The AMD Embedded G-Series platform being introduced tonight is the world's first Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) for embedded systems. AMD has had quite a bit of history of supporting x86 based embedded systems. Starting with the Geode processor in 2003 (obtained from National Semiconductors and used in the OLPC project), AMD went on to introduce AMD64 technology into the embedded markets with the AMD Opteron processors in 2005. In 2007, the addition of graphics and other chipset options by AMD enabled comprehensive embedded solutions. In 2009, AMD introduced BGA (Ball Grid Array) packaging to meet customer demand.

At CES 2011, they gave us a sneak peek into the Embedded G-Series platform based on Brazos. AMD has increased performance and features in every generation while bringing down the power, area and price barriers for x86 in the embedded market.

The embedded market space is dominated by SoCs based on RISC processors such as ARM and MIPS. For most power sensitive embedded applications, PowerPC and x86 based solutions do not make the cut. x86, in particular, has been the dark horse due to the excessive power consumption for systems based on that architecture. Process shrinks have helped lower the power consumption numbers. However, we are still a few nodes away from when the x86 based solutions can really compete with RISC based solutions on the power front.

In the meantime, solutions like what we are seeing from AMD today integrate premium graphics capabilities within power envelops similar to what x86 used to consume in the previous generation—so you get CPU+GPU instead of just a CPU. RISC based embedded solutions may still be winning on the power front; however, for applications where slightly higher power consumption is not a concern, the x86 threat from the AMD embedded G-Series platform can become a cause for concern. MIPS is usually popular in such applications (set top boxes, digital signage etc.) and they will be facing credible opposition with AMD's integrated graphics capabilities.

The AMD Embedded G-Series
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  • pinki - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    omg go AMD Reply
  • Skribbel - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    Congrats on the first post and yes, I agree, AMD is bringing some interesting new tech to the embedded market table. Intel's Atom is in dire need of competition in all of its market segments to encourage less blissfully stagnant development.

    This: "AMD is putting up this solution against the Embedded Atom series models from Intel, promising better footprint (lesser number of balls to route)."

    I like the idea of a better footprint, but if AMD is going to complete, they need to have as many balls as possible! More balls are better, I say!
    Reply
  • MeanBruce - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    Tell him what he's won Bob!

    First poster should receive a $20 gift card/code from Newegg! ;)
    Reply
  • Brunnis - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    This article reads like a commercial. Not what I've come to expect from Anandtech.

    Also, isn't "APU" a marketing word for AMD's Fusion? In light of that, the way the article uses the word also adds to the feeling of it being more of a commercial than anything else.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    It is always good to listen to user feedback. After all, AnandTech can't be where it is right now without its readers.

    That said, I am sure AMD's 'commercial' wouldn't contain stuff like:


    The embedded market space is dominated by SoCs based on RISC processors such as ARM and MIPS........x86 based solutions do not make the cut. x86, in particular, has been the dark horse due to the excessive power consumption for systems based on that architecture. Process shrinks have helped lower the power consumption numbers. However, we are still a few nodes away from when the x86 based solutions can really compete with RISC based solutions on the power front...



    ...However, we do have some concerns about the capability of the UVD engine in the platform. While the marketing slides indicated that Blu-Ray titles can be smoothly played back, it also had another entry indicating that 1080p video playback support availability was only in the 18W processors and higher....



    ...AMD doesn't really have any credible competitor to stand up against Intel SoCs such as the CE4100 / CE4200. We believe that the AMD APU would be a wonderful base for a SoC solution in that market segment. However, the additional Hudson hub makes it difficult to get small form factor systems...


    I believe I have presented a balanced view of today's announcement.
    Reply
  • Brunnis - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    Not all of it sounds like a commercial, but paragraphs like these don't really belong outside of a company press release:

    "The APUs are ideal solutions for thin clients, medical imaging, point of sale and kiosk systems, gaming machines, digital signage and single board computing systems. They integrate a multi-core CPU and a GPU sub-system on the same die to give a general-purpose, programmable scalar and vector processor core with heterogeneous capabilities."

    "AMD is showing a strong commitment to the x86 embedded market. The G-Series platform is the world’s first and only APU for embedded systems. Cutting-edge AMD Fusion technology brings a premier solution for a new generation of differentiated, small form factor embedded systems that consume less power, yet deliver improved performance and features, including an outstanding visual experience compared to other x86 based embedded systems."
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    Thanks for pointing out the 'offending' content. Let me edit it to convey the points succintly. Reply
  • FATCamaro - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    I absolutely agree with Brunnis.Those two paragraphs he indicates sound like a press release, AND are somewhat in contradiction to your own criticisms of the parts above. Reply
  • vol7ron - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    I don't agree absolutely :)

    I like a little extra information in the read, I like having some background as to possible systems in mind. And I think I could learn to live with phrases like "ideal solutions" and "cutting-edge", even though they might be emotionally driven.

    Keep in mind the share price keeps falling and AMD may not exist too much longer - that's not a good thing for anyone. Competition is a requirement.
    Reply
  • HibyPrime1 - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    I gotta agree with vol7ron here.

    I read the spreadsheet first before the article, and was thinking to myself, what exactly are they targeting here? Too much power for ultra-low power systems (microwaves, phones, routers), and they already have a line in place for netbooks/tablets.

    Reading the first 'offending' paragraph put in perspective what they were shooting for. The second paragraph was a little less helpful, but AMD does need all the help it can get here.
    Reply

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