AMD Unveils G-Series APU Platform For Embedded Systems

AMD on Wednesday at the Taiwan Embedded Forum unveiled its first accelerated processor units (APUs) for the embedded systems market, which it expects to release later in the first quarter of 2011.

AMD's G-series platform for Fusion APUs, integrated CPU-GPU technology that launched earlier this month at CES 2011, brings a GPU with Direct X 11 support and an X86 CPU to embedded systems such as digital signage, military systems, gaming machines, thin clients, point-of-sale systems, and medical imaging.

The X86 core, codenamed "Bobcat," will be featured in a number of APUs in AMD's product roadmap as well as the G-series platform. Bobcat features 1MB L2 cache and 64-bit Floating Point Unit.

AMD's G-Series APUs emphasize low power consumption and offer up to 1.6 GHz of processing speed, 9 to 18 W of TDP, and a third generation unified video decoder. It includes power management features such as c6 and power gating, and DDR3 memory with support for 64 bit channel and 2 DIMMs.

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John Fruehe, director of product marketing for server and embedded at AMD, said in an interview with CRN that the processors in the embedded market are designed with a specific purpose and tend to be built around a longer design life cycle.

Fruehe said APUs for the embedded market are designed for simplicity, with fewer components and connections between boards. In addition to integrating the technology, the APUs for embedded systems are cost-efficient and small -- about the size of a penny -- which helps with smaller form factor devices, he said.

Fruehe said embedded technology will soon be available in form factors "the size of a light switch," whereas in the past, airflow was needed to cool processors, and less board space was available. This, combined with the G-series APUs lower power consumption, is expanding AMD's opportunities, Fruehe said.

"We're seeing AMD being invited to a lot of the parties that we weren't invited to in the past," Fruehe said. "We've gotten a record number of design wins and a record number of platforms with embedded just as you saw with APUs."

Next: AMD'S APU Roadmap

Fruehe referred to the Brazos APU platform as an example of a product line that has brought AMD into new areas by bringing down costs and size as well as power requirements. He said the same thing will happen in the embedded market as AMD brings new designs with integrated graphics. He said AMD's embedded strategy will follow the company's APU roadmaps.

"You will see us going down the same path," Fruehe said.

With integrated CPU and GPU technology on a single-die, manufacturers can avoid the leap-frogging of product roadmaps and product availability and instead offer cutting-edge CPU and GPU technology available in a single package.

"It's the way the world has always worked," he said, "but now something else is on the horizon."