an ad for high heels, while a young man might see ads for sports shoes.) At the same time, the triple-display support and improved graphics support can eliminate the need for a separate graphics card, cutting system costs.


The Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance offers a wide array of solutions that can help you realize these benefits. For example, Emerson Network Power just published an article showing how to build advanced signage. For additional reading, I recommend my colleague Maury Wright’s blog on the Open Pluggable Specification. Using this new signage standard is another great way to cut costs and keep up with the latest technologies. For even more design ideas, check out my recent retail and signage blog.




For a broader look at Alliance solution, register for our upcoming webinar. This event will show how the over 200 members of the Alliance collaborate with Intel to provides a wide range of optimized hardware, software, tools, and services. The event will cover a wide range of applications, including, digital signage, healthcare, mil/aero, and industrial automation.


Speaking of automation, Portwell has a new article showing how the new processor can improve throughput on production lines and enhance the worker experience. For more examples of the 3rd generation Intel Core processors in the factory, check out the industrial automation blog from my colleague Warren Webb. And of course you can check out my recent factory automation overview.




It’s also worth noting that the 3rd generation Intel Core processors carry forward a number of useful features introduced in earlier generations, such as the Intel® vPro™ suite of hardware-assisted security and management technologies. These technologies include:


  • Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT), which provides remote diagnosis and repair
  • Intel® Trusted Execution Technology (Intel® TXT), which supplies security protection over and above ordinary software solutions
  • Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT), which enables secure task separation, e.g., for systems that mix open-source and high-security software.


Together, these technologies provide a foundation for proactive threat deterrence – and Wind River has just written an article showing how these technologies are part of the six foundational strategies for security. You can also learn more in Maury’s recent manageability blog.


The links I’ve noted here show just a few examples of the solutions available from the Alliance. To learn more about the Alliance and its solutions, see


Emerson Network Power and Portwell are Premier members of the Intel® Embedded Alliance. Wind River is an Associate member of the Alliance.


Kenton Williston

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Embedded Alliance

Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston

Medical practitioners are looking for tablets with pervasive connectivity, high-resolution displays, the ability to wake from sleep quickly, and most importantly a long battery life. Advantech has a new Embedded innovator article showing how you can meet these needs with the latest 32 nm Intel® Atom™ processors.




security.pngFor more articles like this, subscribe to the Embedded Innovator. Subscribers receive a bi-annual magazine and quarterly newsletter with the latest industry trends and design ideas. For more on securing connected devices, see



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


Kenton Williston

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

Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston

As the new 3rd-Generation Intel® Core™ (Ivy Bridge) architecture emerges, off-the-shelf module makers have announced a variety of new products to take advantage of the improved performance, I/O, and power efficiency for embedded systems. These new COTS products come at a time when industrial manufacturers are looking for faster and more efficient factory automation tools to increase production, lower costs, and beat the competition. Based on an innovative tri-gate transistor design and 22 nm process technology, the new 3rd-Generation Intel® Core™  processor architecture offers embedded designers an integrated graphics engine with improved performance along with high speed data I/O for enhanced real-time applications.  The Ivy Bridge architecture also supports USB 3.0 when paired with the Intel® 7 Series Chipset Family to increase maximum I/O data rates from the current 480 Mbps to 5 Gbps.


The 3rd-Generation Intel® Core™ Processor family includes a number of enhanced performance features that are ideal for rugged, industrial applications supporting high-speed, high-definition image analysis and multiple video displays.  For example, the newly integrated Intel® HD4000 graphics core performs up to 50 percent better than its predecessors and can control up to three independent displays simultaneously. Intel® Quick Sync Video Technology uses dedicated hardware on the processor instead of software to accelerate media processing functions such as video encode, decode, and transcode operations. In addition, Intel® Clear Video HD Technology integrates multiple hardware and software image processing technologies to enable jitter-free, 1080p playback with enhanced color fidelity. The Ivy Bridge graphics core also supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, allowing clock frequencies to scale up temporarily to handle intense workloads.  For enhanced security, the architecture includes a hardware-based random number generator for higher performance encryption to provide protection against malware attacks.


The fastest way to take advantage these performance gains in factory automation applications is to incorporate COTS products that have already integrated the 3rd-Generation Intel® Core™ architecture. For instance, congatec recently announced the conga-TM77 COM Express module that can be ordered with either the 35W i7-3612QE or the 45W i7-3615QE quad core processors (See figure 1). The module supports Intel® Flexible Display Interface, DirectX 11, OpenGL 3.1, and OpenCL 1.1, as well as a MPEG-2 hardware decoding unit in order to decode multiple high resolution full HD videos in parallel. In addition to VGA and LVDS, the module has three digital display interfaces, each of which can be configured for DisplayPort, HDMI, or DVI. Eight USB ports are provided and three of those are capable of USB 3.0 Superspeed operation.  System expansion features include seven PCI Express 2.0 lanes, 16 PCI Express graphics 3.0 lanes, four SATA interfaces, and a gigabit Ethernet port. The conga-TM77 is available immediately and prices start at less than $1,000 in single unit quantities.




Extreme Engineering Solutions (X-ES) plans to support the 3rd-Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor across multiple industry-standards including COM Express, VPX, CompactPCI, VME, PMC, and XMC form factors. The XPedite7470 3U VPX Single Board Computer is one of the first products announced and is available with either the 2.1 GHz i7-3612QE or the 2.3 GHz i7-3615QE processors (See figure 2). The module supports high-bandwidth and processing-intensive applications with two PCI Express Fat Pipe P1 interconnects and two Gigabit Ethernet ports. The XPedite7470 accommodates up to 8 GB of DDR3 ECC SDRAM plus numerous I/O ports including USB 2.0, SATA, graphics, and RS-232/422/485.  The module can be used in either the system slot or peripheral slot of a VPX backplane. Board support packages are available for Wind River VxWorks, QNX, Neutrino, Green Hills INTEGRITY, and Linux as well as drivers for Microsoft Windows.




These products are a couple of examples where designers of industrial systems can get a head start in project development to capture the performance improvements and energy efficiency of the 3rd-Generation Intel® Core™. These commercial off-the-shelf products allow design teams to trade a slightly higher recurring cost for a shortened development schedule. If you think that Ivy Bridge fits your next factory automation project or if you have already started a project please share your concerns, questions, and successes with fellow followers of the Intel® Embedded Community. You can keep up with the latest technical articles and product announcements at the Embedded Computing Design archives on the Ivy Bridge. Also, please check back as I uncover more 3rd-Generation Intel® Core™ architecture products that you can use to extend the performance of your next industrial project.


To view other community content on energy efficiency, see "Energy Efficiency - Top Picks


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

Microsoft, Wind River, and congatec are Associate members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance. QNX and Green Hills Software are Affiliate members of the Alliance.  Extreme Engineering Solutions is a General member of the Alliance.

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