Revolutionary Performance Drives 2:1 Platform Convergence at the Industrial Edge

Summary Highlights:

  • ASRock Industrial’s iEPF-9010S* Robust Edge AIoT Platform enables powerful, consolidated IoT solutions for Industry 4.0.

  • 12th Gen Intel® Core™ processors provide the performance, high memory capacity, expandability, connectivity, and ruggedness the platform needs to drive infrastructure convergence.

  • Purpose-built for AI-enabled systems, the platform offers versatility for system architects to design the right fit for edge deployments.

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Industry 4.0, which encompasses the growth of AI and automation in industrial use cases, is poised for consistent growth over the next several years. With a 2020 valuation of USD 81.7B, Industry 4.0 is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20.3 percent and reach a valuation of USD 298.1B by 2027.1 This growth is driven by the increasing global demands for consumer goods, more-efficient infrastructure, and cost-efficient productivity.

Risk is a high barrier to entry for transformation. But we at ASRock Industrial believe that the iEPF-9010S Robust Edge AIoT Platform with 12th Gen Intel® Core™ processors can help drive workload consolidation, creating a good entry point to start the journey. Replace your legacy systems while still using legacy software and greatly reduce your risk.”

—James Lee, president of ASRock Industrial

Challenges: Complexity from Bigger Hardware Footprints and Aging Software

As industrial enterprises and manufacturers are looking to meet increased productivity and efficiency demands, numerous hurdles stand in their way. Expanding configurations by adding more industrial PCs (IPCs) to production lines and AI at the edge for intelligent infrastructure only adds to administrative burden and total cost of ownership (TCO). Meanwhile, many legacy solutions are dependent on aging software solutions, and upgrading can incur the difficult task of licensing, deploying, and optimizing new and unfamiliar software.

Solution: ASRock Industrial iEPF-9010S Enabled by 12th Gen Intel® Core™ Processors

The ASRock Industrial iEPF-9010S is a state-of-the-art IPC that takes advantage of the massive performance leaps of 12th Gen Intel® Core™ processors to drive infrastructure convergence in edge deployments. With hardware-enabled security, AI acceleration, enhanced graphics, and video streaming features, this platform serves as a flexible foundation for powerful, consolidated IoT solutions that are easier to manage and help businesses prepare for future challenges. The platform also makes use of key virtualization technologies—the innovative KVM hypervisor and shared memory feature—to support legacy software and enhance efficiency through workload consolidation, making it easier for manufacturers to upgrade with higher confidence and lower risk. James Lee, president at ASRock Industrial, states, “Risk is a high barrier to entry for transformation. But at ASRock Industrial, we believe that the iEPF-9010S Robust Edge AIoT Platform with 12th Gen Intel® Core™ processors can help drive workload consolidation, creating a good entry point to start the journey. Replace your legacy systems while still using legacy software and greatly reduce your risk.”

iEPF-9010S with 12th Gen Intel® Core™ Processors: Flexible Use Cases

Robotic control

Automated optical inspection

Factory automation

Autonomous vehicles

Smart infrastructure

How it Works

The iEPF-9010S is flexible and powerful enough to fulfill key IoT computing requirements across a variety of industries and use cases. However, this solution was purpose-built to support hardware convergence for AI-enabled systems in edge deployments such as factories and production lines. The increased performance delivered by 12th Gen Intel® Core™ processors compared to previous generations, with high memory capacity and exceptional PCIe expandability, gives system architects more versatility in designing right-fit solutions for a multitude of edge deployments.

More Cores, Threads with Revolutionary Performance Hybrid Architecture*

12th Gen Intel® Core™ processors introduce performance hybrid architecture, a revolutionary chip design that integrates up to eight Performance-cores that focus on primary tasks and up to eight Efficient-cores that enhance background task management and multitasking. Each LGA-socketed iEPF-9010S features up to 16 cores and 24 threads and benefits from massive improvements of up to 1.36x faster single-thread performance and up to 1.35x faster multithread performance compared to 10th Gen Intel® Core™ processors.2 These performance gains, combined with up to 128 GB (32 GB per DIMM) DDR4-3200 memory, allow for more simultaneous applications and workloads with a smaller hardware footprint. Customers can simplify their deployments with more-powerful platforms and benefit from low TCO.

Figure 1: The iEPF-9010S, enabled by 12th Gen Intel® Core™ processors, delivers performance, high memory capacity, expandability, connectivity, ruggedness, and robust power design for edge deployments.

iEPF-9010S with 12th Gen Intel® Core™ Processors

Key features:

  • Performance: Up to 16 cores, 24 threads with performance hybrid architecture
  • Memory: Up to 128 GB DDR4-3200
  • Expandability: PCIe 4.0, Mini PCIe, M.2
  • Connectivity: 4G LTE/5G, Wi-Fi 6E capable, up to five 2.5GbE TSN/TCC-capable ports
  • Ruggedized: -40° to +75° C, antishock/vibration chassis
  • Robust power design: 9V–36V, reverse polarity protection
  • Hardware-based security: Intel® CET, Intel® TME, Intel® Hardware Shield with Intel vPro® platform-capable SKUs

Enhanced Graphics and Multiple Displays

12th Gen Intel® Core™ processors feature Intel® UHD Graphics 770 driven by Intel® Xe architecture, with up to 32 graphics execution units. The platform delivers up to 1.94x faster graphics performance compared to 10th Gen Intel® Core™ processors,2 enabling simultaneous streaming of high-definition video streams as well as rich visual experiences. Solution providers can take advantage of these capabilities in the iEPF-9010S to support edge deployments that connect to smart cameras and sensors or output video streams for rich digital signage or interactive displays. The processor platform also supports up to four 4K displays or one 8K display, while the iEPF-9010S features one port each for DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0b, and VGA.

