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Intel details embedded, SoC moves

September 16, 2010 // Rick Merritt

Intel details embedded, SoC moves

Intel has provided more details about its latest set-top box and embedded processors and the system-on-chip program behind them in a technical session at the Intel Developer Forum.

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The PC giant now has a base architecture for spinning out SoC variations based on Atom cores, and it plans to roll an increasing number of integrated chips with each new process generation. Intel has plans for multiple SoCs in 2011 using the 32nm Atom core called Medfield and even more for a follow on 22nm core in 2012, said Raj Yavatkar, director of SoC architecture at Intel.

Intel has defined a number of proprietary on-chip interconnects for its SoCs. They include an internal I/O fabric and memory fabrics geared to maintain software compatibility with Windows, PC Linux and the x86 coherency model for media and graphics, he said.

The E6xx series, formerly Tunnel Creek, officially announced this week integrates a memory controller derived from Intel's Lincroft PC chip set supporting up to a Gbyte of main memory on a 667-800 MHz DDR2 link. It supports Intel's SSE3 media extensions, includes a 400 MHz graphics block with 2-D and 3-D hardware acceleration and can handle H.264 baseline encoding and high-profile decoding.

Intel already has 60 early access partners working with versions of the chip, about 80 percent of them system or board-level customers for the part, said Jonathan Luse, director of marketing for low-power embedded products at Intel. Five companion hub chips are in development for the E6xx, three from Oki and one each from Intel, Realtek and STMicroelectronics.

"I welcome as many hubs as the market would bear," said Luse in an interview with EE Times.

Yavatkar also provided more details about the Intel CE 4200, formerly Groveland, an SoC primarily aimed at cable-TV set-top boxes. It integrates support for MoCA home networking, stereo 3-D display, the HDMI 1.4a interconnect and video transcoding.

The CE 4200 includes a 1.2 GHz Atom core, an SGX535 graphics block from Imagination Technologies and a memory controller supporting two DDR3 channels. The part sports upgraded power management to support Energy Star branded systems and supports conditional access and ad insertion.
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