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Intel unveils first chip for embedded devices

Intel has announced the first in a family of chips aimed specifically at the embedded device market. The company has also made the reference design available.

The Intel 820801E Communications I/O Controller Hub (C-ICH) is designed to be part of a chip set and to have multiple communication ports, therefore cutting the need for a device to have separate networking chips.

The new controller hub will work with chips ranging from Intel's 566MHz Celeron processors to the 1.2GHz Pentium III processor, Intel said.

Embedded computing devices, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), firewall, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) appliances, perform a specific task and cannot be reprogrammed like a desktop PC.

The 82801E chip includes dual 10/100 Fast Ethernet controllers, as well as dual universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter (UART) ports, which let the processor communicate with attached serial devices, including modems.

Intel announced that it has made a C-ICH reference design available for download from its Web site. The move is aimed at providing developers with a basic design for a standard circuit board for use in a variety of networking devices.

The chip will be available from January, priced at $15 (£10.55) in quantities of 10,000.

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