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Posts Tagged ‘intel’

Semtech LoRa SX1272 RF Module Enables Up to 30 KM Wireless Range for Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Waspmote, and More

November 20th, 2014 No comments

Libelium’s Waspmote is a board based on Atmel ATmega1281 MCU that interfaces with over 80 sensors, and various wireless communication modules, and targets professional wireless sensor network applications such as irrigation systems, smart metering, smart cities, smartphone detection, building automation, and so on. They have some professional kits for over 3,000 Euros including training, but a more affordable Starter Kit is also available for 199 Euros on Cooking Hacks. But I’m not going to cover Waspmote in details today. I just mention it because of an article on embedded.com mentioning compatibility with a Libelium / Semtech LoRa SX1272 RF module delivering up to 30km range in ideal conditions (and usually 22+ km range in LOS), and about 2km range in urban settings. I previously featured XBee-PRO 900HP RF Module with a 45km range, so the Semtech module is just another option, and it works not only with Waspmote, but also the Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and Intel Galileo boards. and possibly as well with boards featuring a Xbee socket. This type of modules are a good alternative to 3G/4G modules, as you don’t need to pay telcos, and these may be one of the only options in remote area without coverage and for high altitude applications.

Liberium SX1272 RF Module

Liberium SX1272 RF Module

Libelium SZ1272 RF module specifications:

  • RF Transceiver – Semtech SX1272 Long Range, Low Power RF Transceiver 860-1000MHz with LoRa.
  • Frequency Band
    • 863-870 MHz (Europe) with 8 channels
    • 902-928 MHz (US) with 13 channels
  • Transmission Power – 25 mW
  • Sensitivity – -134 dBm
  • Range –  LOS: 21km (13.4miles); NLOS: +2km (1.2miles)
  • Data Rate – Programmable bit rate up to 300 kbps

Complete documentation, and results of tests made in Paris and Zaragoza can be found in Waspmote LoRa 868MHz 915MHz SX1272 Networking Guide, and there’s also a tutorial which is especially useful if you want to connect the module to Raspberry Pi, Arduino, or Intel Galileo board.

LoRa_Raspberry_Pi_Arduino_Intel_Galileo

The module can be purchased for 45 Euros with a 4.5 dBi antenna either at 868 MHz or 915 MHz frequency. A shorter 0 dBi antenna is available for “smart parking” applications. But for the Raspberry Pi, you’d better purchase SX1272 LoRa Shield for Raspberry Pi for 85 Euros which includes all hardware needed, and for Arduino (compatible) boards, you’ll need to add the Multiprotocol Radio Shield for 33 Euros to the module. All these are available on Cooking Hacks website. If you want to try Lora with Waspmote instead, the complete kit sells for 147 Euros. It’s important to always use the antenna, or the module could be destroyed due to RF reflections, “said” the networking guide.

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Applied Micro X-Gene (64-bit ARM) vs Intel Xeon (64-bit x86) Performance and Power Usage

October 26th, 2014 5 comments

A group of researcher at CERN have evaluated Applied Micro X-Gene 1 64-bit ARM XC-1 development board against Intel Xeon E5-2650 and Xeon Phi SE10/7120 systems, and one of them, David Abdurachmanov, presented their findings at ACAT’ 14 conference (Advanced Computing and Analysis Techniques) by listing some of the issues they had to port their software to 64-bit ARM, and performance efficiency of the three systems for data processing of High Energy Physics (HEP) experiments like those at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), where performance-per-watt is important, as computing systems may scale to several hundred thousands cores.

HEP_Test_Systems_X-Gene_Intel_Xeon
Intel Xeon Phi platform based on Many Integrated Cores (MIC) computer architecture was launched the HPC market, and contrary to the table above features 61 physical cores. Applied X-Gene 1 (40nm process) was used instead of X-Gene 2 built on 28-nm process which was not available at the time. The ARM platform ran Fedora 19, whereas the Intel processor used Scientific Linux CERN 6.5.

The researchers run the CERN’s CMSSW applications for testing. Let’s jump to the results.

AOM_X-Gene_1_vs_Intel_XeonAs expected Intel Xeon processor and Phi coprocessor both have more performance than X-Gene 1 ARM SoC.

X-Gene_Intel_Xeon_Phi_Performance_Per_WattHowever, when it comes to performance-per-watt, APM X-Gene 1 is clearly ahead of Intel Xeon E5-2650 and there’s no comparison against Xeon Phi systems.

The conclusion of the report reads as follows:

We have built the software used by the CMS experiment at CERN, as well as portions of the OSG software stack, for ARMv8 64-bit. It has been made available in the official CMS software package repository and via the CVMFS distributed file system used by Grid sites.

