Intel and Altera Announce Edge and FPGA Offerings for AI at Embedded World

New edge-optimized processors and FPGAs bring AI everywhere across edge computing markets including retail, industrial and healthcare.

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  • April 8, 2024

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What’s New: Today at Embedded World, Intel and Altera, an Intel Company, announced new edge-optimized processors, FPGAs and programmable market-ready solutions extending powerful AI capabilities into edge computing. These products will power AI-enabled edge devices applicable to industries across retail, healthcare, industrial, automotive, defense and aerospace.

“This next generation of Intel edge-optimized processors and discrete GPUs unleashes powerful AI capabilities to help businesses more seamlessly incorporate AI alongside compute, media and graphics workloads. From manufacturing to healthcare, Intel’s extensive edge AI experience and breadth and depth of edge-ready silicon and software help our customers deliver AI where they need it most for better business outcomes.”

–Dan Rodriguez, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of Network and Edge Solutions Group

Why It Matters for Edge and AI: Why It Matters for Edge and AI: Intel’s new series of edge-optimized Intel® Core™ Ultra, Intel® Core™ and Intel Atom® processors and discrete Intel® Arc™ graphics processing units (GPUs) will advance innovation for artificial intelligence, visual computing and media processing – in support of faster and smarter decisions with on-premise edge computing. Agilex™ 5 FPGAs for mid-range applications with best-in-class performance per watt target a broad set of applications, including video, industrial, robotics, medical and others. Agilex 5 FPGAs with AI infused into the fabric offer a high level of integration, low latency and improved computing capabilities for intelligent edge applications.

Expanding on Intel’s commitment to bringing AI everywhere, today's announcements utilize built-in AI acceleration in the new series of processors to power the next generation of edge devices.

How Intel Expands AI to Embedded Edge Devices: Building on its expansive installed base of more than 90,000 edge deployments, Intel delivers a wave of edge-optimized processors and GPUs to power the next generation of AI-enabled edge devices.

  • Intel Core Ultra processors for edge: Offering up to 5.02x better image classification inference performance compared to 14th Gen Intel® Core™ desktop processors,1 Intel Core Ultra processors combine the Intel Arc GPU2 and a neural processing unit (NPU)3 with LGA socket flexibility into a simplified system-on-chip (SoC). The new SoC is designed to enable generative AI (GenAI) and demanding graphics workloads at the edge for retail, education, smart cities and industrial customers, including GenAI-enabled kiosk and smart point-of-sale systems in brick-and-mortar retailers, interactive whiteboards for enhanced in-classroom experiences and AI vision-enhanced industrial devices for manufacturing and roadside units. 
  • Intel Core processors for edge: Intel Core processors combine the GPU power of 13th Gen Intel® Core® mobile processors with LGA socket flexibility to prioritize system scalability and speed to deployment. This series of processors optimized for the edge offers up to 2.57x greater graphics performance compared to 13th Gen Intel® Core™ desktop processors4 by leveraging up to 3 times more graphics execution units alongside performance hybrid architecture with Intel® Thread Director5 and an LGA socket-based design offering customers more edge AI and graphics performance without sacrificing hardware setup flexibility.
  • Intel Atom® processors x7000C Series: Intel Atom processors x7000C Series delivers ramped-up processor base frequency in up to eight Efficient-cores to drive exceptional packet processing throughput for enterprise networking and telecommunications devices. This enables telecommunications businesses to use built-in deep learning inference capabilities to support the detection of zero-day threats, boost packet and control plane processing for OpenSSL/IPSec using native instruction sets, and leverage Intel security features to harden networks.
  • Intel Atom® processors x7000RE Series: Primarily for industrial and manufacturing end users, Intel Atom processors x7000RE Series features built-in deep learning inference capabilities and up to 32 graphics execution units in a ruggedized, power-efficient 6W-12W BGA package offering up to 9.83x image classification performance compared with Intel Atom processors x6000RE Series6. The new processor supports fanless designs to enable Industry 4.0 automation for key use cases in AI-automated tending, warehouse AMR, in-line visual inspection for quality control and ruggedized industrial PC scenarios. 

Additionally, the Intel® Arc™ GPU for Edge boosts performance and edge AI capabilities on legacy Intel Core systems as a discrete GPU providing accelerated AI, and media and graphics processing power. Intel Arc GPUs also eliminate vendor lock-in with an open, standards-based software stack to offer choice and flexibility when building high-performance AI applications and solutions. 

How Altera’s Portfolio Will Accelerate Customer AI Innovations: Following the FPGA Vision Webcast in February, Altera announced additional updates to its FPGA portfolio, providing flexible solutions to help customers solve their challenges from the cloud to network to the intelligent edge.

