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New Generation Intel® Atom™ Platforms Unveiled By Gary Chung, R&D, Advantech

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mbedded platforms have evolved from their use in traditional applications in factory equipment control to present day ubiquitous deployment. In addition to achieving the computing capabilities of full-sized computers, embedded platforms also enjoy enormous advantages such as being low-cost and having smaller footprints. In light of the ongoing and increasingly popular debate over energy conservation and carbon reduction, the power saving offered by embedded platforms is just one benefit among many. In order to maximize application performance while meeting energy efficiency requirements, power consumption has become the focal point of attention in the process of designing embedded platforms. As an undisputed leader in the global computer industry, Intel® has introduced the Atom™ line of microprocessors, which has not only helped to achieve the goal of reducing power consumption while being environmentally friendly, but has also enabled a new generation of high-performance computing capabilities. This has provided a much-needed boost to the industrial computer industry with respect to environmental issues. The Intel® Atom™ line of microprocessor products uses N2000 and D2000 as its platform name for 2011. A distinguishing feature of this generation of microprocessors is that it adapts itself to the actual usage habits of consumers. In terms of future application potential, Intel® Atom™ processor N2000 and D2000 series systems are better suited as solutions in the industrial computing domain and can reduce power consumption while improving performance. One can compare Intel® Atom™ platforms with its predecessor, the N455 and D525 series, in terms of specifications, power consumption and performance. The results show that Intel® Atom™ processor N2000 and D2000 systems have clear advantages, and the future potential of the products can truly be appreciated when demand in the industrial computer market is taken into consideration.

Comparison of Specifications The following block diagrams illustrate a comparison between the specifications of Intel® Atom™ processor N455 and D525 series with those of the N2000 and D2000 series:

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Technology Forum Block Diagram Comparison Previous Generation - Intel® Atom™ processor N455 and D525 series

CPU

New Generation - Intel® Atom™ processor N2000 and D2000 series

DDR2 DDR3

CPU HW Decode

VGA

IMC

GFX

LVDS

VGA HDMI DP

More Display Higher Performance

Display

GFX

IMC

Media

Display

DDR3

LVDS eDP

Improved Gfx Faster Memory

DMI

DMI

ICH8M

NM10

I/O

I/O

CPU SPECS Comparison

Platform Graphic SPEC and Feature Comparison

CPU SPECS

Previous Generation

New Generation

Graphics SPECS

Previous Generation

New Generation

Core Frequency

1.67 GHz (N455) 1.8 GHz (D525)

1.6 GHz (N2600) 1.86 GHz (N2800) 2.13 GHz (D2700)

Display Type

VGA, LVDS

VGA, LVDS, eDP, HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort

Process Technology / Package Size

Yes

32-nm / 22x22

Dual Independent Digital Display

No

45-nm / 22x22

AVC/ H.264 (Decode/Acceration)

SW (3rd Party Decoder)

HW

200 MHz (N455) 400 MHz (D525)

400 MHz (N2600) 640 MHz (N2800) 640 MHz (D2700)

VC1/ WMV9 (Decode/Acceration)

SW (3rd Party Decoder)

HW

PAVP (Content Protection)

N/A

1.1c

HDCP (Content Protection)

N/A

1.3

Graphics Base Frequency

Memory Technology

Max Memory Capacity

DDR3 667 (N455) DDR3 800 (D525)

DDR3 800 (N2600) DDR3 1066 (N2800) DDR3 1066 (D2700)

2 GB (N455) 4 GB (D525)

2 GB (N2600) 4 GB (N2800) 4 GB (D2700)

From the specifications based comparison, it can be seen that although the CPU clock speed has not increased significantly in latest Intel® Atom™ processor N2000 and D2000 platforms, the CPU fabrication process has been reduced from 45nm to 32nm, lowering power consumption requirements. The clock speed of the DDR3 memory has been raised to 1066 MHz to boost performance, and graphics specifications and image processing capabilities have also improved substantially. A number of additional display interfaces, such as LVDS, eDP, VGA, HDMI 1.3a and DP1.1 (see Figure 1) and a more advanced image processing instruction set, including DX10.1, HDCP and OGL3.0, are supported as well. The decoding of video and audio data such as H.264 and WMV9 are now carried out directly in the CPU hardware rather than via software emulation. This enhances image decompression capabilities and does not depend on

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extra system resources, which enables the CPU to achieve even higher levels of performance. Display Trail Display Configurations

Atom™ Core

Video Memory 2D/3D Graphics

Display:

VGA LVDS

Digital Connectors: Digital Port B (DDI0) Digital Port C (DDI1)

