Intel is planning a new 18-core Xeon D-2100 processor intended to bring high-performance compute power to devices that sit on the 'edge of the network', from routers and remote servers to Internet of Things (IoT) systems and connected cars.
Intel claims that the Xeon D-2100 will be ideal for optimising cloud workloads and storage, bringing better content delivery to networks for streaming media and large files, and improving overall enterprise network performance.
"The Intel Xeon D-2100 processor allows service providers and enterprises to deliver the maximum amount of compute intelligence at the edge or web tier while expending the least power," said Sandra Rivera, general manager of the network platforms group at Intel.
The central aspect of the Xeon D-2100 is the idea of bringing "compute intelligence" to devices sitting on the edges of networks.
Connected cars and self-driving systems need powerful CPUs to crunch data and make decisions in real-time to execute, for example, emergency brakes.
Intel CPUs can already be found in vehicles, but the self-driving aspects tend to be dominated by Nvidia with its Drive PX and Pegasus tech.
Alternatively, the Xeon chip could find its way into smart home systems that can deliver their intelligent functions without relying on internet connections, as bringing 18 cores to bear on tasks such as natural language processing means demanding tasks can be computed locally - albeit with a cost in terms of power consumption.
Equally, though, there will be big question marks over the cost, given the price-sensitive nature of most embedded applications. Intel has yet to reveal pricing for the Xeon D-2100 and there's a chance it could be too expensive for developers and companies to even experiment with, let alone take to production in new products.
However, Intel has promised that the new CPU won't be available without built-in protection against the Meltdown and Spectre flaws, so it will still be some months before the chip sees the light of day.
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