The AMD Embedded G-Series platform being introduced tonight is the world's first Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) for embedded systems. AMD has had quite a bit of history of supporting x86 based embedded systems. Starting with the Geode processor in 2003 (obtained from National Semiconductors and used in the OLPC project), AMD went on to introduce AMD64 technology into the embedded markets with the AMD Opteron processors in 2005. In 2007, the addition of graphics and other chipset options by AMD enabled comprehensive embedded solutions. In 2009, AMD introduced BGA (Ball Grid Array) packaging to meet customer demand.

At CES 2011, they gave us a sneak peek into the Embedded G-Series platform based on Brazos. AMD has increased performance and features in every generation while bringing down the power, area and price barriers for x86 in the embedded market.

The embedded market space is dominated by SoCs based on RISC processors such as ARM and MIPS. For most power sensitive embedded applications, PowerPC and x86 based solutions do not make the cut. x86, in particular, has been the dark horse due to the excessive power consumption for systems based on that architecture. Process shrinks have helped lower the power consumption numbers. However, we are still a few nodes away from when the x86 based solutions can really compete with RISC based solutions on the power front.

In the meantime, solutions like what we are seeing from AMD today integrate premium graphics capabilities within power envelops similar to what x86 used to consume in the previous generation—so you get CPU+GPU instead of just a CPU. RISC based embedded solutions may still be winning on the power front; however, for applications where slightly higher power consumption is not a concern, the x86 threat from the AMD embedded G-Series platform can become a cause for concern. MIPS is usually popular in such applications (set top boxes, digital signage etc.) and they will be facing credible opposition with AMD's integrated graphics capabilities.

The AMD Embedded G-Series
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  • iamezza - Friday, January 21, 2011 - link

  • knedle - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    I think this article should be read not as commercial, but more like "OMG, finally AMD is making a comeback!"
  • Hrel - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    I agree with you, I only scimmed cause it read so much like a commercial. Commercials aren't necessarily ALL positive. Mention pseudo negatives in an optimistic fashion to emphasize the positives; which is what this article is.
  • Samus - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    What a crock, this is complete BS. How are they going to call this a single chip integrated SoC when its clearly two chips, with Hudson using as much power as Brazos?

    Embedded G-series my ass, integrate the damn controller hub already and stop calling the kit something its not.
  • Tractor - Friday, January 21, 2011 - link

    yes, i fully agree with this comment; i'm very surprised to see so many superlative positives in an anandtech article, and approximately no fact to support them.
    It's not only that expectations are very high, with no benchmark / measurement to back them; it's also about the tone, a few sentences here look like a dictated press release.
    And maybe that's what it is.
  • kfiske - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    This has to be a joke. It has no information and reads like an AMD pr release.
  • pk05 - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    No it doesn' releases are shorter and less hyperbolic.
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    Please look at my response to brunnis's post above.

    I still believe that AMD may probably have a better case than the embedded Atom chipsets, but that is a joke because the embedded Atom itself is not a efficient product.

    But, this product has quite a number of customers releasing production systems soon.. So, we will have to wait a bit to determine the market reaction to it.

    AMD could have made more of a splash by releasing a proper SoC. Not sure whether that is slated for the future.
  • pk05 - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    Fair enough, thanks for the response Ganesh. I would recommend a different lead sentence, as that really does sound like a press release and sets expectations for the whole article.
  • silverblue - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    They have a revised architecture at 28nm in about a year's time. If they keep clock speeds as they are, that in itself should result in a good drop in power usage, not to mention the performance boosts usually associated with a revised architecture. I'm not sure they'll create a true SoC though, at least, not yet.

    I'm very happy to see AMD's first Fusion product line being so widely touted for adoption. I can't wait to see how the C series compares to the E series in a full suite of benchmarks, especially considering the E series should hit a bandwidth wall at some point much sooner than the C series due to lower CPU and GPU clocks.

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