Hardware Partners Cheer AMD's New R-Series SoC For Embedded Applications

AMD Wednesday revealed its newest SoC as part of its R-Series for embedded applications in the x86 market, driving opportunities for partners dealing with embedded trends such as immersive graphics, parallel computing and high-quality visualization.

The system-on-a-chip, code-named Merlin Falcon, contains a 30 percent smaller footprint on the motherboard, enabling it work for small form factors across specialized industries such as gaming machines in casinos, communications infrastructure and medical imaging, according to AMD.

"The product we're launching is a response to some of the embedded trends across the industry we've been seeing, such as 4K, the growth of x86 and immersive experiences," said Colin Cureton, director of marketing at AMD, Sunnyvale, Calif. "In the embedded market, these trends taking place lend themselves nicely to AMD's technologies and capabilities."

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AMD's new 37mm x 29mm BGA SoC contains a larger L1 data cache, new instruction support, and heterogeneous system architecture (HSA) support, which enables popular programming languages to go parallel.

On the graphics side, the SoC contains AMD Radeon graphics and high-efficiency video coding for full 4K decode and DirectX 12 support.

For AMD's hardware partners, the chip's graphics capabilities of driving high resolution for multiscreen applications, as well as scalable thermal design power (TDP), which allows designers to adjust TDP from 12W to 35W in 1W increments for greater flexibility, are some of its most significant features for customers.

Dan Demers, director of marketing at Congatec, a San Diego-based AMD partner, said he suspects he'll see predominant usage of the R-Series by the medical community.

"AMD's great graphics are good for medical imaging, MRI systems or portable ultrasounds," he said. "They will want to take advantage of the increased memory and GPU features … in the graphics area there are a ton of improvements. Just the versatility of the GPU will make a lot of people excited."

Craig Stapleton, product director at Advantech, a Milpitas, Calif.-based AMD hardware partner, sees opportunities for his customer base in the casino and entertainment gaming space due to the CPU's compatibility with multiple screens and 4K resolutions.

"AMD's R-Series is a big step up in what its integrated graphics can do as far as driving high resolution for multi-screened applications," said Stapleton. "This coincides with some of the trends we're seeing with slot machines, such as more screens and larger screens on the machines. The requirements for graphics hardware are just getting bigger and bigger."

AMD's new series also contains DDR4 support for platform longevity. Like AMD's other platforms, its R-Series GPU and CPU work as one through unified memory, memory coherency and context switching.

Merlin Falcon is also 100 percent open source for Linux Stack.