Alternative Platforms to the Intel® Joule™ Module

Overview

For developers interested in alternatives to the Intel® Joule™ platform (discontinued), learn how the Intel® Joule™ platform compares to some of the latest embedded platforms from Intel (formerly codenamed Apollo Lake). We cover feature comparison, design considerations and then a comparison of the Intel® Joule™ Developer Kit with the latest IoT developer kit from Intel (UP Squared* Grove* Development Kit).

Audience

Developers looking for general guidance on how the Intel® Joule™ module compares to some of the latest embedded platforms from Intel (formerly codenamed Apollo Lake).

Feature Comparison

Below is a comparison of features between the Intel® Joule™ module and embedded processor products formerly codenamed Apollo Lake.

Product NameIntel® Joule™ 550x or 570x modulesIntel® Celeron® and Pentium® processorsIntel Atom® processor E3900 series
CodenameBroxtonApollo LakeApollo Lake
StatusLaunchedLaunchedAnnounced
Recommended Customer Pricingdiscontinued (was priced at $149 - $159 or $199 - $209)$107 or $161n/a
Processor Numbern/aN3350; N4200E3930; E3940; E3950
CPU cores42 or 42 or 4
Processor Base Frequency1.5 or 1.7 GHz1.1 GHz1.3 or 1.6 GHz
Burst frequency2.4 GHz on 570x2.4 or 2.5 GHz1.8 or 2.0 GHz
Max Memory Size3 or 4 GB8 GB8 GB
Memory TypesLPDDR4DDR3L/LPDDR3 or LPDDR4DDR3L (ECC and Non ECC) or LPDDR4
Flash memory8 or 16 GB eMMC Up to 64GB eMMC
Cache1MB2 MB2 MB
# of USB Ports1 or 2 USB 3.08 (6 USB 3.0)8 (6 USB 3.0)
Total # of SATA Ports022
Max # of PCI Express Lanes0 or 166
Graphics OutputHDMI 1.4B and MIPI-DSI (1x4)eDP/DP/HDMI*/MIPI-DSIeDP/DP/HDMI/MIPI-DSI
Processor GraphicsIntel® HD Graphics, gen 9Intel® HD Graphics 500 or 505Intel® HD Graphics 500 or 505
OSWindows® 10 IoT Core; Ubuntu;  Reference Linux* OS for IoTLinux*; Windows® 10 EnterpriseWindows® 10 Enterprise; Windows® 10 IoT Core; Wind River Linux*, VxWorks*; Android*
Intel® High Definition Audio (Intel® HD Audio) TechnologyNoYesYes
Operating temperature range0°C to 70°C

0°C to 70°C

Commercial applications.

-40°C to 85°C

Extended temperature range for industrial applications

Power DeliveryPMICPMIC / discrete voltage regulator (VR)
Sleep statesS0ixS0ix, S3, S4, S5S0ix, S3, S4, S5
Security FeaturesIntel® AES New Instructions (Intel® AES-NI)Intel® Trusted Execution Engine (Intel® TXE); Intel® AES-NIIntel® TXE; Intel® AES-NI
Package Size24mm x 48mm24mm x 31mm24mm x 31mm

Design Considerations

This section presents design considerations for developers who are interested in alternative platforms to the Intel® Joule™ module. You may be a developer interested in transitioning from the Intel® Joule™ platform to the latest embedded processor products from Intel to take advantage of new features. Or you may have been considering developing with the Intel® Joule™ module but now that it has been discontinued, must choose another platform to develop on. We outline below important design considerations for both kinds of developers. Here we focus on comparing the Intel® Joule™ platform to the Atom® processor E3900 series.

  • Form factor
    The Intel Atom® processor E3900 series (formerly codenamed Apollo Lake) board area will probably increase because of a larger SoC package size, larger Power Management IC (PMIC) and Voltage Regulator (VR) solution space, and memory down (i.e. not package-on-package).
  • Performance Differences
    Lower operating frequencies on latest generation of Intel Atom® processor E3900 series, smaller cache size per core pair (e.g. 2MB vs 1MB) may affect performance. Memory configuration differences may have an impact since Intel Atom® processor E3900 series have higher peak BW, but lower transfer rate.
  • I/O Interface Limitations
    Intel Atom® processor E3900 series supports a single LPSS SPI port, compared to Joule’s two LPSS SPI ports; The Intel® Joule™ module supports USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 OTG while the Intel Atom® processor E3900 series supports USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 dual-role (it does not support OTG).
  • Completing design regulatory testing
    A design with the Intel Atom® processor E3900 series will need to go through various types of emissions certifications, safety certifications, and environmental certifications.
  • Driver Compatibility
    Register compatibility and I/O location compatibility from an Intel® Joule™ module to an Intel Atom® processor E3900 series may require driver changes.
  • Additional Features of the Intel Atom® processor E3900 series
    The Intel Atom® processor E3900 series has some new features and interfaces over Intel® Joule™ modules. Taking advantage of these interfaces and features may extend design and validation time of a migration, when compared to a situation where no new features are added.
  • Wireless Technology
    There is no integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® on the Intel Atom® processor E3900 series.
  • Power Management
    Intel® Joule™ module does not support traditional PC sleep states (S3 , S4, S5), while the Intel Atom® processor E3900 series does.

Comparison with the latest IoT Developer Kit from Intel

Below is a table comparing the features of the Intel® Joule™ module with the latest IoT Developer Kit from Intel, the UP Squared* Grove* IoT Development Kit.

 Intel® Joule™ 550x Developer KitUP Squared* Grove* IoT Development Kit
TypeComputer on a moduleSingle board computer
Pricediscontinued (was ~$250)Starting from $249
Processor
Processor familyIntel® Atom™Intel® Celeron®
CodenameBroxtonApollo Lake
Processor model 

N3350

Processor frequency1.7 GHz1.1 GHz
Processor boost frequency2.4 GHz2.4 GHz
Processor cores42
64-bit computingYesYes
Memory
Maximum internal memory3 or 4 GB2 GB
eMMCYesYes
Ports and Interfaces
Wi-FiYesNo
BluetoothYesNo
HDMIYesYes
SATANoYes
Mini PCIe*NoYes
M.2NoYes
Raspberry Pi* header

No

Yes

Board and Dimensions
Carrier boardMandatory. Cost for an Intel development carrier board is around $100Not required
Board dimensions24 x 48 mm86.5 x 90mm
Sensors and power supply includedNoYes
Software
Linux operating systems supportedUbuntu* 16.04, Ubuntu CoreUbuntu 16.04 (pre-installed) 

Support for Arduino Create* and Intel® System Studio 2018

NoYes
Graphics
On-board graphicsIntel® HD Graphics, Gen9Intel® HD Graphics 500, Gen9

Conclusion

The Intel® Joule™ module, now discontinued, was a compact yet powerful modular device that included wireless and video capabilities. The feature comparison and design considerations sections of this paper served as general guidance for developers interested in alternatives to the Intel® Joule™ platform. And the last section presented the UP Squared* Grove* IoT Development Kit as a complete kit alternative to the Intel® Joule™ platform.

For developers not interested in the kit alternative and instead plan on selecting an individual processor product, please note that you may need to work with a hardware vendor to create a custom board. However, there are some alternate products (modular in nature) available through the Solutions Directory from Intel to consider:

More on UP Squared*

For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.