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Intel Hardware

Intel Launches 'Galileo,' an Arduino-Compatible Mini Computer 130

MojoKid writes "Although Intel is Chipzilla, the company can't help but extend its reach just a bit into the exciting and growing world of DIY makers and hobbyists. Intel announced its Galileo development board, a microcontroller that's compatible with Arduino software and uses the new Quark X1000 processor (400MHz, 32-bit, Pentium-class, single- core and thread) that Intel announced at the IDF 2013 keynote. The board makes use of Intel's architecture to make it easy to develop for Windows, Mac, and Linux, but it's also completely open hardware (PDF). Galileo is 10cm x 7cm (although ports protrude a bit beyond that), and there are four screw holes for secure mounting. Ports include 10/100 Ethernet, USB client/host ports, RS-232 UART and 3.5mm jack, mini PCIe slot (with USB 2.0 host support); other features include 8MB Legacy SPI Flash for firmware storage, 512KB embedded SRAM, 256MB DRAM, 11KB EEPROM programmed via the EEPROM library, and support for an additional 32GB of storage using a microSD card."
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Intel Launches 'Galileo,' an Arduino-Compatible Mini Computer

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  • more the better (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AlreadyStarted ( 523251 ) on Friday October 04, 2013 @01:49PM (#45037621)
    I know there will be haters, but the more corporate interest and entries in this category the better in my opinion. And if it happens to forward the interests of Intel, more power to them.
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by hairyfeet ( 841228 )

      Maybe if you found out WHY some hate intel you might understand, yes? How about the fact that they weren't busted for antitrust after a half dozen CEOs admitted taking bribes from Intel to take the power pig P4 and lock AMD out of the market, or how about the Intel Compiler which is rigged to this very day so that ANY CODE made on ICC will be crippled if run on anything but an Intel CPU?

      Everybody here screams about MSFT and Apple but Intel makes both look like the care bears when it comes to dirty dealing,

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Amen. Intel has far too much power on the computing landscape, much more than IBM ever had in the 70s and early 80s, and that's saying something, since I'm old enough to have lived through that period, and using computers at the time. Probably the worst fear at Intel is that AMD stops producing x86 compatible processors, they would have more power on the hardware landscape than Microsift ever had on the software, and could no more dispute that they are a monpoly and could no more resort to all the dirty tri

  • It might be Arduino compatible but not price wise. With all those things sounds like expensive.
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday October 04, 2013 @02:22PM (#45037901) Journal
      I've heard ~$60 thrown around as a number, though not an authoritative one. Lousy by the standards of Arduino projects that really are 8-bit MCU work; but the world is infested with Arduino projects that have the MCU twiddling a few sensors and then a (surprisingly expensive) ethernet/wifi shield bodged on to report the results to the internet. If that's you, the cost gets a lot more competitive.

      Though, on the downside (similarly not-yet-confirmed) reports are that the arrangement Intel uses to support the GPIO is pretty limited, compared to much cheaper parts that do GPIO closer to the metal, in terms of the speeds at which it can bit-bang the assorted oddball peripherals (those cheapie LED strands for instance) that many arduino projects end up bit-banging to communicate with. Having a real ethernet and SD interface, not SPI hacks, is nice; but if those reports are to be believed, your project had better be doable without extensive bitbang interfacing.
      • by hjf ( 703092 )

        Erm... an ENC28J60 module with RJ45 jack, magnetics, crystal, and all you need to connect an arduino (or any other MCU) is $3.50 on ebay. Less than the price of the ENC28J60 chip alone!.

    • by HeckRuler ( 1369601 ) on Friday October 04, 2013 @03:12PM (#45038401)

      Intel didn’t announce pricing for Galileo,

      Aaaaand I'm instantly not interested.

      Seriously, you can throw as much hardware as you want at a problem, it's all just a matter of price. We could shove an iphone everywhere we want compact processing capabilities. (And god knows enough people actually do that).

