We're no strangers to AMD's embedded processors, designed for specialist applications such as casino gaming and dashboard infotainment systems. But this latest announcement of an updated G-Series processor reveals something totally unexpected. It's not just that the chip contains four Jaguar cores of PlayStation 4 fame, or that it also includes a Radeon 8000 GPU and I/O module on a single piece of silicon -- although that's all interesting enough. The key thing is actually the "X" in the lower right corner of the logo, which signifies that this is an x86 chip of the type we'd normally expect from AMD. The question is this: Why bother even mentioning the "X" when everyone knows AMD is an x86 stalwart already? Read on and we'll explain its true significance.
The answer, according to AMD's Arun Iyengar, is that AMD is paving the way for an ARM-designed CPU as part of this embedded series. Whereas the X-branded x86 chips will serve power envelopes of 9W all the way up to 25W, future A-branded versions could bring power consumption right down to less than 3W:
"Ultimately, we're going to have x86 and ARM in our product portfolio."
This is a huge deal for AMD, which has so far missed out on the whole low-power processor boom, never pushing any lower than the 4.5W Temash tablet chip (which works great, but isn't even out yet).
Although we've heard about the company's "ambidextrous" approach to using ARM-based chips in relation to data data centers and security modules, this mention of a G-Series A is the first time an ARM-Radeon combo has been suggested as a main application processor. And if we accept that AMD was never really in a strong enough position to go up against the likes of Qualcomm or Intel with its own mobile-class designs, which it sold to Qualcomm in 2008, then we reckon this move is better late than never.
In the more distant future, this could be important for consumers too. If we indulge in a bit of wanton speculation, it's possible to envisage that one day we'll be able to buy a tablet that runs Android or another ARM-optimized OS, that matches up to any Exynos- or Snapdragon-based device in terms of battery life, and that also offers AMD's particular emphasis on graphics and parallel processing. Alas, AMD isn't ready to announce any such consumer product right now -- or indeed any specific ARM-based SoC -- but that "X" in the logo is an intriguing statement of intent.
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AMD Targets High-Growth, Embedded Markets with New AMD Embedded G-Series System-on-Chip
High performance, energy-efficient quad-core x86 design fuels Surround Computing era
SAN JOSE, Calif., April 23, 2013 - DESIGN West - AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced at DESIGN West the new AMD Embedded G-Series System-on-Chip (SOC) platform, a single-chip solution based on the AMD next-generation "Jaguar" CPU architecture and AMD Radeon™ 8000 Series graphics. The new AMD Embedded G-Series SOC platform further signifies a strategic push to focus on high-growth markets outside the PC industry, with an emphasis on embedded systems.
Embedded systems are increasingly driving intelligence into new areas of our lives across smart TVs and set-top-boxes to interactive digital signage and informational kiosks. This supports greater productivity and connectivity and is expected to be a strong driver for Surround Computing, an area of substantial growth in the computing industry. Among the forces that are enabling this next generation computing era are single-chip, SOC solutions that offer smaller size, higher performance and more energy efficient processors.
The AMD Embedded G-Series SOC platform sets the new bar for SOC design offers up to 113 percent improved CPU performance compared to the prior generation AMD Embedded G-Series APU, and up to 125 percent advantage compared to the Intel Atom when running multiple industry-standard compute intensive benchmarks.1 For embedded applications, the new platform also includes support for DirectX® 11.1, OpenGL 4.2x and OpenCL™ 1.22 that enable parallel processing and high-performance graphics processing, yielding up to 20 percent graphics improvement over the previous AMD Embedded G-Series APU and greater than 5x advantage over Intel Atom when running multiple industry-standard graphics-intensive benchmarks.
"We have built a treasure trove of industry-leading IP in processors, graphics and multimedia, along with the infrastructure to combine these building blocks into unsurpassed, embedded SOC solutions," said Arun Iyengar, vice president and general manager, AMD Embedded Solutions. "With a 33 percent smaller footprint 4, low power consumption and exceptional performance, the new AMD Embedded G-Series SOC sets the bar for content-rich, multimedia and traditional workload processing that is ideal for a broad variety of embedded applications."
The new processor family offers superior performance per watt in the low-power x86-compatible product category with 9W – 25W options5. It includes:
• enterprise-class Error-Correction Code (ECC) memory support,
• industrial temperature range of -40°C to +85°C and available with dual or quad-core CPUs,
• discrete-class AMD Radeon™ GPU, and
• I/O controller.
The AMD Embedded G-Series SOC combines dedicated resources that enable exceptional performance with shared resources to help reduce power consumption and die space, and provides developers the flexibility to leverage the same board design and software stack for a variety of applications due to the scalability of the new SOC design. The discrete-class graphics integrated into the AMD Embedded G-Series SOC power applications that previously required a separate graphics processor, while the addition of new CPU architecture for the Embedded G-Series SOC platform allows deeply embedded or "headless" systems, which are used in environments without a screen, monitor or input device and do not require a graphics solution.
