Intel Core GEN 7 processors – a fresh breeze for embedded systems

Kaby Lake captured the embedded world quickly. The first board-level products were introduced in parallel to the launch of the processor family, and just a couple weeks later at the Embedded World trade show almost every manufacturer had it on table. From there, it was only a short way to the systems on offer now.


By Peter Ahne, Portwell                     Download PDF version of this article


Almost 13 years ago Intel launched the Pentium M and made the transition from the pure hunt for more performance by constantly rising the clock frequency as it used to be in the days of the Pentium X processors, to the age of less power consumption. In 2006, the Tick-Tock model with its continuously improved production technology was announced – every Tick represented a fabrication process with a new die shrink. Every Tock delivered an update of the processor architecture. In alternating cycles, this represents the long-established Tick-Tock Model, standing for a new microarchitecture. Back then, some may have asked themselves; “When will Intel with Tick hit the physical limits?”

The answer is ten years. Intel engineers meanwhile needed a significant slowdown in the frequency of “shrink” processes. In order to make this possible, a so-called refresh instead of a Tick, was established. Refresh means that production technology and microarchitecture remain the same, while an internal improvement of the processor leads to an increase in performance. Additionally, there may be a new graphics engine or any other add-ons which contribute to this performance increase. This new development process is called PAO: Process–Architecture–Optimization. For many of us, the introduction of this new model has raised the question: “Does it make sense to take this step?” One thing is clear: the Intel Core i7-7700 offers sufficient computing power for most users. Improvements can be found in the details. Hence the Kaby Lake processors clearly stand out from their preceding Skylake through an optimized production process and a correspondingly faster basic clock frequency. As a consequence, in terms of working speed, the i7-7700 gains an edge over the previous Sky Lake i7-6700 - even though the gap is relatively small. The improvements in energy efficiency, the new graphics engine and the support of a new data storage technology, make the essential differences. All these relatively small improvements add up to a great leap forward.

Same as with the 6th generation, the Embedded Community is able choose from a wide range of 17 processors. Again, Intel Celeron provides a vast variety for price-sensitive and less demanding applications, from the i3, i5, i7 up to Xeon, on the shelves. As there have not been any major changes in basic architecture, compared to the 6th generation, there should not be any surprises in terms of production and availability of the Atom Family latest offspring. Any Windows applications, however, which have not yet migrated to Windows 10, will stay behind with the 7th generation of core processors. It is not to be expected that Intel will go further with Kaby Lake to integrate Windows 7 and 8.1 in the list of supported operating systems. But what are the technical innovations and what is the good in them?

Close to its predecessor and quickly on the shelves – boar- level products based on Kaby Lake

 

Processor: as already mentioned, the improvements in production process and architecture do only have a small impact. Compared to its predecessors, the power loss was frozen and decreased minimally. The computing performance will now be 5 to 10% higher in range, depending on the processor and, in particular, on the application.

New graphic: significantly more has changed in terms of graphic. In general, and with only a few exceptions, Kaby Lake comes with the new Intel HD 630 graphics. This guarantees a smooth playback of video and image material in ultra-high-resolution (3840x2160 pixels) without judders. Kaby Lake hardware with 630 graphics support the HEVC standard with 10 bits as well as the competing VP9 format. Regarding graphics performance, there should be a performance boost up to 65% as well as improved color depth and quality.

Innovation in storage technology: with the introduction of Kaby Lake, Intel provides a memory technology that promises new standards in data throughput. The new Optane technology has to be differentiated in Optane Memory and Optane SSD. SSDs with Optane technology should be working on all current platforms, whereas for Optane memory, a Z270 platform is required - Intel has established a corresponding logo, which can be used by mainboard manufacturers, providing that at least one M.2 connector is available. Speaking of storage technology: good old DDR3 may survive with Kaby Lake, as the integrated storage controller supports both the current DDR4 (up to 2,400 MHz, with Sky Lake still 2,133 MHz) and the old DDR3L standard (maximum 1,600 MHz).


