Advanced Micro Devices is launching a new quad-core processor that will be used in embedded markets such as smart TVs, set-top boxes, and digital signs.
The new AMD Embedded G-Series System-on-Chip platform has everything you need for a powerful computer on a single silicon chip for non-PC applications. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based chip maker hopes it will lead to a new generation of smart devices that can display 3D animations and videos quickly and efficiently. Such chips are more important as PC sales begin to decline while other kinds of devices gain momentum.
Rory Read, chief executive of AMD, said in the company’s recent earnings call that 20 percent of AMD’s sales will come from semi-custom and embedded design wins by the fourth quarter. Semi-custom chips include processors for video game consoles such as the PlayStation 4, which will use an AMD APU.
Kamal Khouri, director of embedded products at AMD, said in an interview with VentureBeat that the chip will be able to run Windows Embedded 8 and Linux software.
“This is a key step toward execution of our strategy,” Khouri said. “We have seen a graphics revolution where advanced graphics has moved from the PC into many devices. The next revolution is in the surround computing era.”
AMD’s embedded chips are aimed at smart TVs, set-top boxes, digital signs, information kiosks, slot machines, storage appliances, and industrial applications. These markets will drive demand for Surround Computing, or machines that synthesize data from sensors, gesture controls, and mobile computing devices. Chips like AMD’s new device are the brains of increasingly intelligent web-connected devices.
And this one has a pretty good brain. The G-Series chip has 113 percent better central processing unit (CPU) performance per processor core compared to the prior generation chip. It is also 125 percent faster than a comparable Intel Atom chip, according to AMD. The graphics performance is about 20 percent better over the prior chip and four times faster than the Intel Atom. The AMD chip combines graphics, microprocessor and input-output functions on a single chip.
The new processor family operates at power consumption levels of 9 watts to 25 watts. It includes AMD’s new code-named Jaguar CPU cores.
“As the Internet of Things permeates every aspect of our life from work to home and everything where in-between, devices require high performance, I/O connectivity, and energy efficiency in smaller packages,” said Colin Barnden, principal analyst, Semicast Research, in a statement. “With AMD’s new SoC design, the AMD Embedded G-Series platform offers the perfect mix of high performance, a small footprint, low-energy use, and full I/O integration to enable smaller form factor embedded designs, cool and efficient operation, and simplified build requirements. AMD has leapfrogged the competition by combining the power of an X86 CPU, and the performance of AMD Radeon graphics with the I/O interconnect all on a single die.”
Such devices will make it easy for machines to respond to a user in a natural and fluid way, Khouri said. Eventually, the computer will fade into the background.
“At some point, we won’t even know the computer is there and these devices will help us in our daily life,” Khouri said. “That’s the revolution where AMD will play.”