New Intel Chip Could Power Robotic Applications

The Xeon D server chips announced Monday by Intel are designed mostly for servers and network appliances, but as industrial automation grows, the company is betting they could become a crucial part of powering robots on factory floors.

Since simple robots can run on basic, low-power processors, thereEUs no reason why faster chips canEUt be plugged into advanced robots for more complex tasks, according to Intel. The chips were due late last year, but the release date had to be moved up following manufacturing glitches.


Xeon D is the first server chip from Intel based on the Broadwell architecture. We reached out to David Kanter, a senior analyst with The Linley Group, who told us that the introduction of Xeon D could represent Intel looking toward the future.

"ItEUs a good chip because it has a balance of computing power and network connectivity," said Kanter. "The fact that it uses Broadwell is important because the prior couple of chips in this category used the lower-performing Atom processor."

One application for the new chip could be optical inspection, which is used for quality control in manufacturing and packaging. Objects are scanned and compared against a database, and units that donEUt match the database are flagged.

Intel already sells low-power chips called Xeon E3 and Atom chips dubbed Avoton. Xeon D promises to offer more horsepower while conserving energy. That means the new chip could be ideal for the microserver market, according to Kanter. "It could be the best option for lighter-weight workloads," he said. "It could mean less emphasis on computation and more on memory and I/O."

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Xeon D is essentially a system-on-chip that combines parts including I/O and controllers for networking and storage appliances. It will will draw a minimum of 20 watts, compared with AvotonEUs 15 watts. IntelEUs internal benchmarks found that an...

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