Enterprise Hardware

AMD Revs System-on-a-Chip for Embedded Solutions

AMD Revs System-on-a-Chip for Embedded Solutions
April 23, 2013 2:23PM

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"Embedded computing is a viable and potentially very lucrative market and makes great sense for AMD to focus its potential here," said analyst Charles King. "It's a crowded field. But AMD and Intel are bringing a more conventional microprocessor approach to these solutions as compared to what very often were one-off highly customized system-on-a-chip solutions."

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AMD today unveiled a new system-on-a-chip platform. The AMD Embedded G-Series SOC platform is based on the firm's next-generation Jaguar CPU architecture and AMD Radeon 8000 Series graphics.

This new solution is part of AMD's 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 electronics, from smart TVs and set-top boxes to interactive digital signage and informational kiosks.

This all feeds into the concept of Surround Computing, an area AMD has pegged as a growth spot for the computing industry. SOC solutions that offer smaller size, higher performance and more energy-efficient processors are part of the Surround Computing paradigm.

Standardized Approach

Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told us the embedded computing space is growing by leaps and bounds. Indeed, what people call "embedded computational capabilities" are finding a way into devices at every turn, from smart watches to sensors that are deployed in deep ocean, collecting weather data.

"Embedded computing is a viable and potentially very lucrative market and makes great sense for AMD to focus its potential here," King said. "It's a crowded field. But AMD and Intel are bringing a more conventional microprocessor approach to these solutions as compared to what very often were one-off highly customized system-on-a-chip solutions from other vendors."

AMD's investments in micro-architecture have made it possible. Graphics technologies from AMD's ATI acquisition are also being leveraged, in part, in the new solutions. At the end of the day, King said, AMD is aiming for a more standardized approach with processors that can be leveraged for a variety of use cases.

Internet of Things

AMD said the new Embedded G-Series SOC platform delivers up to 113 percent improved CPU performance compared with the prior generation Embedded G-Series APU, and up to a 125 percent advantage compared with the Intel Atom when running multiple industry-standard compute-intensive benchmarks.

For embedded applications, the new platform also includes support for DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.2x and OpenCL 1.22 that enables parallel processing and high-performance graphics processing. According to AMD, this approach yields up to a 20 percent graphics improvement over the previous AMD Embedded G-Series APU and a greater than five times advantage over Intel Atom when running multiple industry-standard graphics-intensive benchmarks.

"As the Internet of Things permeates every aspect of our life, from work to home and everything in between, devices require high performance, I/O connectivity and energy efficiency in smaller packages," said Colin Barnden, principal analyst at 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," Barnden said. "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."

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