Hardware-Driven AI Acceleration

The high number of graphics execution units also supports high levels of parallelization for AI workloads. When combined with Intel® Deep Learning Boost (Intel® DL Boost) on the processor and the Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ toolkit, the platform offers up to 2.81x faster performance in GPU image classification inference.2 Faster AI inference can translate to robust AI analysis in small footprints for smart infrastructure deployments or fast and accurate inspection for AI-enabled defect detection on manufacturing production lines.

Shared Memory Delivers 100x Performance vs. Physical LAN3

The iEPF-9010S Robust Edge AIoT Platform was initially designed to replace a legacy configuration of two separate IPCs connected over a physical LAN. In a legacy setup, one industrial PC covered three functions for motion control, worker displays, and image capture, while a separate PC provided AI inference for captured images. The ASRock Industrial system’s flexible expansion, featuring up to 24 PCIe 4.0 lanes (spread among one 16-pin slot or two 8-pin slots and two 4-pin slots), supports a frame grabber card, motion control card, and I/O card in the same IPC. 12th Gen Intel® Core™ processors also bring higher performance and accelerated AI with Intel Deep Learning Boost. As a result, the iEPF-9010S fulfills the function of both legacy IPCs in a single system.

The iEPF-9010S system performs both image capture and AI inference on captured images; however, these functions occur in separate virtual machines (VMs) within the same physical system. To overcome this challenge, ASRock Industrial engineers with help and guidance from Intel implemented an innovative solution by having both VMs use shared memory to save and access images across VMs. The KVM hypervisor on the iEPF-9010S uses inter-VM shared memory (Ivshmem) to eliminate the need to copy or transmit data, resulting in 100x faster data transmission compared to a physical LAN.3

Low-risk Deployments with Legacy Software Solutions

Many ASRock Industrial customers in the manufacturing industry use dependable yet older versions of Windows for image processing and motion control functions on their production line IPCs. Software costs and the need to optimize code for newer platforms can present a hurdle to IT departments who want to reap the performance benefits of the latest hardware and cost benefits of technology convergence. The iEPF-9010S system is a good choice to help overcome this hurdle, because customers can deploy their legacy software in virtualized environments and not worry about coding or training for new platforms. Key software-level optimizations, such as AI models trained and tuned on familiar Intel® architecture, can also potentially carry over and help ensure high performance levels through future upgrades.

Hardened Platforms for Operational Technology (OT) Security

For edge deployments in open spaces where access cannot be tightly controlled, the iEPF-9010S takes advantage of Intel-enabled, hardware-driven security features to help protect platforms from tampering and malware. Key features, including Intel® Hardware Shield, Intel® Control-Flow Enforcement Technology (Intel® CET), and Intel® Total Memory Encryption (Intel® TME), help defend against malware injection and privilege-escalation attacks below the OS and help secure data in flight, in the system’s memory.

Ruggedness Built in for Industrial Environments

Industrial customers can deploy the iEPF-9010S in a variety of rugged environments and expect high resiliency and performance. The iEPF-9010S is rated for operations in temperature ranges of -40 to +75 degrees Celsius, with an antishock and antivibration chassis design that also helps prevent electromagnetic interference. The solution also features a wide range of voltage inputs from 9V to 36V for environments with an unstable power source, paired with reverse polarity protection on system ports.

Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) Capable with Multiple 2.5GbE Ports

The iEPF-9010S features five 2.5 GbE LAN ports that are TSN capable for deployments with bounded latency requirements. Select SKUs of 12th Gen Intel® Core™ processors also bring support for Intel® Time Coordinated Computing Mode (Intel® TCC Mode), a set of configurations that help prioritize time-sensitive workloads and help reduce jitter.

Conclusion: Reduced Investment for a Powerful Transformation

With 12th Gen Intel® Core™ processors, the iEPF-9010S makes it easy for industrial customers to plan and deploy an impactful OT convergence project. Innovative VM technology with shared memory opens the possibility for using multiple legacy software configurations on the same platform. Customers can benefit from higher performance, faster graphics, and accelerated AI without the need to recode software tools or retrain staff, simplifying the upgrade process and helping prepare businesses for future challenges.

Learn More

Learn more about the ASRock Industrial iEPF-9010S at www.asrockind.com/iEPF-9010S-EX4.

Explore the capabilities of 12th Gen Intel® Core™ processors at intel.com/alderlake-s.

Product and Performance Information

1“Industry 4.0 Market to Reach USD 298.1 Bn by 2027, with a growing CAGR of 20.3%,” globenewswire.com, October 2021. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2021/10/06/2309691/0/en/Industry-4-0-Market-to-Reach-USD-298-1-Bn-by-2027-with-a-growing-CAGR-of-20-3.html
2For more complete information about performance and benchmark results, visit intel.com/PerformanceIndex.
3Measurements provided by ASRock Industrial as of December 2021. Configuration details Host computer: Intel® Core™ i7-10700 (8C), 32 GB DDR4 2666 MHz memory; OS: Ubuntu 20.04.2; external computer: Intel® Core™ i5-8600K (6C), 12 GB memory; OS: Windows 10. Data transmission for single channel, 128.75 Mb .bmp file measured between host and external computer through real LAN (1 Gbps) compared to data transmission between two VMs on host through shared memory via ivshmem. Transmission time through LAN: 2574.95 ms; through shared memory: 24.86 ms.