RealTime IT News

Intel Aims Chips at Embedded Market

With the future of its desktop processors heading toward 64-bit instructions, what's Intel to do with its 32-bit line?

Sell them to embedded product manufacturers.

The chipmaker is serving up a branch of its Pentium M and Celeron M families for embedded applications like communications equipment, industrial box and panel PCs, as well as in-car "infotainment." Intel said it is still committed to its XScale architecture for smaller form factors, but is looking at positioning its desktop favorites at an embedded market that makes up about 60 percent of the current $214 billion semiconductor industry.

The chips include the Pentium M 760 ($415 at 10,000-unit quantities), which is used in the IBM ThinkPad family; the Celeron M 370 ($131 at 10,000-unit quantities) commonly found in the Toshiba Satellite series; and the Celeron M ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) 373 (priced at $158 at 10,000-unit quantities). Intel said it has all the components in stock. A development kit based on the new chipset will be available in early March.

The Pentium includes a corresponding chipset -- the Mobile Intel 915GM Express -- which supports up to 2 GB of DDR2 system memory and PCI Express. The chipset also sports a 533-MHz Front Side Bus, support for Serial ATA and Intel's own brand of stable image technology, its Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 900 and its "Azalea" High Definition Audio. The chipsets are priced at $41 in 25,000-unit quantities.

Doug Davis, vice president of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group says with the proven success of the chips on the desktop; why not make the jump to smaller markets.

"By choosing Intel's embedded processors developers can increase performance while meeting their ever-challenging power concerns and still build flexible solutions that provide a rapid time to market cost effectively."

Germany-based Siemens said it is already on board with the Pentium M 760 and chipset to power its Simatic Box PC 627 and Panel PC 677.

"The low thermal envelope allowed a more compact cooling solution and the integrated graphics functionality provided by the chipset decreased system cost by not requiring the use of a graphics card," Gunther Klima, head of Siemens' Industrial PC Division. "In addition, the new technology supports our target to offer high-system availability for our products."

Similarly, E.E.P.D (Electronic Equipment Production and Distribution), which makes single board computers, said it will be upgrading its Envader IV series targeted for in-car infotainment systems with Intel's Pentium M 760 and chipset to give automakers an in-car computing and Internet access for business and entertainment. E.E.P.D. currently uses Intel's embedded processors in its Envader III series, which is installed on the BMW M-class sports car.