      Also, it really helps if it's open. The raspberry pi is neat because it's specifically useful as a full-fledged computer that DAMN cheap. It runs Linux so there's a lot of leeway with what you want to do with it. (Quickly, without having to develop your own RTOS and windows manager) But it IS questionable about what sort of long-term legs it has because the broadcom chip on it is very much closed. I don't care how awesome the hardware is if I can't even blink an LED without asking mother-may-I from some corporate whore.

    • Looking at the picture of the PCB they used, first question that strikes me - why not simply make it a single chip ASIC? I counted at least 7 chips on board. It would seem that a single chip w/ all the functions, and connections running out to all the ports - PCIe, USB, Ethernet, SPI and so on would enable Intel to minimize on chip cost, and let the rest of the cost hinge on the peripheral interfaces.

      If that would be too expensive, Intel could make things cheaper by going as far back to a Pentium I core

      • To me the CPU is meant to be used in embedded systems, where you don't necessarily need ethernet or USB or something else.
        What's announced here is a low cost general purpose and development board.
        The integrated 512K of special RAM means it can maybe be used without external memory chips. It's like having a PC that can boot DOS without memory DIMMs.

      • It isn't because they didn't think of this. The PCIe and USB do look to be directly from the SOC. Ethernet PHY's are difficult or impossible to implement in the low voltage processes used for modern SOCs. DRAM and flash are sometimes mounted onto the top of the SOC, but that is more expensive, and typically used for mobile where space is at a premium. But if you were going to run a small embedded OS you can probably get by with the 512k or SRAM. Most the other chips are either power supply, or 3.3V I/O
      • Can't say how much of the funtionality is onboard, but they claim that Quark is a SOC.
        There's a note about compilers to the effect that it's 586.

        I think part of the point is to provide a design that uses the Quark.

  • by csumpi ( 2258986 ) on Friday October 04, 2013 @01:51PM (#45037649)
    "low cost" - how low exactly?
    • A couple other sources say it's $60. Which is not too bad (especially compared to their $199 MinnowBoard).
    • Re:pricing? (Score:5, Informative)

      by pjrc ( 134994 ) <> on Friday October 04, 2013 @02:01PM (#45037731) Homepage Journal

      Several articles have appeared claiming "under $60".

      For for free if you're one of about 50000 students or apparently about 400 people who attended a talk at Maker Faire last weekend in Rome.

      However, if you check out Intel FAQ, there are a number of Arduino compatibility caveats. Probably the main on is the I/O pins are controlled by an I/O expander with approx 2ms latency. That's pretty slow compared to Arduino's slow digitalWrite() function, which run about 4us on 16 MHz AVR, or direct AVR register access, which takes 125ns.

      The processor runs Linux and Arduino sketches are compiled to native Linux userspace programs, so it probably will open up a lot of possibilities.

  • Inigo Montoya... (Score:5, Informative)

    by charlieo88 ( 658362 ) on Friday October 04, 2013 @01:52PM (#45037665)
    Mini Computer? Inigo Montoya says, "I don't think that word means what you think it means."
    • Yeah... I was wondering how to hook up the teletype and the terminal servers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sqr(twg) ( 2126054 )

      From Wikipedia: "In a 1970 survey, the New York Times suggested a consensus definition of a minicomputer as a machine costing less than 25 000 USD, with an input-output device such as a teleprinter and at least 4K words of memory, that is capable of running programs in a higher level language, such as Fortran or Basic."
      It would seem this board meets the definition, as long as you connect it to some I/O device.

  • Why call it a "mini computer" when that is so confusingly close to the well-understood term "minicomputer"? []
  • There are lots of little boards available. With reasonable CPUs and amounts of memory. Ardunos, with 2K or 8K of RAM, were just too limited.

    On the other hand, having to run bloatware like Windows or Linux on an embedded board has its own headaches.