Our initial validation has demonstrated that APM X-Gene 1 Server-on-Chip ARMv8 64-bit solution is a relevant and potentially interesting platform for heterogeneous high-density computing. In the absence of platform specific optimizations in the ARMv8 64-bit GCC compiler used, APM X-Gene 1 shows excellent promise that the APM X-Gene hardware will be a valid competitor to Intel Xeon in term of power efficiency as the software evolves. However, Intel Xeon Phi is a completely different category of product. As APM X-Gene 2 is being sampled right now, built on the TMSC 28nm process, we look forward to extending our work to include it into our comparison.

You can read the full report “Heterogeneous High Throughput Scientific Computing with APM X-Gene and Intel Xeon Phi” for details.

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Meet Blocks, a Tizen Modular Smartwatch based on Edison Board

October 17th, 2014 3 comments

If you like Phoneblocks / Project Ara module model concept, you may also be interested in Blocks, a modular smartwatch comprised of blocks connected via 3.5mm jacks. The watch is running Tizen on Edison development board powered by Intel dual-core Atom + Quark SoC, and part of the 10 finalists of Intel’s Make It Wearable challenge.

Customizable_Smartwatch_Blocks

Most smartwatches comes with a dumb” watchband, but with Blocks both the actual watch, and watchband are smart and customizable. You can change from round to square display, and add modules, which are part of the watchband, adding features like GPS, heat rate monitor, motion sensors, extra battery capacity, SIM card, contactless payment, temperature sensors, and so on. Each module also have a removable cover to let you change the color. One of the main drawbacks of current smartwatches is the battery life (1 to 2 days), so if it is possible to connect battery modules in series to get over a week of battery life, it could certainly be interesting. The best way to see how it all fits together is to watch the video below.

Blocks is still in development, and (partially?) funded by Intel, but the company is planning a crowdfunding campaign in 2015, and you can reserve your modular watch for a $50 refundable deposit, which will ensure you get an early bird price once the campaign goes live. Techcrunch reports the core block with touchscreen, processor, and Bluetooth module, will cost between $120 to $150, and each extra module will go for an extra $20 to $40. Shipping is scheduled for late 2015.

Visit Blocks website for a few more details, and register for news. You may also want to read Intel’s blog post about Blocks.

Via LinuxGizmos and Tizen Experts.

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Intel / Rockchip XMM 6321 Solution for Low Cost 3G Smartphones and Tablets

October 16th, 2014 4 comments

Back in May, Intel and Rockchip announced a partnership to develop 3G and LTE “Sofia” SoC for mobile devices, a few months later, Rockchip VP posted a picture of dual core development board (6321 solution) on Weibo with Rockchip and Intel technology, and the companies have showcased solutions based on XMM 6321 during the Hong Kong Electronics Fair.
XMM6321_XG632_AG620Intel XMM 6321 appears to be a two-chip solution comprised of:

  • XG632 SoC with a dual core Intel processor, a GPU, ISP?, VPU and a 2G/3G modem
  • Intel/Infineon AG620 Communication Combo with 2G/3G RF, Wi-Fi/BT, GPS, GLONASS and Audio/PMU.

XG632 will be the first processor from Intel and Rockchip collaboration, but it may not be part of “Sofia” family. with quad core 64-bit Sofia 3G-R and Sofia LTE SoCs coming at later date. XG632 is for entry-level smartphones (<$30) and tablets (<$40), whereas the upcoming Sofia SoCs will be seen in mainstream devices.

Charbax filmed Rockchip solutions at Hong Kong Electronics Fair, and he claims XG632 is actually a dual ARM Cortex A5 processor, but this is not consistent with the diagram above showing an “Intel Dual-Core”, and I could not confirm it with any other news sources, so wait and see.

Via AndroidPC.es and ARMdevices.net

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MEEGO-T01 HDMI TV Stick Supports Android, Windows 8.1, and Ubuntu/Linux

October 15th, 2014 25 comments

ARM based HDMI TV dongles have been available for over two years, mostly running Android, but the community has managed to install Linux desktop operating systems such as Ubuntu or Debian on these tiny gadgets with some limitations. But now that Intel is making low power SoC for tablets, at least one company has decided to make an HDMI TV stick powered by Intel “Bay Trail-T” Z3735F/G quad core processor, which can run Android, Windows 8.1, and Linux based desktop operating systems such as Ubuntu.

