Intel chip launch targets robots, cars and TV

The company has integrated most of the non-memory chips of a PC into a single processor, hoping to capture the net-connected device market

Intel has announced the first of its new range of System on Chip (SoC) devices, which will combine most of an x86-based computer on a single chip.

Based around the Pentium M core, the EP80579 also contains a memory controller, gigabit Ethernet, Sata, USB and other standard PC interfaces. Optionally, it can also include a Security Services Unit with trusted platform and encryption functions.

Available in eight variants with speeds between 600MHz and 1.2 GHZ and power consumption between 11.5 and 21 watts, the chip is intended for use in embedded, internet-connected systems such as cars, robotic devices and set-top boxes.

Intel claims the chip uses 34 percent less power and takes up 45 percent less space than designs based on existing individual processor, interface and controller chips.

The company says it has 15 further SoC projects in the pipeline, many of which will centre on the recently unveiled, very low-power Atom core.

Intel plans to launch chips code-named Canmore later this year and Sodaville in 2009 for internet-to-TV integration, while 2009 or 2010 will see Lincroft, which is projected to need less than a tenth of the idle power of existing platforms. That will include its own graphics processor unit and be part of Moorestown, the first of Intel's Ultra Mobile Platforms (UMPs) aimed at mobile phones.