    • by highfreq2 ( 575192 ) on Friday October 04, 2013 @02:08PM (#45037773)
      Linux is not inherently bloaty. The kernel and a busybox based user space run on hardware a good deal weaker than this. I love Linux for embedded systems. Its network stack is rock solid, and with the modern kernel it is pretty easy to get near realtime performance.
      • by jandrese ( 485 )
        I like Linux on small devices like this, but I hate Busybox. Saving a couple of MB was a big deal back when you had 16MB of flash storage and that was it, but these days it's not unusual to have 16GB. Saving those few bytes on a version of Bash that barfs on a lot of common scripts is just dumb.
        • I don't tend to use busybox anymore because it isn't necessary. But I never found it to be that unpleasant. Most my embedded stuff only uses a few very basic shell scripts. Once someone comes up with a small ARM processor with enough on-board flash and ram for Linux, busybox will be just the thing for it.
          • by jandrese ( 485 )
            What about when you bring up a shell prompt on your phone for example? My phone has 32GB of storage, but Cyanogen still uses busybox for some reason. I've yet to find a full version of the shell utilities for Android. It's annoying, especially if you want to compile stuff on the phone directly but discover that the environment is too crippled to run most build scripts.
        • I like Linux on small devices like this, but I hate Busybox. Saving a couple of MB was a big deal back when you had 16MB of flash storage and that was it, but these days it's not unusual to have 16GB. Saving those few bytes on a version of Bash that barfs on a lot of common scripts is just dumb.

          Then compile up bash and add it to your rootfs. That's what we do, for exactly the reasons you mentioned; I wanted to run more modern shell scripts andd busybox didn't support them. But that's ok, just because you start with busybox doesn't mean you have to stop there.

        • This has 8 MB flash.
          (FYI, with Busybox 1.20.2, I've not found scripts that make it barf to be common.)

    • You don't have to run Linux on it. There are any number of OSs that can run on an x86.

    • I run a Linux appliance with 4MB of RAM as a VPN endpoint for my kvm, ipmi, pdu, etc. I don't consider 10 cents of RAM "bloated".

      Sure for some things you don't need an operating system, but if having Linux saves five minutes of development time it may be worth the extra $5 of hardware.

      Obviously if you plan to sell a million units of a particular design, omitting 10 cents worth of RAM from each saves you $100K. For hobbyists, 4MB of RAM to run Linux is very often worth it.

    • by Dracos ( 107777 )

      With my first Arduino project, I'm finding the Uno's 16mhz clock speed to be more limiting than 2k of RAM.. all I'm really doing is twiddling an RGB LED strip with generated values.

      I'd personally be happy if there was an Arduino with a 64 mhz clock, but Atmel doesn't make such as chip as far as I know, the fastest AVR is 32mhz, and even that would be a huge improvement.

      • by Mprx ( 82435 )
        Are you using the Arduino library? It's much faster if you access the AVR registers directly.
        • by Dracos ( 107777 )

          I am, but my sketch is populating and manipulating a 40x4 array of uint8_t values with a simple fire algorithm, it doesn't use many library calls. I've made a few optimizations, but I don't think I can get more than 30 loop() interations per second even in this preliminary stage on an Uno. I'll be able to achieve more than I originally planned by using a Tensy 3.0 instead.

      • by pjrc ( 134994 ) <> on Friday October 04, 2013 @05:48PM (#45039805) Homepage Journal

        Well, there is an Arduino with 84 MHz clock, called Arduino Due. It's 32 bit ARM, not 8 bit AVR. It sells for $49.

        My little company makes an Arduino compatible board called Teensy 3.0, which is technically spec'd 48 MHz but overclocks to 96 MHz without any trouble. It sells for $19.

        There are also other less compatible alternative boards, like ChipKit, Maple and Fubarino, with clocks speeds in the 50 to 80 MHz range, and attractive prices. Their compatibility isn't as good, which might be a factor if you're using libraries or code from websites. If you're wring all your project's code, that's less of a concern.

        These boards also tend to have more RAM and other built-in resources.

  • Wow, imagine a Beowolf Cluster of these!

  • by hammeraxe ( 1635169 ) on Friday October 04, 2013 @02:09PM (#45037791)

    Ummmm, what about the most important features of the arduino: digital I/O pins, analog input and PWM output? It looks like there might be some in the picture, but the specs don't mention anything at all...