“We announced the launch of the new Altera brand with the goal of bringing leading technologies and innovations more quickly to the FPGA market. Today, we are excited about the next phase in our 10-plus year journey delivering flexible AI solutions,” said Sandra Rivera, Altera chief executive officer. “Altera is leading the new FPGAi era by tightly coupling programmability with tensor capabilities and infusing FPGA and AI tools for a best-in-class developer experience. Agilex 5, the first FPGA with AI-infused throughout the fabric, is now broadly available.”

Altera Leads the New Era of FPGAi: Altera helps customers achieve their business goals with new AI capabilities to support high-performance and mid-range FPGA-based solutions, developer usability and workload agility. FPGA AI Suite adds support for Agilex™ 5 SoC FPGAs. The AI tool flow allows developers to use existing and popular AI frameworks, along with the Intel® OpenVINO™ toolkit and the FPGA AI Suite, to create AI intellectual property (IP) blocks and easily drop them into the FPGA design. More information is available at the FPGA AI Suite website.

  • Performance per Watt Leader Agilex 5 SoC FPGAs Broadly Available: Agilex 5 devices, with best-in-class AI and up to 2x better performance per watt versus competing 7 nanometer FPGAs7, are designed to deliver high performance with lower power in a modern SoC subsystem with small form factor package options, allowing customers and developers to add AI capability to their products without the need for dedicated accelerators. Geared toward a broad set of embedded applications, Agilex 5 devices and development kits are broadly available with Quartus® Prime software support. Broad availability also includes support by a large and growing list of ecosystem partners providing additional boards, system-on-modules (SOMs), IP and various value-added services. More information about Agilex 5 devices, including technical details, is available at the Agilex 5 SoC FPGA website.
  • Unleash the Power of Agilex 5 E-Series Devices with Quartus Prime Pro Edition S/W Version 24.1: The latest version of Altera’s cutting-edge software is available for download, offering free access to the latest Agilex 5 E-Series SoC FPGAs and selected complementary IP cores. Quartus offers a streamlined experience for an IP-centric design flow, configurable example designs and unprecedented capabilities including a powerful new Agilex 5 SoC subsystem (hard-processor system featuring dual-core Arm Cortex A76, dual-core Arm Cortex A55 processors and various peripherals). This new SoC subsystem is also supported by third-party tools recently updated to support Agilex 5 devices. More information is available at the Quartus Prime Pro website.
  • Portfolio Breadth and Industry-Leading Longevity: Altera continues to deliver a broad portfolio, including industry-leading longevity with selected MAX® and Cyclone® cost- and power-optimized product families’ life cycles extended to 2040 and later, further improving supply chain resilience. Future Agilex™ 3 devices, coming soon, will expand the Agilex portfolio to deliver even greater breadth.

Why It Matters for Altera FPGAs: In an era where technological advancements are integral to staying competitive, Intel’s new edge-optimized processors and solutions deliver the capabilities enterprises need to innovate, be efficient and improve time to market. Altera delivers flexibility and re-programmability to accelerate innovators by providing easy-to-design and easy-to-deploy leadership programmable solutions.

These processors, FPGAs and associated solutions allow enterprises to leverage the tremendous amount of data generated at the edge to deploy sophisticated embedded AI devices across a variety of industries to streamline operations, improve customer satisfaction and incorporate advanced visual workloads. 

“The FPGA AI Suite from Altera allowed the Tiami team to rapidly incorporate our IP into an intricate digital signal processing (DSP) pipeline,” said Amitav Mukherjee, CEO at Tiami Networks. “This significantly reduced the time required to integrate AI capabilities with 5G signal processing from an estimated six months to just eight weeks. Our engineering team clearly recognized the value proposition offered by the FPGA in preprocessing wireless signals received from the antenna and performing real-time inference, resulting in a successful demo.”

More Context: Intel Core Ultra Processors for Edge (PDF) | Intel Processers for the Edge | Intel Arc GPU for EdgeIntel Launches Altera, Its New Standalone FPGA Company

The Small Print: 

Altera, the Altera logo, and other Altera marks are trademarks of Altera. 
Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

1 Performance varies by use, configuration, and other factors. Learn more at intel.com/processorclaims: Intel® Core™ Ultra processors, Edge. Results may vary.  

Intel® Arc™ GPU is only available on select H-Series, Intel® Core™ Ultra processor-powered systems with at least 16GB of system memory in a dual-channel configuration. OEM enablement is required; check with OEM for system configuration details. 

Intel® AI Boost enablement limited at launch. 

Performance varies by use, configuration, and other factors. Learn more at intel.com/processorclaims: Intel® Core™ processors, Edge. Results may vary. 

Support for Intel® Thread Director is expected in Windows 11 IoT Enterprise LTSC and Linux 

6 Performance varies by use, configuration, and other factors. Learn more at intel.com/processorclaims: Intel Atom® Processors. Results may vary. 

FPGA performance per watt:  https://edc.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/performance/benchmarks/agilex-fpga/. Results may vary.