I would love to have something like this in a QFN package and some nice peripherals. I have a signal analysis problem that it would be great if I could run a 1024 point FFT at .01ms intervals. This would give me enough resolution for what I am trying to do as well as make it so that I can reduce the noise in the signal.
Yup, I forgot about the A13, which is sold in small quantities by Olimex. I wouldn't be surpised if the packaging impacts the performance. Also, it's very tablet oriented, not industrial, and I wonder how long it will be in production.
Another point about the Quark: availability and price from Mouser & Digikey will be very important if Intel wants to be serious about embedded again.
It is good Intel couldnot or didnit enter smartphone business. They are experts in making processors and it would be good if tghey keep that monopoly going. Just joining the smartphone wagon would not earn any good.
Forget FFTs, Quark won't ever run any DSP code. Multiply takes 6 cycles vs 1 cycle for a MAC on Cortex-M3/M4. Floating point is even slower: fadd is 10 cycles, fmul is 11 - compare that with 1 cycle for fadd and fmul on Cortex-M4...
I have been saying that for several years that in order to get into mobile devices Intel has to demonstrate integration. They certainly know both the CPU and chipset/peripheral space, but they were stuck with the separate product lines. They need to compete with ARM which can offer a complete system like Beaglebone Black with CPU, chipset, rich peripherals/comms/I/O, and RAM + flash memories for $45---which you can just turn on, put on the network and log into a complete in-system development environment, either via SSH or a web browser.
The time of 8-bit, 4kB program memory systems is over---even for DUI. Even in the super-low-power, 32-bit ARM Cortex M chips are competitive with MSP430s, PICs and AVRs.
Your point about peripherals is spot on. Many people (and companies like Microchip) feel that peripherals are more important than the core. TI's AM335x MPUs have very interesting digital peripherals (PWM, QEP, co-processor, etc).
Yes, there are claims of a "Pentium" instruction set but it is literally a 486 with a 5-stage single-issue pipeline and 16KB shared I&D cache (compare the timings with an old 486 manual or look at page 20 in the last link). Remember the current Atom is already Pentium class, so to get x86 any smaller you have got to get down to a 486! The die is about 30mm^2 based on the photo in this article. TDP is 1.9-2.2W for the SoC.
SAMA5D3 is 65nm and does 536MHz at less than 200mW for the whole SoC. Sitara is a 1GHz Cortex-A8 at 65nm as well and Vybrid uses a 40nm process. However a 486 is not in the same league as these Cortex-A5/A8 based SoCs, so Quark would need to sell significantly below the $7 Atmel asks for SAMA5D3.