NUREMBERG, GERMANY — At Embedded World last week chip maker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) announced an expansion of its Embedded G-series systems on chip (SoCs) to span a range of applications from "top to bottom" in gaming, imaging, industrial control, and other common x86 applications. In addition to the release of an entry-level G-series line — the LX family — AMD has announced two new 3rd-generation G-series lines that offer pin compatibility with AMD's higher-performing Embedded R-series SoCs. The result is an ability for designers to scale their software across broad performance, price, and power alternatives.
The LX family targets applications that need high performance with advanced multimedia and display capabilities at relatively low power. The chips contain two of AMD's 64-bit "Jaguar" x86 cores, the Radeon Graphics Core Next (GCN), and a security processor along with error correcting memory. Targeting retail PoS terminals, industrial control, digital signage, and arcade gaming applications, LX family devices are able to handle DirectX 11.2, OpenGL4.3, and OpenCL 1.2 media formatting as well as multi-format encoding and decoding of media. They are also available in extended temperature versions for demanding industrial environments. To give existing users an upgrade path, the LX family uses the same FT3 socket as its Embedded-G series predecessor, the "Steppe Eagle." AMD expects to make the devices available later this month.
The AMD G-Series LX family provides high performance at relatively low power for industrial, gaming, and point-of-sale applications.
The other two new families go a step further in performance, taking the Embedded-G series into a third generation that offers pin compatibility with the highest-performance R-series to maximize design flexibility. Together with the LX family, these new offerings give developers the ability to span entry level to mainstream gaming, signage, and industrial control.
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The new devices in the high-performance "I" family have up to two "Excavator" x86 cores, up to four GCN graphics units, and full 4K x 2K H.265 decode capability with up to 10-bit compatibility. They also support up to two channels of DDR4/DDR3 memory, allowing designs made today to migrate to new memory devices as they become more cost effective. Devices in the "J" family target lower power operation than the I series at a slight reduction in performance. Offering two Excavator and two GCN cores, these devices consume only 6w-10W. The first devices in the I and J series are available now, with additional variations to become available during the next several months.
Colin Cureton, AMD's director of product management, pointed out in the press briefing announcing these devices that the new devices address the needs of product designs with long-term operating life. Both the I-family and J-family are pin, package, operating system, and application software compatible with the current R-series, allowing the creation of product variations that trade off cost, power, and performance without requiring software changes. In addition, the I-family shares BIOS compatibility with the R-series. In addition, Cureton noted, all three families have AMD's commitment to a planned 10-year product availability. So developers can continue to use the familiar and popular x86 processor architecture for another decade without worrying about product obsolescence or end of life.
—Rich Quinnell covers industrial control for EE Times. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org,