A few days ago, we were invited by Intel to discover its new Atom processor dedicated to IOT. Our host was Jonathan Luse, General manager of Roadmap and Product management for Intel’s IOT. He introduced us to a brand new processor family, code named Apollo Lake, which will be known as the Atom E3900 series.
This family will be composed of 3 processors dedicated to multiple types of uses, ranging from retail equipment to medical devices, self-driving cars to surveillance cameras, smart lighting or even energy management devices.
One of the main features of this new processor is special latency features to prioritize data streams over others. A functionality that will be used in smart cars, allowing the system to give priority to driving data over car entertainment data. Obviously a freeze in the backseat kids’ movie is less important than a freeze in the dashboard data.
Also, because of its specific range of uses and the fact that it won’t be used in classic computers, the E3900 series will be able to function under extreme conditions in temperature ranging from -40°C to 85°C (-40°F to 185°F). Another difference, compared to more traditional processors, is that the E3900 series will have a much longer lifespan. This is mainly due to the products they will be used with. In the automobile industry for example, the processor starts to be used 2 years prior to the commercial launch of the car during an intensive testing period. After that, once the car is launched, it has an average lifespan of 5 years before being replaced by a new model. And finally, car manufacturers want at least 10 years of spare parts to satisfy their customers, so the Intel E3900 range will be remain in Intel’s catalog for quite a while…
Intel is already very confident in the success of this processor as the company noticed a three-fourfold increased interest from its customers, compared to the previous generation. Also we were told that early access to samples is already 2.5 times higher than it has been at any time before. Intel usually releases about 20 samples, but with the E3900 series there are already almost 50 partners testing the new processor.
To achieve this, the brand has some serious arguments, starting with a pretty good overall performance. Compared to its predecessor, Atom x5 E3900 series provides 70% more power at the same TDP.
The Atom x5 E3900 series will go from 2 to 4 cores with clock speeds up to 2 GHz and a max TDP of 12 Watts. The family is engraved in 14 nanometers and support up to 8GB of RAM, each Atom processor e3900 will be able to display three UltraHD video streams at 60 frames per second.
Intel has obviously integrated heavy security solutions into its chips, like the Trusted Execution technology that encrypts the system software. The Time Coordinated Computing Technology on its side coordinates and synchronizes the devices and the networks of connected devices. By synchronizing the clocks of the system-on-a-chip (SoC) and the network, the processor achieves an accuracy of one microsecond. An essential feature to control several industrial robots performing simultaneous precise manipulations.
The original Atom that we discovered a few years ago inside netbooks has definitely changed a lot and is now finding a new purpose with some serious arguments in the enormous IOT universe.
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