MEEGO-T01Meegopad MEEGO-T01 (aka APM-D01?) hardware specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom Z3735F / Z3735G “Bay Trail” quad core processor @ 1.33 GHz (Bust freq: 1.83 GHz) with Intel HD graphics (2W TDP)
  • System Memory
    • 1 GB DDR3L-1333 for Z3735G (32-bit up to 5.3 GB/s)
    • 2 GB DDR3L-1333 for Z3735F (64-bit up to 10.6 GB/s)
  • Storage – 16 or 32 GB eMMC + micro SD slot
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 (Realtek RTL8723BS)
  • USB – 2x micro USB ports, 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Misc – Power button
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via micro USB port.
  • Dimensions – 99.6 x 37.6 x 9.6 mm
  • Weight – 46 grams

Android and Windows 8.1 are supported according to the specifications, and Linux/Ubuntu is vaguely mentioned, so it may not be fully supported at this time, other Bay Trail-T mini PC can run Ubuntu with some caveats, so hopefully issues can be ironed out, and we can finally have an HDMI stick running Ubuntu / Debian with full 2D/3D GPU acceleration, and video hardware decoding support.

Intel_HDMI_TV_Stick_BoardThe PCB name is DAONH1MB6A0, and appears to have been designed by a Taiwanese public company called “HannStar Board Corporation“.

MEEGO-T01 / APM-D01 / Meegopad T01 (not sure of the name) is not available for retail yet, but it’s listed on Alibaba, as well as on Shenzhen APEC Electronic’s APM-D01 product page. I could not find any price information, except the very vague, and unreliable, “$1 to $70″ on Alibaba.

[Update: you can now purchase MeegoPad T01 on DealExtreme for $99.99 for the 2GB/16GB version, and $109.99 for the 2GB/32GB version]

Via Mini PC G+ community

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$50 Intel Edison Board for Wearables Features an SoC with a Dual Core Atom Processor, and a Quark MCU

September 10th, 2014 7 comments

Intel announced the Edison board for wearables applications last January at CES 2014. When it first came out, it looked like an SD card, but the board look has now drastically changed. Nevertheless, the important point is that Intel Edison is now available, together with various development kits, and runs Linux (Yocto built), as well as an RTOS.

Intel_Edison_ModuleWith the official release, we’ve also got the full specifications:

  • SoC – Dual-core, dual-threaded Intel Atom (Silvermont) processor (22nm) processor @ 500 MHz and a 32-bit Intel Quark micro-controller @ 100 MHz. Includes 1GB LPDDR3 PoP memory
  • System Memory – 1 GB LPDDR3 (PoP memory) – 2 channel 32bits @ 800MT/sec
  • Storage – 4 GB eMMC (v4.51 spec) + micro SD card connector
  • Connectivity –  Dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (Broadcom 43340) with either an on-board antenna or external antenna, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 1x micro USB connector
  • I/Os:
    • 2x UART  (1 full flow control, 1 Rx/Tx)
    • 2x I2C, 1x SPI with 2 chip selects
    • 1x I2S
    • 12x GPIO including 4 capable of PWM output
  • Module connector – 70-pin connector (Hirose DF40 series – 1.5, 2.0, or 3.0 mm stack height)
  • Power Supply – Input: 3.3 to 4.5 V; Output: 100mA @ 3.3V and 100 mA @ 1.8V
  • Power consumption – Standby (No radio): 13 mW;  Standby (Bluetooth 4.0): 21.5 mW (BLE in Q4 2014);  Standby (Wi-Fi): 35 mW.
  • Dimensions – 35.5 × 25.0 × 3.9 mm
  • Temperature Range – 0 to 40°C

The company will provide Yocto 1.6 Linux for the two cores of the Atom processor, and the Quark MCU will run an unnamed RTOS. Development tools for the Atom cores includes the Arduino IDE, Eclipse with support for C, C++ and Python programming languages, and Intel XDK for Node.JS and HTML5 development. An SDK and IDE will be available for the Quark MCU. Intel IoT Analytics Platform is the cloud solution adopted for the board, and will be free for limited and non-commercial use.

Intel Edison Arduino (Click to Enlarge)

Intel Edison Board for Arduino (Click to Enlarge)

Edison is basically a module, so it might be useful to have a baseboard, and Intel has come up with two:

  • Intel Edison Board for Arduino – Board with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and headers compatible with Arduino UNO expect it only supports 4 PWM instead of 6.
  • Intel Edison Breakout Board – Minimal board with the following key features:
    • Exposes native 1.8 V I/O of the Edison module.
    • 0.1″ grid I/O array of through-hole solder points.
    • USB OTG with USB Micro Type-AB connector
    • USB OTG power switch.
    • Battery charger.
    • USB to device UART bridge with USB micro Type-B connector.
    • DC power supply jack (7 to 15 VDC input).

Documentation including a product brief, hardware guides for Edison board for Arduino and the Breakout board, the Arduino IDE, and the instructions to get the Yocto BSP can be downloaded on Intel’s Edison Board page.

Intel Edison is available for backorder on Sparkfun for $49.95, and Edison for Arduino and Edison Breakout Board kits are listed Maker Shed for respectively $107 and $75, but currently out of stock. There’s also a Starter Pack on Sparkun for $114.95. Shipping is expected in 6 to 8 weeks.

