Electronic Design

Define Your Processor

IDC defines an embedded microprocessor very generally—a host or central logic processing semiconductor that furnishes intelligence to an electronic system that serves applications outside of general-purpose computing. This definition includes processors for classic, deeply embedded machines such as test and measurement devices and medical devices, but also mainstream systems such as cell phones, point-of-sale devices, and set-top boxes.

Most of these processors share designs tailoring them to a specific application. They tend to have a central processor core or cores surrounded by application-specific features, such as the Ethernet interfaces and security accelerators found in embedded processors for networking applications.

If customized, these processors are ASICs. If off-the-shelf, these processors are application-specific standard parts (ASSPs). ASICs and ASSPs in embedded systems are typically complete, single-chip solutions, meaning systems-on-a-chip (SoCs).

The few system types in the embedded systems space that use standalone processors, such as an Intel Core 2 Duo, tend to be the most PC-like of embedded systems, such as thin-clients. In 2009, nearly 79% of embedded processors shipped will be ASSPs, 17% will be ASICs, and 4% will be standalone processors.

TAGS: Intel
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