Intel details chips designed for IoT and edge workloads

Intel today announced the launch of new products tailored to edge computing scenarios like digital signage, interactive kiosks, medical devices, and health care service robots. The 11th Gen Intel Core Processors, Atom x6000E Series, Pentium, Celeron N, and J Series bring new AI security, functional safety, and real-time capabilities to edge customers, the chipmaker says, laying the groundwork for innovative future applications.

Intel expects that the edge market will be a $65 billion silicon opportunity by 2024. The company’s own revenue in the space grew more than 20% to $9.5 billion in 2018, and according to a 2020 IDC report, up to 70% of all enterprises will process data at the edge within three years. To date, Intel claims to have cultivated an ecosystem of more than 1,200 partners including Accenture, Bosch, ExxonMobil, Philips, Verizon, and Viewsonic, with over 15,000 end customer deployments across “nearly every industry.”

The 11th Gen Core processors — which Intel previewed in early September — are enhanced for internet of things (IoT) use cases requiring high-speed processing, computer vision, and low-latency deterministic processing, the company says. They bring up to a 23% performance gain in single-threaded workloads, a 19% performance gain in multithreaded workloads, and up to a 2.95 times performance gain in graphics workloads versus the previous generation. And new dual video decode boxes allow the processors to ingest up to 40 simultaneous video streams at 1080p up to 30 frames per second and output four channels of 4K or two channels of 8K video.

According to Intel, the combination of 11th Gen’s SuperFin process improvements, miscellaneous architectural enhancements, and Intel’s OpenVINO software optimizations delivers up to 50% faster inferences per second compared with the previous 8th Gen processor using CPU mode or up to 90% faster inferences using the processors’ GPU-accelerated mode. (Intel says the 11th Gen Core i5 is up to 2 times faster in terms of inferences per second than an 8th Gen Core i5-8500 when running on just the CPU in each product.) AI inferencing algorithms can run on up to 96 graphic execution units (INT8) or run on the CPU with VNNI built in, an x86 extension that’s a part of Intel’s AVX-512 processor instruction set designed to accelerate convolutional neural network-based algorithms.

As for the Atom x6000E Series, Pentium, Celeron N, and J Series, Intel says they represent its first processor platform specifically enhanced for IoT. All four deliver up to 2 times better graphics performance, a dedicated real-time offload engine, enhanced I/O and storage, and the Intel Programmable Services Engine, which brings out-of-band and in-band remote device management. They also support 2.5GbE time-sensitive networking components and resolutions up to 4K at 60 frames per second on upwards of three displays, and they meet baseline safety requirements with built-in hardware-based security.

Intel says it already has 90 partners committed to delivering 11th Gen Core solutions and up to 100 partners locked in for the Intel Atom x6000E Series and Intel Pentium and Celeron N and J Series.

“11th Gen Intel Core Processors, Atom x6000E Series, Pentium, Celeron N, and J Series processors represent our most significant step forward yet in enhancements for IoT,” Intel VP John Healy said in a statement. “[They’re] bringing features that address our customers’ current needs while setting the foundation for capabilities with advancements in AI and 5G.”

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