Intel has made a big play for the expanding internet-of-things market with an updated Atom processor that offers double the computing and three times the graphics performance.
The E3900 family of three chips is an update to the E3800 from 2013 and, according to the VP of Intel's Internet of Things Group, Ken Caviasca, has been built "from the ground up" in order to fit with modern IoT needs.
Caviasca described the new chip family as a "very targeted product" and one that has been carefully designed to fit with the unique needs of the IoT market. In practical terms that means that the E3900 has focused on several aspects: massive scalability, interoperability and security.
Perhaps the main feature of IoT is the fact that people expect to roll out a very large number of sensors and have them both share data and make sense of that data. As such, the E3900 has been designed to sit in both devices and gateways.
Caviasca is also proud of the chip's "time coordinated computing" or TCC, which will enable different machines/sensors to work together very precisely – such as on a production line. Due to the fact that the market is "not static" – code for wildly unpredictable – the chips are also highly programmable and allow for individual sensor configuration. And, in line with everyone's fears about IoT, security has been beefed up to ensure that products with Intel chips don't become the next monster botnet.
The E3900 is focused squarely on the industrial market with Caviasca highlighting three main sectors that Intel will target: automotive, industrial and video. Which means imaging in autonomous cars, cameras and production lines, and IP cameras/network video recorders. The chips support Ultra HD/4K video at 60Hz.
Among the security features come intelligent features like a measured boot time: if your device takes longer than normal to boot up, the system flags it up as potentially compromised. It also includes a range of security specs, from video copy prevention HDCP2.2, to the new TPM 2.0 spec for secure cryptoprocessors, to a number of specs added "because customers asked us to."
The E3900 family comprises the E3930, 40 and 50 – you can read the full specs on the Intel factsheet. It can handle temperatures from -40 to 85 degrees Celsius (-40 to 185 Farenheit). The chips are slightly larger than the current E3800, but offer 1.7x computing performance and 2.9x graphics performance over it. They will ship in Q1 next year.
Intel hasn't released pricing but it will be "mid-to-high-end," according to Caviasca. He predicts the product life of the chip to be around three years, but with them deployed for up to 10 years. ®