Advanced Micro Devices is adding to its lineup of embedded chips with new quad- and dual-core offerings aimed at workloads that need high-performance computing capabilities. In addition, the company is making it easier for embedded designers to afford both a CPU and discrete graphics card.
The moves are the latest by AMD in the embedded space, which company executives have targeted as a key growth market and a cornerstone of the vendor's turnaround efforts.
AMD in April launched its G-Series of low-power embedded systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) and has rapidly been adding to the lineup. The G-Series launch came a year after the company rolled out the higher power R-Series portfolio of chips. Officials on Aug. 20 introduced new additions to the R-Series lineup.
The new offerings include quad- and dual-core CPUs that run at 2.2GHz to 3.2GHz and offer a Thermal Design Power (TDP) of 17 to 35 watts. The chips are aimed at applications such as network-attached storage (NAS), which require high-performance x86 computing capabilities.
To further help businesses, AMD is offering a new discrete GPU promotional program in which embedded designers can get both a CPU and a discrete GPU at a cost savings of up to 20 percent. The move addresses the growing demand for more flexibility in what is available to designers, according to Kamal Khouri, director of embedded products at AMD.
"There is a need for a greater variety of processor and graphics options in several market segments ranging from storage to digital signage and gaming to meet ever growing performance requirements," Khouri said in a statement. "The AMD Embedded R-Series CPU platform targets performance-intensive embedded applications with a new discrete graphics program to meet the diverse, high-performance requirements of the embedded engineering community."
Company officials said the three new R-Series CPUs—the quad-core RE464X and dual-core RE272X and RE264X—offer up to 2.5 times better performance-per-dollar than comparable Intel i3 chips. As part of its promotional efforts, AMD will combine the new R-Series CPUs with discrete Radeon E6460 or E6760 graphics, which will let users run up to six independent displays.
"This is great news for embedded applications in storage such as network attached storage, industrial applications such as machine vision servers, and communications infrastructure solutions, which leverage dual- and quad-core x86 architectures," Katie Eckermann, senior product marketing manager of embedded solutions at AMD, said in a post on AMD's blog. "The excitement also extends to high-performance visual embedded applications, such as casino games and digital signage, where the need for stunning, high-end visual graphics drives the use of discrete GPUs in the system solutions."
CEO Rory Read and other AMD executives are looking to the embedded and semi-custom chip businesses as key drivers in the company's turnaround plans. Read has said that AMD is on track to hit its goal of having the embedded and semi-custom businesses account for 20 percent of the company's revenues by the end of the year. Overall, the executives are expecting that all the new growth areas—which also include dense servers and ultramobile client devices—will make up 40 to 50 percent of AMD's business within the next two to three years.
According to Arun Iyengar, vice president and general manager of AMD's Embedded Systems unit, there is a significant opportunity for AMD in the embedded market. Iyengar told eWEEK last month that the market now stands at about $10 billion, but that it should double in the next four to five years, driven by such trends as cloud computing, factory automation, casino gaming and communications infrastructure. While some of that business will go to chips based on the ARM architecture, x86 will continue to be the dominant platform, he said.