"As the Internet of Things permeates every aspect of our life from work to home and everything where in-between, devices require high performance, I/O connectivity, and energy efficiency in smaller packages," said Colin Barnden, principal analyst, Semicast Research. "With this new AMD SOC design, the AMD Embedded G-Series platform offers the perfect mix of high performance, a small footprint, low-energy use, and full I/O integration to enable smaller form factor embedded designs, cool and efficient operation, and simplified build requirements. AMD has leapfrogged the competition by combining the power of an X86 CPU, and the performance of AMD Radeon graphics with the I/O interconnect all on a single die."
The AMD Embedded G-Series SOC supports Windows Embedded 8 and Linux, and is designed for myriad embedded applications including industrial control and automation, digital signage, electronic gaming systems, SMB storage, IP-TV, medical and network appliances, set-top-boxes and more. AMD will ship the AMD G-Series SOC platform with general availability in the second quarter of 2013, and target applications with a comprehensive ecosystem of industry-leading embedded solution providers supporting and/or announcing market-ready products powered by the AMD Embedded G-Series SOC.
Developer Support and Product Features:
Developers working with the AMD Embedded G-Series SOC can implement remote management, virtualization and security capabilities to help reduce deployment costs and increase security and reliability of their AMD Embedded G-Series SOC-based platform through:
• AMD DAS 1.0 featuring DASH 1.1
• AMD Virtualization™ technology
• Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2 support
Next-generation CPU core
• Next-generation "Jaguar" core with innovative, new shared L2 Cache
• Enterprise-class feature of ECC and fast memory support
Excellent AMD Radeon™ graphics performance per watt
• Enhanced Universal Video Decode (UVD) 3 hardware acceleration (H.264, VC-1, MPEG2 etc.) and new video encode capability not available in previous AMD Embedded G-Series APU
• Power efficiency enhancement with clock gating to contribute to overall lower power consumption
Advanced GPU enables parallel processing and high-performance graphics
• Heterogeneous computing for industrial control and automation, communications and other processor heavy applications: OpenCL enables CPU and GPU parallel processing, which benefits applications development in these areas
• Graphics (DirectX 11, OpenGL) and dual independent display; high-resolution support for a superb visual experience
• Expands software development options and extends application lifetime with advanced graphics APIs
Ideal platform for low-power and high-performance designs
• For Industrial Control and Automation: low-power and heterogeneous computing advantage enabled by the integrated GPU deliver more than 150 GFLOPS of compute performance over and above the compute capability of the x86 CPU cores6
• For Digital Signage: eye-catching, high-definition multimedia content delivery connected through a variety of display technologies (DP, HDMI™, VGA, LVDS)
• For Electronic Gaming Machines: dedicated hardware acceleration engines for video decode (UVD) and encode (VCE) as well as digital content management (SAMU)
• For SMB storage: high-performance SOC in a small form factor with a myriad of integrated USB and SATA I/O enables a fan-less design, reducing system cost
• Visit the AMD Embedded G-Series SOC platform site
• Visit the AMD Embedded Solutions blog
• Watch a summary video about the AMD Embedded G-Series SOC
• Get technical support at the AMD Embedded Developer Support site
• For more AMD Embedded products, visit the AMD-Based Embedded Product Catalog
AMD (NYSE: AMD) is a semiconductor design innovator leading the next era of vivid digital experiences with its ground-breaking AMD Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) that power a wide range of computing devices. AMD's server computing products are focused on driving industry-leading cloud computing and virtualization environments. AMD's superior graphics technologies are found in a variety of solutions ranging from game consoles, PCs to supercomputers. For more information, visit http://www.amd.com.
AMD, the AMD Arrow logo and combinations thereof, are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Other names are for informational purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective owners.
AMD GX-415GA scored 209, AMD G-T56N scored 98, and Intel Atom D525 scored 93, based on an average of Sandra Engineering 2011 Dhyrstone, Sandra Engineering 2011 Whetstone and EEMBC CoreMark Multi-thread benchmark results. AMD G-T56N system configuration used iBase MI958 motherboard with 4GB DDR3 and integrated graphics. AMD GX-415GA system configuration used AMD "Larne" Reference Design Board with 4GB DDR3 and integrated graphics. Intel Atom D525 system configuration used MSI MS-A923 motherboard with platform integrated 1GB DDR3 and integrated graphics. All systems running Windows® 7 Ultimate for Sandra Engineering and Ubuntu version 11.10 for EEMBC CoreMark. EMB-37
2 OpenCL 1.2 currently supported in the following operating systems: Microsoft Windows Vista; Microsoft Windows 7; Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 7; Microsoft Windows 8 classic mode; Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 8; Linux(Catalyst drivers). OpenGL 4.2 currently supported in the following operating systems: Microsoft Windows Vista; Microsoft Windows 7; Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 7; Microsoft Windows 8 classic mode; Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 8; Linux(Catalyst drivers). Ongoing support options TBA.
