AMD Brings Polaris Architecture to Embedded GPUs

The chip maker this year will release the Radeon E9260 and E9550 GPUs aimed at such embedded applications as casino gaming and digital signage.


Advanced Micro Devices this week kept up the aggressive buildout of its graphics technologies with the release of two new GPUs for the embedded and internet of things market that are built on the chip maker's Polaris architecture.

Company officials are aiming the Embedded Radeon E9260 and E9550 discrete GPUs at a wide range of use cases, from immersive casino gaming and digital signage to 4K teleconferencing and interactive digital whiteboards, retail, medical imaging and instruments in the transportation space.

AMD officials introduced the Polaris architecture early this year and touted the performance and power efficiency it would bring to the company's next generation of GPUs. The company already has rolled out Polaris-based graphics cards for PCs and workstations, and now is aiming the architecture at embedded applications that call for high-end rich multimedia but low power consumption.

The introduction of the new chips "is really heralding Polaris into the embedded space," Colin Cureton, director of product management for AMD Enterprise Solutions, told eWEEK.

The chip maker is counting on its GPU expertise to be a key part of the ongoing turnaround at AMD. Company officials are putting a focus on gaming and immersive computing environments, which includes such emerging technologies as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

The Polaris architecture is based on a 14-nanometer 3D FinFET transistor design for improved performance and power efficiency, and more than doubles the performance per watt of previous Radeon graphics technologies, officials have said. The new embedded GPUs deliver up to 5.8 TFLOPS of performance in a power envelope of less than 95 watts, and the E9550 can support up to six displays.

On the video side, the new GPUs provide 4K graphics capabilities with H.265 and H.264 encode/decode environments, and support full 4K, 3D and 360-degree images.

The E9260 offers up to 2.5 TFLOPS at less than 50 watts, supports up to five displays using HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.3, offers 4GB of 128bit GDDR5 memory, and comes in compact MXM and PCI Express form factors. It also offers five years of planned longevity, an important metric in the embedded space to ensure long-term support for next-generation system designs.

For the E9550, features include UVD and VCE support, 8GB of 256bit GDDR5 memory and a compact MXM type B form factor. The GPU also includes three years of planned longevity.

The E9260 will be available in October, while the E9550 will be released before the end of the year.

The new embedded chips come the same week that AMD got good news on the competitive front. Analysts with Jon Peddie Research said in a report that the chip maker saw a bump in its market share competition against Nvidia and Intel. AMD's worldwide market share in the second quarter grew 2.8 over the same period last year, to 13.5 percent. Both Nvidia and Intel showed slight declines, though Nvidia still holds a commanding lead at 72.6 percent. In addition, AMD saw a 4.03 percent bump in sales of discrete desktop GPUs over the first quarter, according to the analysts.

They also come as AMD officials begin talking about the next-generation GPU architecture, called "Vega." According to executives at the Deutsche Bank 2016 Technology Conference earlier this month, the first Vega GPUs will target high-end and enthusiastic PCs, which reportedly will bring further performance and power-efficiency gains.