SoC processors target demanding embedded applications

22nd October 2015
Nat Bowers


AMD has announced its R-series SoC processors that establish performance leadership across a targeted range of embedded application market requirements for digital signage, retail signage, medical imaging, electronic gaming, media storage, communications and networking.

The processors incorporate the latest AMD 64-bit x86 CPU core, plus 3rd gen Graphics Core Next GPU architecture and state-of-the-art power management for reduced energy consumption. Combined, these AMD innovations and technologies provide industry-leading graphics performance and key embedded features for next-gen designs.

The single-chip SoC architecture enables simplified, small form factor board and system designs from AMD customers and a number of third party development platform providers, while providing astounding graphics and multimedia performance, including capability for hardware-accelerated decode of 4K video playback. With a robust suite of peripheral support and interface options, high-end AMD Radeon graphics designed for the industry's first Heterogeneous Systems Architecture 1.0 certification and support for the latest DDR4 memory, the AMD R-series SoC addresses the needs of a wide range of markets and customers.

Jim McGregor, Principal Analyst, TIRIAS Research, said: "AMD continues its push into x86 embedded platforms and that's paying off with an increasing number of customers and applications. There is a need for immersive graphics, high-quality visualisation and parallel computing in an increasing number of embedded applications. Across these fronts, the AMD Embedded R-series SoC is a very compelling solution."

Scott Aylor, Corporate Vice President and General Manager, AMD Embedded Solutions, commented: "With so much momentum around immersive experiences, especially for visual and parallel computing, the embedded industry needs a high-performance, low-power and efficient architecture with superior graphics and compute capabilities. Our new AMD Embedded R-series SoC is a strong match for these needs in a variety of industries including digital signage, retail signage, medical imaging, electronic gaming machines, media storage, communications and networking. The platform offers a strong value proposition for this next generation of high-performance, low-power embedded designs."

With the latest generation AMD Radeon graphics as well as the latest multimedia technology integrated on-chip, the R-series SoC provides enhanced GPU performance and support for HEVC for full 4K decode and DirectX 12. The devices offer 22% improved GPU performance when compared to the 2nd gen AMD Embedded R-series APU and a 58% advantage against the Intel Broadwell Core i7 when running graphics-intensive benchmarks. Specifications for the integrated AMD Radeon graphics include:

  • Up to eight compute units and two rendering blocks;
  • GPU clock speeds up to 800MHz resulting in 819GFLOPS; and
  • DirectX 12 support.

Customers in industries such as machine learning, medical imaging and digital signage often need to execute compute intensive, parallel processing algorithms. HSA is a standardised platform design that unlocks the performance and power efficiency of the GPU as a parallel compute engine. It allows developers to more easily and efficiently apply the hardware resources in today's SoCs, enabling applications to run faster and at lower power across a range of computing platforms. The AMD Embedded R-series platform incorporates a full HSA implementation which balances the performance between the CPU and GPU. Leveraging the heterogeneous unified memory architecture allows for reduced latencies and maximises memory access to both the CPU and GPU to increase performance.

The AMD Embedded R-series SoC was architected with embedded customers in mind and includes features such as industrial temperature support, dual-channel DDR3 or DDR4 support with ECC, Secure Boot, and a broad range of processor options to meet an array of embedded needs. Additionally, configurable TDP allows designers to adjust the TDPs from 12 to 35W in 1W increments for greater flexibility. The AMD Embedded R-series SoC also has a 35% reduced footprint when compared to the 2nd gen AMD Embedded R-series APU, making it an excellent choice for small form factor applications. Key features and specifications include:

  • First embedded processor with dual-channel 64-bit DDR4 or DDR3 with ECC, with speeds up to DDR4-2400 and DDR3-2133, and support for 1.2V DDR4 and 1.5V/1.35V DDR3;
  • Dedicated AMD secure processor supports secure boot with AMD hardware validated boot and initiates trusted boot environment before starting x86 cores; and
  • High-performance integrated FCH featuring PCIe Gen3 USB3.0, SATA3, SD, GPIO, SPI, I2S, I2C & UART.

The AMD Embedded R-series SoC provides industry-leading ten-year longevity of supply. The processors support Microsoft Windows 7, Windows Embedded 7 and 8 Standard, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 and AMD's all-open Linux driver including Mentor Embedded Linux from Mentor Graphics and their Sourcery CodeBench IDE development tools.

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