Intel® Firmware Support Package Speeds Embedded Development on New Processors

The Intel® Firmware Support Package (Intel FSP) has dramatically cut down the time between the introduction of new silicon and its successful adoption in embedded development.

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Scott Hoot, president of Sage Electronic Engineering

Scott Hoot, president of Sage Electronic Engineering

The Intel FSP has become incredibly important in this timing curve. We are talking about seriously reducing development times and increasing the competitive advantage of the processing power and flexibility of the latest x86 silicon.

Longmont, CO (PRWEB) September 04, 2014

For an industry in which time to market is often not everything, but the only thing, the Intel® Firmware Support Package (Intel FSP) has dramatically cut down the time between the introduction of new silicon and its successful adoption in embedded development.

“The Intel FSP has become incredibly important in this timing curve,” said Scott Hoot, president of Sage Electronic Engineering. “We are talking about seriously reducing development times and increasing the competitive advantage of the processing power and flexibility of the latest x86 silicon.”

Embedded development, which is commonly built around a multitude of unique configurations, still lags behind in the availability of new processors enjoyed by PC and server vendors, but that lag time is steadily decreasing. Single-board computing solutions employing new processors that have historically lagged two to four years behind the processor deployment in the PC industry may now be only six months or less behind.

“With the development of Intel FSP, Intel is enabling the developer to use the open source coreboot® infrastructure to build a boot image that is small. The benefits include a more cost effective hardware BOM (bill of materials) from a smaller flash device and more performance through faster boot up cycle times,” said Intel Internet of Things Group SW Director Mike Carboni.

“The Intel FSP has a standardized API allowing Intel silicon to be initialized using any customized system firmware implementation from open source,” Carboni said. “The implication is this open source firmware solution creates an environment allowing any run time operating systems to efficiently function whether it’s Linux, Android, Windows, Proprietary, RTOS, Hypervisor, or others.”

During the 2014 Intel Developers Forum in San Francisco, Sept. 9 to 11, three technical sessions will be held introducing Intel FSP:

  • A two-hour poster chat, Intel Firmware Support Package for the Internet of Things, from 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday Sept. 9;
  • A one-hour session, Firmware Flexibility Using the Intel® Firmware Support Package, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 11; and
  • A one-hour session, Intel Firmware Support Package for the Internet of Things, from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 11.

The faster boot times and flexibility brought by Intel FSP are important for embedded designers such as Extreme Engineering Solutions (X-ES), which began using the binary for its own single board solutions, but quickly realized the value that Intel FSP brought to the company’s military and aerospace clients.

“MilAero customers have struggled with the limitations of BIOS-based boot loaders such as long boot times, expensive security reviews, and the inability to easily customize the boot process,” said Jeff Porter, director of marketing at X-ES. “Intel Firmware Support Package with open-source bootloaders helps to change that.”

X-ES recently developed a solution for an aerospace client on a Bayley Bay board employing the Intel Atom™ processor E3800 family system on Chip (SoC), formerly codenamed Bay Trail, turning to Sage for a coreboot® initialization through Intel FSP integration. The coreboot-based solution featured a 707-millisecond boot to begin loading either a Windows or Linux operating system and is now available as a SageBIOS™ Board Support Package (BSP).

Sage has also developed a coreboot solution for the Intel Atom processor C2000 product family, formerly known as Rangeley, placing the processor into the network-orientated Painted Gorge reference board using Intel FSP integration for a major business networking firm. Sage has already developed several other SageBIOS™ BSPs using Intel® FSP, including support for Cougar Canyon board with either the second generation Intel Core processor formerly Sandy Bridge or third generation Intel Core processor formerly Ivy Bridge chipset, and the Mohon Peak customer reference board with a Rangeley processor.

About Sage Electronic Engineering
Sage Electronic Engineering, LLC, of Longmont, Colo., is introducing SageXOS, an embedded operating system allowing for remote provisioning of network switches, during the 2014 Intel Developers Forum in San Francisco Sept. 9 to 11. Sage provides customized Board Support Packages marrying open source (including coreboot) solutions with proprietary software, creating streamlined boot solutions that also create flexibility in application. Sage partners with processor manufacturers, including Intel, to provide coreboot solutions for the open source community, as well as developing SageBIOS™ BSPs for customers desiring the flexibility of open source firmware stripped of unnecessary code and backed by rigorously tested solutions.


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