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Intel Atom T5500 & T5700 Processors Architecture and (Estimated) Benchmarks

August 18th, 2016 5 comments

Intel announced their Joule Compute Module yesterday, but did not provide that many details about the new Intel Atom T5500 and T5700 processors used in the module. Liliputing got some more details with slides from an IDF16 presentation entitled “Accelerating Innovation With Next-Generation Intel® Atom™ Processor-Based Platform” that now require authentication for download, but we have the most important slide already starting with the block diagram.

Intel_Atom_T5500-T5700_Architecture

Intel Atom T5500 and T5700 SoC are both quad core Atom x7 processor, but they are based on Intel Goldmont architecture, as used in Celeron & Pentium Apollo Lake processor to be featured in laptop and mini PCs, and embed a newer 18EU Intel Gen9 graphics and media GPU with Quick Sync technology for 4K video encoding and decoding using H.265, H.264, and VP9/VP8 codecs. They also feature various peripherals and features that you’d expected in an IoT processor including:

  • a Sensor Hub processor
  • a Power management unit
  • HDMI video output, MIPI DSI display interface
  • I2S audio
  • USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports
  • PCI Express
  • I2C, UART, PWM, and GPIOs
  • Up to 6x MIPI CSI cameras
  • eMMC 5.0 and SDIO 3.0 storage support
  • LPDDR4 CoPoP memory

They did not integrated WiFi and Bluetooth inside the chip, but instead relying on the PCI Express interface to add wireless modules such as Intel WCS8270, and the USB 3.0 interface may be used to interface with the upcoming Intel Realsense ZR300 camera for 3D depth sensing.

Atom x5-Z8300 vs Atom T5700

Atom x5-Z8500 vs Atom T5700

While Intel Atom x5 processors are used in tablet and mini PCs, and the new Atom T5500/T5700 processors target high end IoT and robotics applications, the company still compared the performance of both processors, and T5700 is 41 to 56% faster in their estimation of the scores in three benchmarks (SPECint single & multi-threaded, and GFXbench 3.0 – T-Rex). For a given power budget, performance is also shown to be greater in T5x00 processors.

Prices will likely be significantly higher, as Intel probably left the mobile market due to razor thin margins, and while the technical specifications would allow Atom T5x00 processors to find their ways into tablets, 2-in-1 hybrid laptops, and mini PCs, this should not be expected.

Categories: Hardware, Intel Atom, Linux Tags: idf 2016, intel, IoT

Intel Unveils Joule Compute Module and Devkit for IoT based on Atom T5500 & T5700 Processors

August 17th, 2016 8 comments

As the Intel Developer Forum 2016 is now taking place in San Francisco, Intel has unveiled the Joule Compute Module and development kit targeting IoT applications. The module is not for low cost and low power sensor nodes however, as it features a powerful quad core Atom processor running at 1.5+ GHz, so it more suited to IoT gateways, or other application requiring lots of processing power to handle sensor data.

Intel-JouleTwo models of the Joule module have been introduced:

  • Intel Joule 570x platform
    • SoC – Intel Atom T5700 64-bit quad-core processor @ 1.7 GHz / 2.4 GHz (Burst frequency) with Intel HD Graphics with 4K video capture and display
    • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
    • Storage – 16GB eMMC memory
    • Connectivity – 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO and Bluetooth 4.1
    • Other interfaces –  USB 3.0, MPI CSI and DSI interfaces, and multiple GPIO, I2C, UART interfaces
  • Intel Joule 550x platform
    • SoC – Intel Atom T5500 64-bit quad-core processor @ 1.5 GHz with Intel HD Graphics with 4K video capture and display
    • System Memory – 3GB LPDDR4 RAM
    • Storage – 8GB eMMC memory
    • Connectivity – 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO and Bluetooth 4.1
    • Other interfaces –  USB 3.0, MPI CSI and DSI interfaces, and multiple GPIO, I2C, UART interfaces

Both modules run Ostro Linux-based OS – built with the Yocto Project – tailored for IoT and smart devices, and support Intel RealSense cameras and libraries. Intel also mentions that “Developers can choose to develop on Ubuntu/Ubuntu Core (Snappy) or Microsoft Windows 10 IoT Core”.

