New Intel processor targets consumer and mobile markets

Chip uses less power, has better customisation capability

Intel has launched its System-on-Chip (SoC) EP8579 integrated processor, which it says offers lower power and customisation capabilities for embedded voice, storage and security applications. The new product family is the first wave of Intel's revamped SoC design, which adds smarter chip intelligence, according to the company.

The integrated offering is based on Intel's Pentium M processor and combines the functionality of four chips into a single circuit, according to Seth Bobroff, general manager of Intel's Storage Group. The devices will boost the performance of smaller Consumer Electronics (CE) and Mobile Internet Devices (MID), which require longer lasting life and tighter processor integration than traditional computing machines, Bobroff says.

The EP8579 devices offer power output between 11-21 watts. In addition, four of the eight new SoC EP8579 products feature Intel QuickAssist Technology, which accelerates cryptographic and packet processing for security appliances.

Bobroff says Intel's smarter SoC devices provide companies with greater flexibility to construct their embedded products more cheaply and quickly for a particular customer audience. "Instead of one size fits all, we can customise the [new] system-on-chip to best address a specific market or segment's needs," he says.

In total, the world's largest chipmaker has more than 15 SoC projects in development, most based on the Atom processor. For example, it expects to roll out SoC products code-named "Moorestown" and "Lincroft" for web-enabled devices within two years.

Jim McGregor, analyst at In-Stat, said Intel's revamped SoC design is part of a "huge bet" by the chip maker that the Atom processor can be used for high-speed interconnect machines and other CE backend infrastructure.

"This really gets down to getting the x86 [processor] in places it couldn't go before in the embedded market," says McGregor. "Intel may not win in all those areas, but they're spreading all their capabilities as widely as they possibly can."

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