AMD Offering More Athlons for Embedded Market

The latest addition to the company's embedded portfolio offers customers new low-watt, single-core options.

Advanced Micro Devices is looking to jump back into the embedded chip market.

At the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston Sept. 19, the Sunnyvale, Calif., company will announce the addition of three single-core Athlon 64 processors to its embedded chip portfolio.

All three chips, the Athlon 64 2000+, 2600+ and the 3100+, will have low thermal envelopes of between eight and 25 watts and fit within AMDs AM2 socket. The clock speeds on these embedded chips range from 1.0GHz to 2.0GHz and all are built on the companys 65-nanometer manufacturing process. Each also offers 512KB of L2 cache.

AMD did not release the prices of these embedded chips.

Since the beginning of the year, AMD has increased the number of high-end processors within its embedded lineup, including dual-core Opteron models. For years, the company worked in the low-end of the market with its Geode and Alchemy chips.

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The inclusion of Opteron and Athlon processors means that AMD can now offer chips for the high-end of the embedded market, including storage systems, blade and telecommunications servers, networking devices and even military-grade hardware. While not as prominent as the PC or server market, the embedded market has become increasingly competitive with AMD, Intel and IBM each expanding their portfolio.

The additional Athlon processors are geared to NAS (network-attached storage) systems, the telecommunications market and single-board computing. Since all three processors also use the AM2 socket, customers can use either existing board designs or upgrade the designs to fit the new products.

Because the hardware products that use embedded processors tend to last longer than a standard PC or data center server, AMD has also developed a longevity program to ensure that its embedded processors are available for a longer time than standard chips.

At the show, AMD executives will also discuss the future of the companys embedded portfolio, which could also begin to include its quad-core Opteron processor, which was officially released Sept. 10, and AMDs next generation of x86 processor cores, currently codenamed "Bulldozer" and scheduled for release in 2009.

These chips would once again fit into the high-end of the embedded market for products such as telecommunications blades and storage systems. The company has not set a specific timeframe for the release of quad-core models for the embedded market.

Besides new processors, AMD has been offering an embedded chip set—the M690T—with the technology it acquired when it bought ATI in October. AMD is also offering several new reference design kits for embedded customers.

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