The modules are already used to develop several products and demos including PivotHead smart glasses used by Airbus for quality control, Vstone bartending robot featuring a RealSense camera to track a person’s face, Eyelights highway patrol motorcycle helmet display used to read license plates, Microsoft Bamboo robotic companion to help parents of children with diabetes, Canonical robots to demonstrate Ubuntu Core and the Robot Operating System (ROS), as well as Gumstix custom carrier boards for Joule Compute Module.

Intel_Joule_570x_Development_Board

Intel will offer a developer kit for each version of the Joule module, but currently on Joule 570x developer kit can be purchased through partners such as Mouser and Newegg for $370, and Joule 550x devkit will be launched on Q4 2016.

Joule 570x devkit specifications:

  • Joule module based on Intel Atom T5700 processor with 4GB RAM (PoP), 16GB storage, 2x 100-pin connectors
  • Storage – micro SD slot
  • Video Output – micro HDMI port
  • USB – 1 x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 3.0 type C OTG port
  • Camera – 2x 4-Lane MIPI CSI Connectors
  • Expansion – 2x 40 pin females header with 3.3V (5V tolerant) signals for I2S, digital microphone, PCIe, I2C, RTC, SPI, SDIO, UART, PWM, GPIOs, MIPI DSI…
  • Debugging – 1x micro USB port for serial console
  • Power – 12V via Power barrel
  • Dimensions – Joule module: 48 x 24mm

Beside the board and module, the kit includes a micro-SD card, a type-A to type-C micro USB cable, two Wi-Fi antennas, and a heatsink and fastener. The board will run Ostro OS with Linux 4.4 and application framework for Node.js, Python, and C/C++ applications. The “BIOS” will be an open source UEFI implementation. Software development tools include Intel XDK IoT Edition and Intel System Studio IoT Edition, Intel RealSense API support, and Intel IoT Developer Kit.

While you can get the devkit right now, Intel Joule 570x and 550x platforms will only become broadly available in Q4 2016 at an undisclosed price. They will be available is over 100 countries by the end of Q4 including the United States, Canada, Japan and most of Europe. More details can be found on Intel Joule IDF page.

Intel Smartwatches are Hot! So Hot, They May Burn Your Skin

August 5th, 2016 2 comments

Low power in constrained spaces is a tricky business, even for ARM based SoCs with the Qualcomm 810 overheating saga a few months ago. Now it’s time for Intel to feel the heat, as the company has has to recall Basis Peak smartwatches / fitness trackers due to potential overheating causing skin burns.

Intel_SmartwatchJosh Walden – senior vice president and general manager of the New Technology Group at Intel Corporation – stated:

On behalf of the Basis Science team, I want to personally apologise for this situation, we know that many of you love using your Basis Peak watches and have made them part of your daily lives, and we are very sorry for the disruption this will cause you, we had hoped to update the software on your watch to address the problem, unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we aren’t able to develop such a solution without completely compromising the experience.

The watch sold for $234 in the US and €244 in Europe, and Intel will offer a full refund to customers.

Interestingly enough, the watch was not based on one of Intel low power processors, but Silicon Labs  EFM32 Wonder Gecko ARM Cortex-M4 MCU, which should be features in many other designs, so the overheating issue was likely caused by the overall system design, rather than the MCU itself.

Via Electronics Weekly

Ubuntu 16.04.1 ISO Images Released for Intel Atom Bay Trail & Cherry Trail Compute Sticks

August 4th, 2016 10 comments

Canonical has recently released Ubuntu 16.04.1, which is now considered stable enough to update from Ubuntu 14.04.04 LTS, and while I could do that easily on my main machine using update-manager, upgrading to Ubuntu 16.04 on Intel Atom “Bay Trail” and “Cherry Trail” devices is a bit more complicated if you need audio & wireless networking (WiFi/Bluetooth) support since the kernel needs to be patched, and on top of that recent Linux kernels are not stable on such platforms without some extra hacks.

Ubuntu_16.04.1_Compute_StickLinuxium has done all the hard work, and created Ubuntu 16.04.1 ISO images for Intel Atom Compute Sticks with working audio, WiFi, Bluetooth, and “C-state” patchsets to avoid freezes. The images may also work on other devices, but this has not been tested so far.

If you want to give it a try, you can download ubuntu-16.04.1-desktop-linuxium-ics.iso, and flash it to a USB drive with Rufus (Windows) or dd (Linux) just like any other Ubuntu ISO images.

