With Intel finding itself inside most of the world's consumer PCs and enterprise servers, it's begun making a massive push on making sure its chips wind up in all other devices - those that most of us regular folk don't think about. We're talking "edge devices" and "fog computing" hardware.
"Edge devices" are those that connect all of our devices, so they can include routers, switches, and so forth. "Fog computing", by contrast, acts as decentralized resource management.
An example of fog computing can be seen in Windows 10, which has the ability to serve updates to other PCs in a household or business. It's "fog" because it hovers around the given area, rather than "cloud", which would require handshaking with a centralized server.
Both edge devices and fog computing are imperative to the efficient operation of future IoT devices, of which there are sure to be billions. It's clear that a smart brain is needed to manage all this, and that of course can be found in Intel's new Atom E3900 processor series.
While the name "Atom" might make you believe that these are petite little chips without much processing power, the E3900 series is anything but a grunt. In one example platform, an E3930 is paired with 8GB of memory, a 120GB Intel SSD, all running behind CentOS Linux. In another, an even higher-end E3950 runs Windows 10 Enterprise, also has 8GB of memory, along with a 120GB Samsung SSD 750 EVO. That chip in particular is powerful enough to run Futuremark's 3DMark, so it's clearly got some punch under its modest heatsink.
Ken Caviasca, Intel's VP of the company's IoT group says that the E3900 series is up to 1.7x faster than the previous generation, and that it will help pave the way for the future of IoT devices. "With these processors, Intel continues to offer the significant advantage of economies of scale in IoT technologies across sensors, compute and storage," he writes.
We're not sure when the first E3900-equipped products will hit the market, but by the looks of what's on tap, we can't wait for them to arrive.