Intel unveils new Atom chips for the Internet of Things

Intel is making an Internet of Things play with the launch of an update Atom chip that packs in double the compute power and boosts graphics performance by three times of its predecessor.

Intel’s Atom E3900 series is the next step up from the E3800 line, released in 2013. According to Ken Caviasca, vice president of Intel’s IoT group, the new family of chips has been tailor-made to meet the needs of today’s smart sensors and things.

It’s a “very targeted product,” Caviasca said in a blog post explaining the E3900 series’ focus on interoperability, scalability and security. The new processors have been designed to fit inside both devices and gateways, meaning sensors can both share data and also make sense of it at the “edge” of networks.

Intel also talked up the chip’s “time coordinated computing” abilities, which will ensure machines and sensors on a production line, for example, can work together in tandem. Intel’s Atom E3900 chips are also programmable, allowing for individual configuration of sensors – a necessity in today’s fast-moving, unpredictable IoT market.

Intel's new Atom E3900 series chips

Intel’s new Atom E3900 series chips

Caviasca highlighted three important sectors of the Industrial Internet market Intel is targeting with the new chips, including production lines, self-driving cars and imaging for cameras. As such, the chips support 4K video at 60Hz.

Intel has also beefed up security with intelligent features such as measured boot times, in which a device is flagged as possibly being compromised in the event it takes longer than normal to boot up. Other security features include new specifications for secure cryptoprocessors and video copy prevention.

Intel is offering three types of chips in the E3900 series. The chip series can also endure extreme temperates ranging from -40 to 80 degrees Celsius. The E3900s are a touch larger than the older E3800s, but this is compensated by offering 1.7 times the computing performance and 2.9 times the graphics performance.

Intel said the chips will ship in Q1 of 2017. Pricing details are yet to be released, but they will be in the “mid-to-high end,” Caviasca said.