Related


Tackling the challenges of IoT device development

This article describes the ARIS (Arrow Renesas IoT Synergy) development platforms, which leverage the Renesas Synergy framework and address the specific needs of IoT device developers in ways that...

Embedded modules simplify processor integration

This article presents the advantages provided by the new TI Sitara AM572x processor integrated in the modules offered by Phytec. By Florian Gross, Texas Instruments and Ralf Orschau, Phytec&nb...

Cooling Options for PET and SPECT Scanners

Thermal management of medical imaging systems is more challenging than ever. Given the complexity of some PET and SPECT systems, the use of a custom designed liquid cooling systems with plug-and-play ...

 


Infineon launches a new family of configurable industrial drive boards

In this video Infineon explains their new family of configurable industrial drive boards at SPS-IPC Drives 2017. Intended to enable easy setup and deployment, the XMC-based automation boards can handl...


STMicro explains their STSPIN family of single-chip motor drivers

In this video STMicroelectronics explains their STSPIN single-chip motor drivers at SPS-IPC Drives 2017. The STSPIN family embeds can drive motors efficiently and with high accuracy, with an advanced ...


Taking SiC Mainstream: The Story of Littelfuse Power Semiconductors

Since 1964, Littelfuse has brought its legacy of stability and reliability in circuit protection to the power semiconductor space. Now, the company is pioneering a series of in-house technology breakt...


Intel and Wind River Lead Technology Innovation Delivering Resilient and Secure Functional Safety Solutions

Together, industry leaders Wind River and Intel are delivering innovative Industrial IEC 61508 functional safety certification solutions that reduce project risk. A holistic approach is used to combin...


Wind River Titanium Control Advances Industrial IoT

Gareth Noyes, Chief Strategy Officer at Wind River introduces Wind River Titanium Control, a software platform that enables critical infrastructure companies to cost-effectively evolve aging legacy co...


WSI's OLED Professional innovations create more value for You.

WSI are the PMOLED manufacturer and our factory located in Chun-Nan in Taiwan. Our products are the market leader and pioneer in PMOLED module, including the monochrome, area colors and full color one...


SKIPPER UBT21 - a Bluetooth 4.0 USB serial adapter for industrial and medical use

SKIPPER UBT21 is a Bluetooth 4.0 USB serial adapter for industrial and medical use. It incorporates a Bluetooth Dual-Mode Stack, supports ranges of up to 300 meters and transferrates of 720 kbit/s (ne...


Three of a kind - Versatility based on Low Power ARM Cortex-A15

At this year's Embedded World, MEN has presented three low power, ARM Cortex-A15-based solutions on different form factors: a VMEbus SBC, an industrial box PC and a COM Express Mini module. All so...


Enabling Embedded IoT

Eurotech, a long-time leading provider of embedded systems and a global leader in IoT enablement, showed its new modules and Multi-service IoT Gateways at Embedded World 2017. The newly introduced Eu...


PLS’ UDE and new UAD2next allow more powerful trace analysis of embedded multicore systems

The new Universal Debug Engine 4.8 from PLS Development Tools offers a bunch of new and improved features for trace analysis of embedded multicore systems. With the new access device UAD2next PLS cont...


Disruptive technologies

Rahman Jamal, Global Technology & Marketing Director, National Instruments, talks about disruptive technologies in the consumer world, but also in measurement, automation, and the embedded industr...


AdaCore Announces Availability of QGen Debugger at Embedded World 2017

Jose Ruiz, technical lead at AdaCore for the company's QGen automatic code generator toolset for model-based development, discusses that product and explains what differentiates it from other prod...


SECO IoT roadmap: from the proof of concept to the market

During Embedded World 2017 Gianluca Venere, SECO Director of Global Sales, leads us to discover the company's Industrial IoT roadmap showcased at SECO's main booth, along with the latest UDOO ...


Internet of Chocolate

HCC show off an embedded chocolate vending machine using MQTT to connect to a broker in the cloud. There is an important message behind this cool demo – security and reliability of embedded soft...