January/February 2016 - page 40

February 2016
& M
lifting Skylake into the cloud
By Daniel Piper,
ADLINK Technology
Omnipresent Internet of Things (IoT)
and Industry 4.0 trends are creating
increasing demand among engineers
for cloud-based services.
New sixth-generation Intel Core
COM Express Computer-on-Modules
by ADLINK come with exactly
the right features to
fulfill these demands.
The launch of the new sixth-generation Intel
Core processors (formerly Skylake) comes at
a time when the IoT and Industry 4.0 trends
are dramatically changing the way we design
embedded and industrial-grade devices. No
longer just the device itself is in the user focus
but also – and sometimes even more impor-
tantly – the services that are provided along
with the devices. Consequently, the race is on
for engineers to implement services into their
offerings. Intelligent services often require
connection to a back end server or a cloud
environment. And a back end server or a
cloud for distributed devices need local gate-
way technologies to connect the devices. In
turn these gateway technologies call for local
connectivity, communication and security
features that have to be handled by the gate-
way and/or the device processor. Thus, more
local intelligence and bandwidth is required.
How do the new sixth-generation Intel Core
processors cater for this new era of connected
It is not only the increased CPU speed and
up to triple the video performance for up to
three Ultra-HD or 4k displays that set this
new technology apart. Major improvements
are also secured by the new DDR4 sup-
port - compared to DDR3 memory DDR4
reduces overall power consumption and
enhances the overall performance with two
major improvements. Firstly, it offers higher
memory frequencies for faster data trans-
fers and, secondly, the memory capacity has
been doubled. Using new DDR4 modules the
COM-Express modules can now support 32
gigabytes of memory - an important feature
for both virtualized operating systems with
need for more memory, and for space-re-
stricted systems with increased density as
well as limited power consumption. DDR4
support eliminates the bottleneck of designs
with two memory sockets which is standard
on COM Express-based Computer-on-Mod-
ules. Furthermore, the new processors feature
more high-speed I/Os to cater for the heavy
big data demands common to complex IoT
and Industry 4.0 applications.
Additionally, hardware-accelerated, CPU off-
loading AES encryption technologies and
other security features, which are crucial to
IoT-connected devices, have been enhanced.
Processor-integrated technologies such as
Intel Boot Guard, Intel Secure Guard Exten-
sions and Intel Memory Protection Exten-
sions, for example, help prevent system threats
from malware, protect sensitive data from
rogue software and prevent malicious attacks
using buffer overflows. The configurable
Thermal Design Power (cTDP) is also new.
This enables enhanced control of embedded
devices thermal behavior. Normally designers
had to adjust the physical design and/or appli-
cation to the thermal design characteristics of
the chosen CPU, with cTDP they now have a
method to reduce the TDP of the processor to
better fit with the design constraints. This is
a key element especially for passively cooled
– also named fanless – designs. Depending on
the CPU it is now possible to leverage proces-
sors of the Intel Core-i7/5/3 family with 10W
or 7.5W cTDP. At the same time, designers
can now access the maximum processor per-
formance by carefully configuring the proces-
sor heat dissipation to the capabilities of the
system design.
Embedded designers will also appreciate the
JTAG over USB 3.0 support, which allows
chip-level debugging without the need for
direct access to the processor. All these fea-
tures make the sixth-generation Intel Core
processors the right choice for a whole range
of new embedded and IoT-connected devices
in vertical markets such as medical, industrial,
transportation, digital signage and profes-
sional gaming machines.
For designing space- and TDP-restricted,
fanless small form factor systems requiring
high performance Intel Core i3/5/7 proces-
sors with dedicated interfaces, COM Express
Computer-on-Modules offer the right tech-
nology platform. They are standardized, small
Figure 1. Sixth-generation Intel
Core processor-based ADLINK
COM Express modules come
along with SEMA Cloud
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