DP,HDMI/DVI DP, eDP HDMI/DVI


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Power Consumption Comparison The following tables compare the power consumption of the CPU and chipset in the previous generation of the Intel® Atom™ platform, N455 and D525 series, with that of the new one. Based on the power consumption comparison it can be seen that since the Intel CPU fabrication process has been reduced to 32nm, power consumption has decreased significantly. The improved energy efficiency results in lower heat Desktop Series

Mobile Series

Platform

Platform

Previous Generation

New Generation

CPU \ TDP

D525 \ 13W

D2700 \ 10W

CPU \ TDP

N455 \ 6.5W

N2600 \ 3.5W

N2800 \ 6.5W

Chipset \ TDP

ICH8M \ 2.4W

NM10 \ 1.5W

Chipset \ TDP

ICH8M \ 2.4W

NM10 \ 1.5W

NM10 \ 1.5W

Power kit \TDP

Power \ 7W

Power \ 4.2W

Power kit \TDP

Power \ 6W

Power \ 3W

Power \ 3W

Total

22.4W

15.7W

Total

14.9W

8W

11W

Component

Processor Performance

Graphic Performance

3.0

3.0

2.5

2.5

2.0

2.0

1.5

1.5

1.0

1.0

0.5

0.5

0.0

generation, as being fanless has become a standard feature in systems based on the Intel® Atom™ processors. However, due to the absence of fans, the cooling modules employed are larger than those that would be equipped on CPUs with fans since it is still necessary to address the issue of heat and to dissipate heat quickly from the CPU and chipset in order to maintain system stability. As a result, the latest generation of the Intel® Atom™ platform, which generates a smaller amount of heat, will lead to smaller and simpler cooling module designs.

SPECft*_rate _base2000

SPECint*_rate _base2000

0.0

3DMarkv1.2* 2006 Overall

Intel® Atom™ Processor D525

Intel® Atom™ Processor N455

Intel® Atom™ Processor D2700

Intel® Atom™ Processor N2600

3DMarkv1.2* 2006 CPU

Intel® Atom™ Processor N2800

Performance Comparison The simple comparison of CPU and graphics performance above shows that the new generation Intel® Atom™ N2000 and D2000 series platforms, have considerably improved CPU performance thanks to the new 32nm process and increased memory clock speed. The new processors have greatly enhanced graphics performance due to the more advanced instruction set and the ability to encode and decode audio/ video data within the chipset’s hardware directly without software emulation. When making comparisons based on specifications, power consumption and performance, it can be seen that the new generation Intel® Atom™ N2000 and D2000 platform systems have improved substantially in terms of reducing 3

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Component

Previous Generation

New Generation

power consumption and improving performance. And, the new specifications support a vastly upgraded graphics interface with better performance. All these factors contribute to the maximization of industrial computers in terms of product features and market segmentation, especially given Intel’s plans to terminate support for the LVDS display interface after 2013 and the CRT interface after 2015. Therefore, the specifications of the new Intel® Atom™ processors enable users to plan ahead to ensure the viability of their products in the future. Many different applications and solutions lend themselves to development across a variety of categories: ■ Handheld devices: The reduction in power consumption can significantly improve battery life and standby time, with the added bonus of enhanced performance. ■ Medical and EMBs: In addition to low power consumption and high computing performance, these systems require support for diverse display interfaces and top graphics performance in order to be able to display required realtime images faster and more accurately. ■ Point of Sale (POS): These are applications that require higher data transfer capacity without excessively high power consumption, and based on products currently available on the market, they also call for higher graphics performance and a wide variety of interface options to be able to meet application requirements. ■ Digital Signage: Support for high-end specifications in display and computing capability is required. The newest Intel® Atom™ processors provide support for advanced display options such as HDCP and Blu-Ray and perform impressively in terms of power consumption, plus the platform is ideal for applications in outdoor environments and harsh conditions.


Technology Forum There are is a wide variety of industrial computer products available; we have presented only a few representative industries that utilize industrial computers. From this, it can be seen that industrial computers clearly require products with even lower power consumption and more advanced graphic performance as well as the availability of a large number of display options. The latest generation of Intel® Atom™ processors, is very competitive and is well suited for all these industrial computer applications.

Advantech’s Latest Intel® Atom™ N2000 and D2000 Solutions Based on Intel® Atom™ N2600/N2800/D2700 dual core processors with Intel NM10, Advantech provides the following new products: ■ SOM-6765 COM-Express Compact Module SOM-6765 (95 x 95 mm) is Advantech’s recent COM-Express Compact module. This series upgrades the platform to dual core, with extremely low power design of approximately 6W. ■ SOM-7565 COM-Express Mini Module SOM-7565, Advantech’s new COM-Express Mini module (84 x 55 mm) compliant with COM R2.0 type 10-pin out, benefits from business card sized form factor to target the space limited handheld devices market.

