Intel has announced a version of its Atom processor that can be configured with custom circuitry, enabling vendors to easily add features such as I/O interfaces, the firm said.
Due to be available within 60 days, the new chip family, formerly codenamed Stellarton, combines an Atom E600 Tunnel Creek processor with a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) from Altera.
This FPGA has dedicated digital signal processor blocks and upwards of 60,000 logic elements, and can be programmed with Altera's Quartus II tools.
Properly known as the Intel Atom E600C processor series, the new chip family consists of the E665CT and E665C clocked at 1.3GHz, plus the E645CT and E645C at 1GHz. Low-power versions, the E625CT and E625C at 0.6GHz, are due in the first quarter of 2011.
The new chips will cost from $61 (£38) up to $106 (£66) in volume.
Intel said that the new Atoms provide greater flexibility and faster time-to-market for hardware vendors, enabling them to add a wide range of standard and user-defined I/O interfaces, high-speed connectivity, memory interfaces and other features to meet the evolving needs of embedded device market segments.
"Our customers' needs are continually evolving and they look to Intel to provide leading-edge products and technologies that will help them differentiate and compete in the markets they serve," said Doug Davis, vice president of Intel's Embedded and Communications Group.
The chips have a seven-year support lifecycle, and are expected to find a use in many markets, including IP telephony, programmable logic controllers, embedded computers, portable medical equipment, communications gear and industrial machinery.
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