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In the Zone

Meet Intel's new processors for edge computing

Peter Krass's picture

by Peter Krass on 09/23/2020
Blog Category: devices

Intel, already the market leader in PC and server processors, now wants to also be a powerhouse in edge computing.

Intel today introduced processors designed for edge computing with features supporting the Internet of Things (IoT), AI and security.

The timing looks good. While the definition of “edge computing” isn’t always clear, it generally refers to IT infrastructure and services outside the data center. However you define it, the edge is growing fast. Market watcher IDC expects edge computing sales to grow 12.5% a year on average through 2024, for total worldwide sales that year of $250.6 billion.

“Edge products and services are powering the next wave of digital transformation,” says Dave McCarthy, IDC’s research director for edge strategies. 

Further, IDC predicts that by 2024, nearly half (46%) of all edge spending will go to services. Roughly a third (32%) will go to hardware. And slightly more than a fifth (22%) will go to software.

Edge processors

It’s that hardware piece that Intel has aimed its sights on. Intel today introduced new processors and capabilities for 3 of its CPU lines: 11th Gen Core, Atom x6000E series, and Pentium/Celeron N and J series.

Intel says its new processors can support edge-computing use cases in industries including manufacturing, retail, banking, hospitality, healthcare and smart cities.

The Atom x6000E series is new. Codenamed “Elkhart Lake,” these are 10nm processors and Intel’s first CPU platform enhanced specifically for IoT.

Intel says that compared with earlier Atom processors, the x6000E series deliver improvements including up to 2x better 3D graphics, and enhanced I/O and storage. The processors also meet strict functional safety requirements with a new feature called Intel Safety Island, which orchestrates on-chip diagnostics, reports errors and monitors customer-safety applications.

The Pentium and Celeron N and J series, employing much of the same technology, range from a CPU frequency of 1.2 GHz to 1.8 GHz in high-frequency mode, and CPU bursts in Turbo mode of up to 3.0 GHz.

Both the new Atom and Pentium/Celeron processors support a range of embedded operating systems: Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, Ubuntu Linux, Wind River Linux and Android 10.

Tiger Lake, too

Adding to the 11th gen Core mobile processors introduced earlier this month, Intel today introduced new versions of the Tiger Lake U3 CPU for embedded and industrial markets. In all, there are 6 new SKUs, including i3, i5 and i7 models.

These CPUs feature new dual-video decode boxes which allow the processor to ingest up to 40 simultaneous video streams at 1080p 30 frames per second and output up to either 4 channels of 4K video or 2 channels of 8K video. There are also AI-inferencing algorithms that can run on up to 96 graphic execution units or on the CPU with vector neural network instructions (VNNI) built in.

No company is an island, and Intel isn’t working on edge computing alone. In fact, Intel says it has more than 1,200 partners focused on edge computing, including such big names as Accenture, Bosch, ExxonMobil and Verizon. The company also says more than 15,000 customers — including Audi, Lenovo and Rakuten Mobile — have already deployed edge computing systems with Intel tech.

Explore Intel at the edge:

> Platform brief: Atom X6000E series; Pentium/Celeron N and J series (PDF)

> Platform brief: 11th Gen Intel Core processors (PDF)

> Editorial: Intel fuels the edge today with expanded tech, customer deployments

 

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