SOM-7565

SOM-6765

■ AIMB-214 Mini-ITX Industrial Motherboard Designed as an ultra low-power, high graphic performance Mini-ITX industrial motherboard, AIMB-214 features intelligent performance, power efficiency, and integrated Intel® Graphics with DX9.0 support on a single chip solution, offering plenty of connectivity and expansion options, to provide a low total cost solution. ■ MIO-5250 MI/O-Compact Extension SBC MIO-5250 is powered by Intel® N2600/N2800/D2700 dual core processors with Intel® NM10, and DDR3 up to 4 GB. MIO-5250 features 24-bit LVDS1/ 48-bit LVDS2/ HDMI & VGA display capability. The core TDP is 5~12 Watts, in fanless design. MIO-5250 is equipped with flexible MIOe multiple I/O expansion, as well as design document & an evaluation board to help integrators design their own modules more efficiently. ■ MIO-2261 MI/O-Ultra Extension SBC MIO-2261 is an all-in-one, integrated, single board computer measuring only 100 x 72 mm. Designed with the Intel® Atom™ N2600/N2800 dual core processor, MIO-2261 integrates multiple I/O capabilities of: 2 x USB, 2 x COM, GPIO, I2C, SMbus, SATA, LAN, 1 x 18-bit LVDS, and 8-bit GPIO. MIO-2261 supports MI/O extension interface for flexible modular design.

MIO-2261

MIO-5250

AIMB-214

Form Factor

COM-Express Mini

COM-Express Compact

MI/O-Ultra

MI/O-Compact

Mini-ITX

Dimensions

84 x 55 mm

95 x 95 mm

100 x 72 mm

146 x 102 mm

170 x 170 mm

Processor

Intel® Atom™ N2600 1.6 GHz

Intel® Atom™ N2600 1.6 GHz

Intel® Atom™ N2600 1.6 GHz/N2800 1.86 GHz

Intel® Atom™ N2600 1.6 GHz/N2800 1.86 GHz

Intel® Atom™ N2600 1.6 GHz/N2800, 1.86 GHz /D2700 2.13 GHz dual core

Chipset

NM10

NM10

NM10

NM10

NM10

2 Intel GbE/ HD Audio/ 4 COM (2 x RS-232/422/485, 2 x RS-232)/ SATA/ SMBus/ 8-bit GPIO/ PCIe Mini Card w/ SIM holder CFast

2 Intel GbE/ HD Audio/ 6 COM (1 x RS-232/422/485, 5 x RS-232)/ SATA III/ 8-bit GPIO/ 6 USB/ mSATA/ CFast

I/O

SATA/ USB/ GbE/ Audio/ GPIO/ I2C/ Serial port

SATA/ PATA/ USB/ GbE/ Audio/ GPIO/ I2C

2 USB2.0/ 2 RS-232/ 8-bit GPIO/ VGA/ 24-bit LVDS/ 1GbE/ Audio/ SATAII/ SMbus/ I2C/ MIOe

Special Features

▪ On-board 2 GB DDR3 memory & 4 GB SSD ▪ HDMI/DVI/DP Interface ▪ iManager 2.0 ▪ COM R2.0 Type 10

▪ DDR3 memory up to 4 GB ▪ 2 DDI ports for HDMI/ DVI/DP Interface ▪ iManager 2.0 ▪ COM R2.0 Type 2

▪ ESD protection for RS232: Air gap ±15kV, Contact ±8Kv ▪ DC power hot plug design ▪ Optional Heat Spreader

▪ HDMI ▪ iManager ▪ MIOe flexibility expansion

▪ HDMI/LVDS/eDP interface ▪ DDR3 1066 up to 4 GB ▪ PCI/mini PCIe

Target Markets

▪ Handheld device ▪ IP media phones ▪ In-vehicle

▪ Point of sale ▪ Handheld devices ▪ Digital signage ▪ Gaming

▪ Small HMI ▪ Handheld devices ▪ Medical ▪ Intelligent home ▪ Automation

▪ Low power applications ▪ Automation ▪ Transportation ▪ Digital signage

▪ Kiosk ▪ Automation ▪ Transportation ▪ Digital signage

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Intel new atom platform  

http://www.advantech.com.tw/embcore/promotions/whitepaper/Intel_New_Atom_Platform.pdf