"Intel Unveils Tiny Quark"

Discussion in 'PC Industry' started by epicstruggle, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. epicstruggle

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    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323595004579067111709753126.html
    http://www.extremetech.com/computin...-is-the-start-of-a-new-arm-like-foundry-model
    Didn't see it posted, but this is a big (no pun intended) deal.
     
  2. Blazkowicz

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    I've always wanted a little nerd box with keyboard, like those from the 80s or early 90s. First pocket computers just ran BASIC on a few lines (or just one) of characters and looked rather like calculators, then you had DOS machines (x86 based) like the Atari Portfolio and others, then the Psion stuff.

    I wonder if the Quark will have some company interested in making something consumer oriented with it, not just use it as a high end micro-controller.
    Low power everything : display (even unlit monochrome LCD?, or some form of OLED or Qi), lowest power wifi (even if slow), low power bluetooth, storage : will need post-flash technology like RRAM eventually. You would even use that thing with non rechargeable batteries (if that's what you want, it has advantages) as long as it has crazy long life. Or supercapacitor + tiny solar.

    In the console realm, you had the Game Boy and Game Gear, Game Boy was arguably the much better device. You would leave it alone for days or weeks then turn it on and play as long as you want. Game Gear just spent its life near its AC adapter and using batteries was too expensive for it.

    Today the tablets, smartphones are more like the Game Gear than Game Boy (even though Li-ion makes them bearable)
     
  3. epicstruggle

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    This is supposed to be all kinds of Open Source, I would guess (personal opinion, I am not speaking for Intel) that this will be in a MinnowBoard successor. I had to do some validation with a Quark and their pretty unique.
     
  4. Blazkowicz

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    I take it you meant validation with a MinnowBoard.
    That card looks good indeed (tiny PC with a SD port to put the OS on)

    I have a feeling Quark goes after 486 SoC instead (there are quite relatively many of them I think) but more modern and better ; and after ARM and MIPS stuff for embedded and industrial. Less powerful than the MinnowBoard in terms of raw CPU speed.

    Semi-famously there was the Bifferboard, tiny and for real cheap with a 150MHz 486SX SoC and 32MB RAM, it came before the Raspberry Pi craze.
    http://bifferos.co.uk/

    BTW nvidia does own an old, old 386SX SoC from when they acquired ULi and they've had a product page, though it may be not terribly relevant.
    http://www.nvidia.com/page/uli_m6117c.html
     
  5. ToTTenTranz

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    IMO this core is not made to compete in the development board business (that thing's already pretty crowded, TBH).

    Intel made it clear that they made this very small core in order to embed computing units into wearable devices, making them "smart". The term "internet of things" was thrown around a lot during the presentation.
    In some years, the core is even supposed to go into pills.

    This is a competitor to ARM's Cortex M and R.
     
  6. Alexko

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    I'm upset by this chip. A quark is far, far smaller than 1/5 of an atom. At best this should be called nucleus, but even that would be extremely generous.
     
  7. RecessionCone

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    +1
    Clearly the marketing folks at Intel need more physics training.
     
  8. Davros

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    Depends on the atom
    What does that mean ?
     
  9. ^M^

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  10. rpg.314

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    No. All nuclei are about 100000 times smaller than atoms. So size wise it is way off.
     
  11. Davros

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    oops, by size i thought you meant mass
     
  12. epicstruggle

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    Sorry, tired on my end and wasn't clear. The validation of quark is done on a validation board. MinnowBoard was my way of saying Intel is moving towards open source in may areas, MB has all their board files, schematics open to the public. Quark as mentioned at IDF will be open source (architecture and ecosystem).

    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer...on-its-smallest-soc-ever-for-wearable-devices
     
  13. epicstruggle

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  14. Laurent06

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    Under what license? :roll:

    I guess you know Intel made it clear the core would be a black box for customers?
     
  15. epicstruggle

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    Not for me to decide. :)
    I don't think anyone expected otherwise, hopefully I didn't give that impression that it would.
     
  16. Laurent06

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    If it's a black box for customers, can you please explain how it can be qualified as open source?
     
  17. epicstruggle

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    Here you go.
     
  18. Laurent06

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    How does that contradict what I wrote or prove it's "open source"? Being synthesizable doesn't mean much in that context. Anyway Intel representatives made it clear: customers would see it as black box and will only be able to add IP to the internal interconnect. This has nothing to do with open source.

    Would you say ARM cores are open source? They are synthesizable, customers can put whatever they want along with the core. They even have one advantage: you don't have to build them in Intel fabs. Does that make them open source? Certainly not.
     
  19. Blazkowicz

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    It's [edit: not even] open source in the absolute loosest sense of the term then, like paying big $ in the 80s to get the sources for a commercial proprietary Unix and signing a big NDA.
    I wonder if you can face going to jail if you leak that CPU core's source files.

    It's true that open source doesn't automatically equal Free as something that would be sponsored by the Free Software Foundation or such.
    There are unambiguously open source CPU, where you can download the VHDL and stuff, like the Sun Sparc releases, some MIPS stuff, OpenRISC.
    http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/systems/opensparc/index.html

    Of course this is something of an academic detail, because in the real world you can play with a FPGA if you wish, but you don't have a spare $200 million or whatever to build a bad ass 1W SoC competitive with the market offerings. You have to be the Chinese government or something.
    Also the annoucement above reads like Intel will be doing the SoCs and be open to including outside IP, precisely like AMD is doing with their ARM stuff or at a smaller scale the "Trustzone" in x86 APUs.

    Where the open source character can play a part is everything surrounding the chip or CPU core. BIOS or firmware, bootloader, drivers (esp. if no "binary blob firmware" is required), debuggers and toolchains and crap.
    Android is "open source", or even Android "is linux" but well, when you have a cell phone that is nearly useless without the OEM provided OS images (like losing the wireless, camera etc.) well there's nothing you can do, hope you like staying on version 2.3 or 4.1 with crapware and eventually not even have security updates.

    If that Quartz core is paired with a PowerVR GPU, run away if you want more than some text mode/VGA/VESA output, because Atom PowerVR does hardly better on linux (it's powerful enough to display a divx with software scaling so it can be nominally usable, if you tweak the video player's output parameter)
     
  20. Exophase

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    That "we" seems to be the operative word. As in, Intel can synthesize it to include other IP provided to them. Doesn't seem to be saying that they'll license the core to third parties to synthesize, even though that may be the case.
     
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