"Intel is rarely the first choice for CPUs these days in embedded markets..."
It depends on which particular bit of the market. I can assure you that in the high performance embedded market (radar, etc) it's Intel all the way for newish projects. That's simply because Freescale (now NXP) failed to deliver a decent PowerPC with decent math performance. Not surprisingly I suppose, the market is perhaps too small.
Once upon a time I can remember it being the other way round. I can remember 400 MHz 7410 PowerPCs being way quicker than 4 GHz Pentium 4s (mostly down to Altivec, the PowerPC equivalent of SSE). In my opinion Altivec is still better than SSE, but the first Nehalem Xeons were just monstrous enough to overwhelm anything the PowerPC world was selling, especially as IBM canned the Cell processor.
So in short, if you want a lot of embedded CPU maths the only choice left in the market is Intel.
Which also implies Linux. The Linux kernel works better on Intel's big chips (Xeons, etc) than VxWorks apparently.
Embedding Linux (with the premp-rt patches) on Xeons and making the whole thing real time is really, really difficult. It can be done however, and these days it is about the only option left if you want to crunch a lot of numbers.
Freescale did very well out of the telecommunications market with their PowerQICC range without Altivec.