Intel expands a processor line you've likely never heard of: Quark

  • 16 April 2014
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Intel expands a processor line you've likely never heard of: Quark
by Andy Patrizio

Intel serves the embedded market with its standard x86 processors, because there are times when an embedded system actually needs a Xeon. They are used in heavy equipment or places where power is not an issue, like networking equipment.
Intel also has Core-based and low-power Xeons, but there's another chip you probably haven't heard of that serves its own markets. It's called the Quark, a chip introduced just last year. A new series has been introduced, and they serve a very different market than the Core and Xeons. First off, Quark is even more retro than Atom. It's an SoC with a single 80486-class CPU core plus extra Pentium instructions running at 400 MHz and incorporating 16KB of unified L1 cache and 512KB of embedded SRAM.
If that leaves you scratching your head, you're not alone. It was introduced last minute at the most recent Intel Developer Forum and Intel people were literally pulling analysts aside minutes before the keynotes to give them the word, and then Intel proceeded to tell them nothing, according to Jim McGregor, president of Tirias Research.
"They made the announcement but didn't give us any details, which is really unusual for them. You kinda got the impression the thing was half-baked at the time", he said.
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