3 AMD GX-415GA scored 864, AMD G-T56N scored 724, and Intel Atom D525 scored 162, based on an average of 3DMark06 1280x1024 and PassMark Performance Test 7.0 2D Graphics Suite benchmark results. AMD G-T56N system configuration used iBase MI958 motherboard with 4GB DDR3 and integrated graphics. AMD GX-415GA system configuration used AMD "Larne" Reference Design Board with 4GB DDR3 and integrated graphics. Intel Atom D525 system configuration used MSI MS-A923 motherboard with platform integrated 1GB DDR3 and integrated graphics. All systems running Windows® 7 Ultimate with DirectX 11.0. EMB-38
4 Calculation: AMD G-Series SOC FT3 BGA package dimension 24.5mm x 24.5mm = 600.25 mm2 SOC; AMD G-Series APU FT1 and Controller Hub two-chip platform: 19mm x 19mm + 23mm x 23mm = 890 mm2; 33% improvement. EMB-40
5 The low-power x86 microprocessor class includes: GX-420CA @ 25W TDP (scored 19); GX415GA @ 15W (25), GX217GA @ 15W (17), GX210HA @ 9W (20), G-T56N @ 18W (12), G-T52R @ 18W (7), G-T40N @9W (14), G-T16R @ 4.5W (19), Intel Atom N270 @ 2.5W (20), Intel Atom D525 @ 13W (9), Intel Atom D2700 @ 10W (12) & Intel Celeron G440 @ 35W (5). Performance score based on an average of scores from the following benchmarks: Sandra Engineering 2011 Dhrystone ALU, Sandra Engineering 2011 Whetstone iSSE3, 3DMark® 06 (1280 x 1024), PassMark Performance Test 7.0 2D Graphics Mark, and EEMBC CoreMark Multi-thread. All systems running Windows® 7 Ultimate for Sandra Engineering, 3DMark® 06 and Passmark. All systems running Ubuntu version 11.10 for EEMBC CoreMark. All configurations used DirectX 11.0. AMD G-Series APU system configurations used iBase MI958 motherboards with 4GB DDR3 and integrated graphics. All AMD G-Series SOC systems used AMD "Larne" Reference Design Board with 4GB DDR3 and integrated graphics. Intel Atom D2700 was tested with Jetway NC9KDL-2700 motherboard, 4GB DDR3 and integrated graphics. Intel Celeron system configuration used MSI H61M-P23 motherboard with 4GB DDR3 and integrated graphics. Intel Atom N270 system configuration used MSI MS-9830 motherboard with maximum supported configuration of 1GB DDR2 (per http://download.intel.com/design/intarch/manuals/320436.pdf,) and Intel GM945 Intel Atom D525 used MSI MS-A923 motherboard with platform integrated 1GB DDR3 and integrated graphics. EMB-36
6 Calculation based on performance of GX-420GA GPU running at 600MHz = 0.6 GHz. 0.6 x 256 FLOPs = 153.6 GFLOPS. EMB-43
This document contains forward-looking statements concerning AMD, the timing and features of AMD's future products, the ability of AMD to win in embedded segments with new APU SOC products in 2013, the benefits from AMD's new technology partnerships and the timing of future products that incorporate AMD's products, which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are commonly identified by words such as "would," "may," "expects," "believes," "plans," "intends," "projects," and other terms with similar meaning. Investors are cautioned that the forward-looking statements in this document are based on current beliefs, assumptions and expectations, speak only as of the date of this document and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations. Risks include the possibility that Intel Corporation's pricing, marketing and rebating programs, product bundling, standard setting, new product introductions or other activities may negatively impact the company's plans; the company may be unable to develop, launch and ramp new products and technologies in the volumes that are required by the market at mature yields on a timely basis; that the company's third party foundry suppliers will be unable to transition its products to advanced manufacturing process technologies in a timely and effective way or to manufacture the company's products on a timely basis in sufficient quantities and using competitive technologies; the company will be unable to obtain sufficient manufacturing capacity or components to meet demand for its products or will not fully utilize its commitment with respect to GLOBALFOUNDRIES microprocessor manufacturing facilities; that customers stop buying the company's products or materially reduce their operations or demand for the company's products; that the company may be unable to maintain the level of investment in research and development that is required to remain competitive; that there may be unexpected variations in the market growth and demand for its products and technologies in light of the product mix that the company may have available at any particular time or a decline in demand; that the company will require additional funding and may be unable to raise sufficient capital on favorable terms, or at all; that global business and economic conditions will not improve or will worsen; that demand for computers will be lower than currently expected; and the effect of political or economic instability, domestically or internationally, on the company's sales or supply chain. Investors are urged to review in detail the risks and uncertainties in the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including but not limited to the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 29, 2012.