Thanks to David and Freire.

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Intel Reference Design Program for Android Promises Devices with Firmware Updates Tracking AOSP for 2 Years

September 10th, 2014 8 comments

If you’ve ever bought a low cost Chinese smartphone or tablet, you must know you can’t really expect firmware updates, especially with a different Android version. For example, if you’ve purchased an Android 4.1 phone or tablet a couple of years ago, more likely than not, it’s still stuck to the same version. Intel intends to change all that by launching the Intel Reference Design Program for Android.

Intel_Reference_Design_for_AndroidYes, Intel has provided reference designs in the past, but this program goes further, especially with regards to Android support, and firmware updates.

This is the way it all works:

  1. Manufacturers can choose a set of pre-qualified components to build their Android device.
  2. Intel will provide a single Android image that works with the drivers to support all components.
  3. Intel will take care of GMS (Google Mobile Service), and CTS (pre-)certification for their customers.
  4. Intel has committed to provide updates within 2 weeks of an AOSP update, for 2-year post-device launch.

So if you buy a new tablet part of Intel Reference Design Program for Android, you won’t have to worry about firmware upgrades, and you should get an image based on the latest AOSP release on your device within 2 weeks of a release.

Usually “reference design” refers to a single hardware design that manufacturers can copy, but in this case, I understand Intel solution will allow for more flexibility in the design, as they’ll support several touchscreen panels, displays, sensors, etc…, and it will be up to the OEM/ODM to select the ones they want in their design.

Details of the program do not seem to be available online, and they’ll probably need to find a way to indicate which Intel tablets are compliant with the program, so that consumers know which devices are actually supported.

Via Liliputing

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Intel Unveils Broadwell-Y Core M Processors with 4.5W TDP: 5Y70m 5Y10 and 5Y10a

September 7th, 2014 5 comments

ARM still have an edge in terms of power efficiency, but Intel has historically had an edge when it comes to process technology, and the company has announced their first 14-nm processors with three Broadwell Core M SoCs. The new process will also help with power efficiency, as all processors have 4.5W TDP, and Intel claims a Core M laptop will deliver twice the compute performance, and seven times more graphics processing power compared to a 2010 laptop powered by a 18W Core i5 processor, while doubling the battery life. Compared to more recent 4th generation Intel Core “Haswell” CPU, the new chips are said to offer up to 50 percent faster CPU performance and 40 percent graphics on a performance-per-watt basis.

Intel_Core_M_Die_Map

The company reveals three Core-M processors: 5Y70, 5Y10, and 5Y10a, all dual core / quad thread processor with base frequencies between 800 and 1,100 MHz, and turbo frequencies between 2 and 2.6 GHz, as well as an an Intel HD 5300 GPU clocked at 800 or 850 MHz depending on the model. The differences between the three processors are listed in the table below (Source: Anandtech)

Intel Core M Specifications
Core M-5Y70 Core M-5Y10a Core M-5Y10
Cores / Threads 2 / 4 2 / 4 2 / 4
Base Frequency / MHz 1100 800 800
Turbo Frequency / MHz 2600 2000 2000
Processor Graphics HD 5300 HD 5300 HD 5300
IGP Base Frequency / MHz 100 100 100
IGP Turbo Frequency / MHz 850 800 800
L3 Cache 4 MB 4 MB 4 MB
TDP 4.5 W 4.5 W 4.5 W
LPDDR3/DDR3L Support 1600 MHz 1600 MHz 1600 MHz
Intel vPro Yes No No
Intel TXT Yes No No
Intel VT-d/VT-x Yes Yes Yes
Intel AES-NI Yes Yes Yes

5Y10 and 5Y10a are very similar (all specs are identical in the table above), but Anandtech reports one of Intel slides indicates that 5Y10 supports “4W Config Down TDP” (cTDP Down). The GPU will support DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.2, and OpenCL 2.0, support UHD resolution, and Intel Quick Sync Video, which should allow up to 1.7 hours extra battery life with a 35Whr battery compared to previous generations. If you want more technical information, you may want to visit Intel Core M page where you’ll find a product brief, and two datasheets.

Intel Core M processors will be found in thin (<9 mm), fanless 2-in-1 tablet/nodtebook hybrids and laptops that will be available later this year. Five companies have announced products with the latest low power chips by Intel: Acer (Aspire Switch 12), ASUS (Zenbook UX305), Dell (Latitude 13 7000 Series), HP (ENVY x2), and Lenovo (ThinkPad Helix). Since all three Core M SoCs have a price of $281 (1k order), they will only be found in high-end laptops or tablets, and all products aforementioned sells for around $1,000 or more. You can get a run-down of four of the devices on Liliputing.

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