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Intel Galileo Puts Quark X1000 on Arduino boards


Today Intel together with Arduino announced the Intel Galileo development board, the first product featuring the Quark SoC first introduced at this years IDF opening Keynote in San Francisco a few weeks ago. During the announcement Massimo Banzi, co-founder of Arduino, welcomed Brian Krzanich on stage during the Maker Faire Rome opening conference which signifies the importance of this announcement for Intel.

The Quark X1000 powering the system is a single-core 32-bit Pentium-ISA compatible system on a chip. This information was already available from Intel around IDF, as we were able to confirm with no less than Diane Bryant, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Datacenter and Connected Systems Group, the group also responsible for Quark. Now through the Intel Galileo datasheet additional details emerge.

According to this the Quark X1000 will be clocked at 400MHz with the option to run at 200MHz and 100MHz to conserve power. The clock speed is set at boot time, the processor doesn’t support p-states. It features a 16KB shared data/instruction L1 cache that is accompanied by 512KB on-die eSRAM that can be used to overlay portions of the RAM for faster access. Speaking of RAM, the Quark integrates a 16-bit DDR3 memory controller supporting 400MHz (DDR3-800) operation, with capacities ranging from 128MB to 2GB. The Galileo comes with 256MB soldered to the board. Effectively this means it got a 1.6GB/s bandwidth at it’s disposal, which compares to single-channel DDR200 on typical 64-bit per DIMM memories on the PC side. Given the cache-design and some of it’s internal properties, the core is more like the ancient i486 than a descendant of the P5 line such as Atom processors prior to the

On the SoC side of things the Quark X1000 integrates a 10/100 Ethernet MAC, both a host and a client USB 2.0 interface and a PCI Express 2.0 mPCIe interface. Internally the Quark X1000 would have another PCIe x1 root poort that doesn’t seem to be used on the Intel Galileo. 8MB of legacy SPI NOR flash memory houses the firmware which consists of a bootloader and a Linux kernel. There is also up to 512KB dedicated to store sketches for development. If additional storage is required an SD interface can connect SD cards up to 32GB. Furthermore a high-speed UART, RS-232 and JTAG interfaces are available for aspiring developers. The whole SoC comes in at a 1.9 ? 2.2W TDP, depending on the voltage regulation. As always the actual power consumption should be considerably lower than that in most realistic operating scenarios. The chip is currently built on the 32nm process node.

As usually the Intel Galileo board design will be released under an open source license, specifically CC BY-SA. While using a vastly different chip, the board is compatible with previous Arduino boards which used Atmega microcontrollers from ATmel. The development board will be available starting November 29th. Intel is giving away 50,000 of these boards to 1000 universities worldwide to incentivize development and support education.

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