    • by pjrc ( 134994 )

      The datasheet, linked from this Slashdot article, shows a full-page diagram on page 3. On the left side are the usual 6 analog inputs. On the right side are the usual 14 digital pins, with 6 clearly indicated as PWM capable.

      On page 4, it says:

      14 digital input/output pins, of which 6 can be used as Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) outputs;
      o Each of the 14 digital pins on Galileo can be used as an input or output, using pinMode(),

  • Are the specifications for communication protocol over the JTAG port open? Will projects like OpenOCD ( have enough information to support this?

    Sure they might have used a standard connector. But the devil is in the details.

  • by bugs2squash ( 1132591 ) on Friday October 04, 2013 @02:47PM (#45038137)
    Imagine what would happen if Atmel could develop a low cost solution that could emulate this in hardware.
  • Sorry but the hardware isn't open unless you can build it without involving Intel. I highly doubt that Intel is publishing the documents needed to go to another fab (e.g. TSMC, Samsung) to have the SoC made.
  • by randomErr ( 172078 ) <ervin,kosch&gmail,com> on Friday October 04, 2013 @02:50PM (#45038161) Journal
    Can it run FreeDOS? That would make certain development much easier for me.
  • by coolmoose25 ( 1057210 ) on Friday October 04, 2013 @02:54PM (#45038223)

    "Although Intel is Chipzilla, the company can't help but extend its reach just a bit into the exciting and growing world of DIY makers and hobbyists." []

    The 4004 gave rise to the z80, the 8008, 8080, and 8086 chips that before the IBM PC came along were mainstays in the hobbyist community. It was all hobbyist, all the time back then, and heady days. So wouldn't it be fairer to say that Intel is going back to its roots rather than "reaching just a bit" in the DIY and hobbyist arena?

  • by jcdr ( 178250 ) on Friday October 04, 2013 @03:24PM (#45038539)

    Sorry for Intel, but the just announced Arduino Tre is far better from any point of views. []

    * Run faster than the Intel solution: An Atom core yield the same code execution speed as an Cortex-A8 core at the same frequency, so 1GHz A8 will easily catch on a 0.4GHz ia32).
    * Cheaper and simpler to design on a custom board: just look at the chip package and at the PCB routing...
    * Simpler power supply design, again just look at the schematics and at the PCB.
    * HDMI output.
    * More I/O, and all are integrated directly into the two CPUs, not using peripheral chips with low bandwidth.
    * Already supported by larges communities, for the two processors.

    Intel is just trying to enter a new market with a big buzz, but there actual solution still far away from the concurrent solutions. There just don't understand that in the embedded market nobody is bounded to the ia32 instructions set. Integration is the key and there Quark X1000 don't bring anything new on the table.

    • by innot ( 582843 )

      The Arduino Tre looks interesting, but it basically is an Arduino Uno bolted on top of a Raspberry Pi, while the Intel Galileo is a Raspberry Pi (sans HDMI) emulating an Arduino Uno.

      I think neither will be much of a success because they will be too expensive due to the cruft they carry around to ensure a compatibility that is IMHO not needed.

    • That's true, but even in the embedded market, a major advantage of IA32 is that in addition to Linux & NetBSD, which is common, there is also Minix and FreeDOS. The last is one of the first OSs ever used and allows direct access to the hardware, simplifying a lot of stuff. Is something like that there on ARM or any other RISC platform as well? One thing that QuarkX1000 brings is that an OS can be ported and made to support all the simple functions that some OSs miss out on (HURD, I'm looking at you w
      • by jcdr ( 178250 )

        I do embedded systems since early 1990 and while I have see some machines running DOS at this time, I never see for at least the full last decade a new design based on DOS-like OS. And a simple Linux driver allow direct access to the hardware on any platform probably even more easily as you can do on a DOS-like OS because Linux provides already a lot of services to make drivers as simple as possible, witch is really not the case of a DOS-like where you basically have to write everything by yourself. Now if

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      Which all completely misses the point of the Arduino. It was never about performance, it was about making things easy, and having a community build around a common platform. The people who use it just want to write some logic that glues libraries and shields together.

