The Intel Quark microcontroller: Why an x86 is the right stuff for the IoT

The Intel Quark microcontroller: Why an x86 is the right stuff for the IoT: It seems every semiconductor today has internet of thing (IoT) of the microcontroller solutions. We have seen from the core supplier’s usually low power, high performance, and highly integrated microcontrollers specifications, but when Intel announced it was re-entering the microcontroller business using 32 bit x86 MCU to internet.

The x86-based Intel Quark microcontroller D2000

Line of latest Intel Quark brand microcontrollers D2000. It uses a kernel based on singe threaded i486 registers, then add six Intel Pentium optimization instruction resulting a 32 bit Pentium compatible instruction set architecture (ISA) without SMD or x87 floating point support. Actually has a surprising feature Pentium instruction set, making it ideal embedded code such as a single cycle 32x 32 multiply, and some test instruction, there are some very complicated instruction such as “logical AND bit by bit and NOT”.Intel Quark microcontroller D2000 block diagram

The Pentium’s mature ecosystem

By selecting instruction set compatible with Pentium, Intel has quark processor core with a large number of Pentium compatible compilers, code optimization more mature than ARM development ecosystem. It also allow access to large library to Pentium-ISA-compatible code, can easily be ported to Intel Quark microcontroller. Thread X small size Zephyr are two popular RTOS package, can easily be applied to Intel Quark microcontroller. There are many available traditional RTOS can be tested in 30 years ago, validation and manufacturing can run without flaws, Quark Intel processor core include a block of memory protection, internal AHB Bus interface, JTAG port, wake the controller and interrupt control unit (ICU). For the Quark band D2000 calculated the edge of small sensor power supply, these power figures can lead to 9V Lithium battery life nearly 2 years.Intel Quark microcontroller D2000 developemnt board

Connect it to a 32KB of Flash program memory of 8K bytes of SRAM, 8K bytes of Flash I divided into two 4KB groups can be used for data storage. It can be processed like EPROM or it can be one or two 4KB groups were set up for one-time programmable (OTP). For fault tolerant IoT applications, microcontroller to determine Intel Quark for instance the wireless sensor Hub connections is lost and you need to save data locally on the key sensor. Intel brand with Quark D2000 Development Board (Figure2) in a cost effective environment offers a variety of powerful features. It includes a 6-axis accelerometer with 12-bit resolution, 3 axis geomagnetic sensor and a temperature sensor. It includes Arduino for extension compatible with shielded connector and a CR2032 co in cell battery holders, to low power event driven application for board power supply for several months. Intel Quark microcontroller code is built with Intel system studio for microcontrollers (Figure 3).This code development package, application developers can rapidly built IoT senor nodes including remote locations to detect free fall detections, tilt compensated compass or dead reckoning.

Although Intel supports all version of Systems studio but microcontroller version is free of charge. It is based on the popular Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE) and comes with two Compiler. First is the GNU c compiler, the second is the Intel. Both of these compilers are benefiting the Intel Pentium architecture specific optimization. In addition, there are a variety of Pentium III c/c++ compiler can easily integrated with Eclipse IDE, RTOS-aware debugging. Flash programming support power supply efficiency analysis is IoT can help optimize low power consumption sensor typical small embedded function of the application code. Support all hardware debugging through JTAG interface.Currently supports Windows and Linux development environment.

The Intel Quark MCU SE – taking intelligent sensor nodes to the next level

Intel SE Quark microcontroller concept of intelligent sensor node to a new level. By adding 8Kbytes of associated 2 way L1 instruction cache, D2000 speeded up.192KB Flash and 80KB x86 kernel now’s RAM. Flexible 8- channel DMA support memory to memory, peripheral to memory, and peripheral to peripheral devices. Peripherals include RTC, analog comparators, timers, PWM,UART,SPL12C, and USB ports. But the true value of microcontroller Intel Quark SE is the new sensor subsystem and pattern matching accelerator, each boasting impressive processing power.

Intelligent pattern recognition with the Intel Quark MCU SE

Intel quark SE new types of pattern matching in microcontroller before recognition engine provides a learning machine identification of digital objects. Network engines by parallel arithmetic units called neurons they perform two types of pattern recognition. First called the K nearest neighbors (KNN) and the second is called as radial basis function (RBF). Both allow Intel Quark microcontroller based on pattern of sensor data to perform a simple test to do some impressive processing mode. The engine returns on of three states: recognition, uncertain and unknown. Up to 32,768 recognize categories of programming. The pattern matching engine features 128 arithmetic units operating in parallel. In this configuration, each arithmetic unit is referred to as a neuron. The recognition time is constant, providing the added advantage in embedded systems applications of making the engine deterministic.

Now , if the pattern matching engine subsystem connected to the sensor, the sensor subsystem put a series of vectors ( for example vibrations , temperatures , currents , and audio data ) to the pattern matching engine pattern for the pattern of hits, it can trigger a wake event x86. X86 then a decision can be made such as opening or closing a switch or match the alert is sent to the primary hub.

Cheap chip and this level of microcontroller is not found in today’s common and simple IoT sensor node adds significant cost benefits. Usually from the node to the primary sensor hub capability, but also saves power battery nodes. IoT node, node power consumption must be data values. More can be performed at node level, you need less data wireless transmission, saving electricity.


Intel has taken a big step forward and will familiarize with x86 32-bit architecture back into field of SCM, but this is meaningful in IoT applications.X86 Pentium architecture using a compiler for over 30 years, the debugger and the development of assessment tools ecosystem. Although Quark microcontroller D2000 will be on the market for entry level 32-bit microcontroller into the market, but Intel Quark microcontroller SE new intelligence into small cost effective nodes, comparable with existing solution and introduced a new era of innovation in the Internet.

source: Mouser

Add Comment