If you prefer different or more lightweight distributions, you’ll find Lubuntu 16.04.1, Xubuntu 16.04.1, Kubuntu 16.04.1, Ubuntu Gnome 16.04.1, and Ubuntu MATE 16.04.1 on Linuxium website.

Intel Atom C3000 “Denverton” Processor Targets Low Power Servers

July 16th, 2016 4 comments

Intel Atom “Avoton” server processors are the equivalent of Bay Trail processor for mini PCs, laptops and tablets, and with the upcoming release of Apollo Lake processors, Intel has a matching family codenamed “Denverton” that will be used in servers and NAS. Information about the new processors is scarce, but Anandtech spotted an early Gigabyte motherboard prototype last month at Computex.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Gigabyte MA10-ST0 motherboard main specifications:Intel_Atom_C3000

  • SoC – Intel Atom C3000 “Denverton” processor with 4 to 16 cores @ 1.8 GHz; QKP2 code; 14nm process
  • System Memory – 4x RDIMM/UDIMM slots for DDR4 @ 2400 MHz
  • Storage – 4x SATA 3.0 breakout ports supporting up to 16 drives (8x shared with PCIe slot); 32GB eMMC flash
  • Video Output – VGA
  • Connectivity – 2x 10GbE SFP+ ports; 2x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 ports (via Intel I210); 1x extra RJ45 port (for management?)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Expansion – 1x PCIe 3.0 x8 slot
  • Misc – Aspeed AST2400 board management controller
  • Power Supply – ATX connector
  • Dimensions – 170 x 170 mm (Mini-ITX form factor)

SATA_Breakout_port_Atom_C3000_Motherboard

Intel Atom “Denverton” single core performance is expected to be slightly better than Avoton, but the power consumption should be quite lower be core.

Anandtech expects more information including specifications and pricing at IDF (Intel Developer Forum) next month, or possibly at SC16 in November.

Intel Apollo Lake NUC6CAYS & NUC6CAYH NUC mini PCs Specifications Released

July 15th, 2016 16 comments

Intel Apollo Lake is the next generation of low power processor family that should replace Braswell Celeron processors, and Fanlesstech got hold of the specifications for two upcoming “Arches Canyon” NUC6CAYS and NUC6CAYH NUCs (Next Unit of Computing) mini PCs based on the processors, as well as the 2016-2018 roadmap for the complete (consumer grade) Intel NUC family.

Intel_Apollo_Lake_mini_PCThe only differences between the two models are that NUC6CAYH is a barebone model without memory or storage, nor operating system. So I’ll just list NUC6CAYS specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Celeron Jxxx quad core processor @ x GHz to y GHz (burst) with Intel HD graphics up to z MHz (10W TDP)
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3L-xxxx SO-DIMM (dual channel), upgradeable up to 8GB DDR3L-1866
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC flash, 2.5″ SATA3 bay for 9.5mm hard drives, SDXC slot with UHS-I support
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 (4K @ 60 Hz), VGA
  • Audio – Up to 7.1 channels via HDMI, 3.5mm headset jack, 3.5mm rear speaker/TOSLINK combo jacl
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45), Intel Wireless AC-316x M.2 module for 802.11ac 1×1 WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 with internal antennas
  • USB – 2x front USB 3.0 ports at the front (yellow one for charging), 2x rear USB 3.0 ports, 2x internal USB 2.0 ports via header
  • Misc – IR receiver, Kensington lock
  • Power Supply – 12~19V DC input (65W wall-wart power supply included)
  • Dimensions – 115 x 111 x 51 (plastic casing with inner metal structure)

Intel_Apollo_Lake_NUCNUC6AYS will include Windows 10 Home x64 and Intel Remote Keyboard. Other features include multi-color front panel LED light ring, built-in dual array microphones, VESA mounting plate, front-panel and AUX_PWR internal headers. The NUCs will come with a 3 year warranty. Intel does not appear ready to give the complete SKU and operating frequency of the processors, but the good news is that Apollo Lake will be the first low power Intel processors to support HDMI 2.0 allowing for 4K output at 60 Hz.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The 2016-2018 NUC roadmap above was also “leaked” with more powerful Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 NUCs. The first Apollo Lake NUC will be released in Q4 2016 with Windows 10, and the barebone version in Q1 2017.