      There are many, many better options if you need more power or flexibility. All these spin-off devices are fine but always need more knowledge to understand and use. Traditional Arduino users aren't at that level, and people who are don't need t

      • by jcdr ( 178250 )

        Yes Arduino is about making things easy and the hug success of the project prove that it fit this goal very well. Now there is no reason to not bring this feature to more powerful platforms. Actually, this is still not as easy to code basic hardware interaction on Linux. There is no a standard and simple API to do on Linux what you can actually do on a Adruino. There is project like Comedi, but there are not focused on SoC. There is almost a different IO API for every SoC on Linux, even it there is ongoing

  • by innot ( 582843 ) on Friday October 04, 2013 @03:46PM (#45038733)

    While I like the idea of having an Arduino compatible board running Linux to do some more advanced projects, I don't understand what drove Intel to force this board to be Arduino compatible. The Quark processor is not designed for this sort of stuff as it has neither a sufficient number of GPIO pins nor any ADCs. It sure has a lot of interfaces (SPI, I2C, PCI-E, SD-Card, Serial etc.), but it lacks the things that are useful for a hacker project.

    So they had to include a separate GPIO extender chip (over a slow I2C interconnect) as well as an separate ADC. The Quark SoC has some 15 GPIO Pins, the extender another 40. But of those 55 Pins only 20 GPIO pins are actually available on the Arduino shield pins -- the rest is used for all the Muxes to switch pins between the ADC, the GPIO Extender and the Quark SoC to emulate the flexibility of the Arduino AVR processor.

    While I haven't looked at the actual PCB schematic, I think the board layout is also strange. The ADC is on the opposite side from the analog input pins, meaning that all analog signals have to travel a long distance in the vicinity of some high speed digital signals. And the GPIO Extender Chip is on the opposite corner from all the digital output pins.

    This, together with the BGA devices (SoC, RAM), seem to indicate that this is at least an 6 layer board which will make it hard to clone this design -- something that IMHO has contributed to the success of the Arduino. The Schematic [] for this board has 27 pages compared to the single page of the Arduino Uno []

    It seems that this Board is designed more as a competitor to the Raspberry Pi than to the Arduino, both in price and in features.The Arduino compatibility is just some marketing thing which makes the board overly complex and more expensive than it needs to be.

    But hey, it sure must be fun to employ a few million transistors and a full blown operating system to run the Arduino Blink demo :-)

  • Yes, let's see if we can fool everyone into thinking this is the same as arduino. Even though the reason behind arduino's success is that it is (L)GPL licensed.
  • by lkcl ( 517947 ) <> on Saturday October 05, 2013 @12:05AM (#45042037) Homepage

    i did an analysis of the Quark X1000 based on the Galileo schematics, and the assessment isn't good: []

    the key failure is that there's absolutely no I/O multiplexing. given that intel actually designed the PXA series of ARM processors before selling them to marvell you have to wonder what was going through the minds of the engineers behind the Quark X1000.

    the main points of the above link which automatically and very unfortunately make the Quark X1000 a complete failure are:

    1) there's no video outputs, and the only options are USB2 (DisplayLink with no 3D capabilities and too slow to do video), SPI (for character-based LCDs) or PCIe. to match a 0.4 watt processor with a 20 watt 3D PCIe Graphics card is completely insane. there are therefore no good options for video display of *any* kind.

    2) there's no "industrial" or "embedded" style GPIO. no CAN bus, no PWM, no ADC, no DAC. there's also no audio. there's not even I2S and there's certainly no SPDIF. so to make up for that lack you'd have to add something like a Cortex M0, M3 or M4 embedded controller... and given that those usually come with built-in Power Management, NAND Flash and SDRAM, for the majority of purposes where you'd need to use an embedded controller with a Quark as a GPIO expander you'd be better off, cost-wise, with... just the embedded controller.

    overall then there really aren't *any* markets that this chip could be useful for. if i'm wrong about that, and anyone can actually think of good uses for it, please do speak up.

"You can have my Unix system when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers." -- Cal Keegan