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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  • ninjaquick - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    Yeah, I'm personally curious to see what nvidia cooks up with ION+ARM.
  • mino - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    Yeah. But it has "no information" mostly because of all the leaks over the past 2 quarter mean that we "knew" it long before.

    But agreed, this should have been a one-pager focused on confirming the OLD rumors and adding a _little_ bit of commentary to it. 1/2 the text is either spin or bloat.

    This article will be top-of-the-line on NYT, but this site has a much more demanding and knowledgeable audience ...
  • wolfman3k5 - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    Hey Anand, sucking on the wrong tit? I thought that Intel was the correct tit... Anyway, I guess that the way this thing is written just shows the laziness on your part guys. Too bad...
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    This is a 'News' piece, which means we try to convey what is in the press release, followed by presenting our analysis of the same. Please take a look at my reply to brunnis above.

    In any case, please let me know if you want 'News' pieces to be presented in any other way.
  • MeanBruce - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    Hey now, let's don't bring yammos into this. We should leave beautiful size F yammos right where they belong, on long narrow torsos. I hope May isn't reading this, hi honey!
  • AssBall - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    I thought Wolfman only injected his trolling nonsense on Intel articles.
  • wolfman3k5 - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    Good Job! Looks like you're catching on. And by the way, I love yammos! Big ones on long narrow torsos!

    Jesus, some of you take everything to seriously! Just like a bunch of geeks and neerds! Get a life for God's sake!
  • milkylainen - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    I for one, am sick of hearing the word "Embedded". Seems like no one really has a clue to what embedded should mean.
    This new "class" of CPU's are nothing more than downscaled desktop counterparts.
    Integrated video? Big whoop, come again when you have integrated _everything_ into one SoC, including the southbridge.
    And don't come claiming embedded with a TDP of 18w. That's just grotesque.
    Anything above 1w of TDP is not embedded, and will probably require some sort of passive cooling at the least to survive industrial if not military embedded solutions.
    Calling them "netbook"-class or something alike is more useful. Embedded is just plain wrong.
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    Agree with you partially (refer to my conclusions, comparing with the CE4100) :)

    But, Intel, VIA and AMD seem to have a different interpretation of 'Embedded' ..

    Anyways, there are embedded applications like digital signage and point of sale systems which are almost PC-like in nature.. I think the x86 solutions are targeting that currently.. Also, embedded solutions have much longer support cycles compared to the traditional PC platform (The Geode is not going EOL until 2015, for example)... It is a matter of the company willing to support a product for an extended period of time too.
  • pk05 - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    agreed, people basically use embedded to mean "not a pc", which is meaningless given the huge range of aplications in embedded. that being said, this processor does seem to be targeting certain areas of that huge embedded space that don't have the 1w tdp requirement. industrial and military are clearly not the focus here.

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