Intel Atom x7-Z8700 (Cherry Trail) vs Intel Celeron N3150 (Braswell) Benchmarks Comparison

June 6th, 2016 5 comments

Intel tend to release lots of processors, and it’s not also clear how they perform against each others, but generally the rank from slowest to highest goes something like Atom < Celeron < Pentium < Core M < Core i3 < Core i5 < Core i7. Recently, I’ve seen and reviewed a few low power Intel Atom x7-Z8700 “Cherry Trail” and Intel Celeron N3150 “Braswell” mini PCs, both quad core processors @ 1.6 GHz (base), and I could not find much differences between the two during use.

Atom_x7-z8700_vs_Celeron_N3150

So to have a clear and objective view of the relative performance of the two processors, I’ve compared the results I got with Intel Atom x7-Z8700 based Beelink BT7 mini PC to the ones I got with MINIX NGC-1 mini PC powered by Celeron N3150 processor in the table below. Both machines have been designed quite well (good heat dissipation) and with storage devices having similar performance. A ratio greater than one (green) means the Celeron processor is faster, and if it is lower than one (red) the Atom processor prevails.

Benchmark Beelink BT7
Intel Atom x7-Z8700 @ 1.6 GHz / 2.48 Ghz (Turbo)
MINIX NGC-1
Intel Celeron N3150 @ 1.6 GHz / 2.08 GHz (Turbo)
Ratio
PCMark 8 Accelerated
Overall Score 1,509 1,492 0.99
Web Browsing – JunglePin 0.59309s 0.63426s 0.94
Web Browsing – Amazonia 0.19451s 0.2141s 0.91
Writing 8.53975s 9.3966s 0.91
Casual Gaming 7.96 fps 9.7 fps 1.22
Video Chat playback 29.99 fps 30.01 fps 1.00
Video Chat encoding 301 ms 193.333 ms 1.56
Photo Editing 0.65544s 0.81038s 0.81
Passmark 8
Passmark Rating 846 781.9 0.92
3DMark
Ice Storm 1.2 23,999 23,032 0.96
Cloud Gate 1.1 2,185 1,961 0.90
Sky Diver 1.0 1,131 1,108 0.98
Fire Strike 276 258 0.93

So in the end, both processors have a very close performance, except for video chat encoding where the Atom processor is about 56% slower than the Celeron processor. The Atom’s 16 EU GPU @ 200/600 MHz is faster than the Celeron’s 12 EU GPU @ 300/640 MHz in most case, but only marginally. Both SoCs are capable of decoding 4K videos with H.264 and H.265 video codecs. Systems based on the Intel Axom x7-Z8700 processor could consume less electricity as Atom x7 has a 2W SDP, while Celeron N3150 a 4W SDP, but the  power consumption of a complete mini PC also depends on its overall design.

So there seems to be very little to gain by purchasing a system with Celeron N3150 “Braswell” processor  over one with a Atom x7 “Cherry Trail processor, if a mini PC matches your requirements. One noticeable advantage of Braswell processors should be Linux support with the default/standard ISO images, while Atom x7 systems currently require community hacked ISO images for support of features such as HDMI audio, WiFi and Bluetooth. You can also find a side-by-side comparison of the features of the two processor on Intel website.

Intel Cancels Low Cost Atom Broxton & SoFia SoCs

April 30th, 2016 11 comments

Intel has recently announced it would lay off 11% of its workforce, and has now decided to kill plans for Atom Broxton, successor of Intel Cherry Trail processor, as well as low cost SoFia smartphone SoCs. That’s not really surprising as Intel was reported to have very small margins, or even to subsidy, low cost Intel based smartphones, and mini PCs. Rockchip/Intel Sofia SoC has never been popular with only a handful of smartphones and tablets launched in the last year.

Intel_Atom_Broxton_Sofia_KilledNevertheless, we’ve had it good with $70 Bay Trail TV sticks, and $85 Cherry Trail mini PCs, and Intel is still manufacturing and selling those parts. But in the future, it might not be possible to buy sub $100 mini PCs or tablets with the latest Intel processors, as the company is now focusing on higher margin processors with Intel Core M and Apollo Lake (succeeding Braswell).

More details and in-depth analysis of the announcement can be found on Liliputing and Anandtech.

Categories: Intel Atom Tags: intel, smartphone, sofia