Intel Embedded Portfolio Hits 45 nm

The chip maker expands its embedded portfolio to Xeon processors and offers seven-year life-cycle guarantees for system builders.

Intel is expanding its embedded chip portfolio to include a number of Xeon processors manufactured at 45 nanometers.

Intel will add five dual- and quad-core Xeon processors to the company's embedded portfolio and will expand its life cycle support for its embedded products from five to seven years, the Santa Clara, Calif., chip maker announced Feb. 27.

Unlike the market for PCs and servers, those systems builders that use embedded processors for products ranging from storage systems to cell phones typically do not update their designs often and want long-term commitments from suppliers, said Doug Davis, vice president and general manager of the Embedded and Communications Group at Intel.

Previously, Intel and other chip makers took older processor models that had run their course and revamped those for the embedded market, but Intel wants to add more of its cutting-edge processors into its embedded portfolio faster. In 2007, Intel began offering several of its quad-core processors for the embedded market about six months after the introduction, and now the company is committing 45-nm chips to the portfolio after first introducing the new line in November.

"It used to take us several months to get to the point where we supported products for these segments of the market," Davis said. "Now, we have gotten better at providing the level of support they [system builders] require, and we are already supporting 45-nanometer processors."

The 45-nm Xeons are also ideal for the embedded market since the chips offer better performance and technology, while keeping the power envelope as low as 35 watts, Davis said. Davis believes these processors will find their way into a number of products from medical imaging devices to carrier-grade servers for the telecommunications industry.

The Xeons have clock speeds ranging from 2.13GHz to 3GHz and the prices of these chips run from $321 to $690, according to Intel. The company is also offering its 5100 Memory Controller Hub chip set for the market as well.

Finally, Intel will begin selling its own carrier-grade TIGH2U for telecoms. The system uses a pair of quad-core Xeon E5440 processors and is NEBS 3 (Network Equipment Building System)-compliant.