AMD Unveils New GPUs for Embedded Systems

The vendor's latest Radeon discrete graphics cards give customers an array of options in performance, power and energy efficiency.

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Advanced Micro Devices is rolling out a range of new embedded graphics cards that are aimed at a broad array of embedded applications that demand high-end visual and parallel processing capabilities.

The Embedded Radeon graphics products can be used in such areas as gaming systems, digital signage, medical devices systems (such as X-ray and MRI machines), industrial controls and thin clients, according to AMD officials. They're also looking at communications infrastructure, from network switches and routers to systems that support the growing Internet of things (IoT).

In addition, the graphics cards offer choices in form factors, from multi-chip modules (MCMs) and mobile PCI Express modules (MXM) to PCIe options. There also are wide ranges of options in everything from performance to power efficiency.

They are designed to balance the competing demands for power, performance and graphics memory size in an embedded system space that is increasingly thirsty for graphics, according to Scott Aylor, corporate vice president and general manager of embedded solutions at AMD.

"The demand for rich, vibrant graphics in embedded systems is greater than ever before, and that demand is growing," Aylor said in a statement, adding that the new discrete graphics cards can help companies build products that can leverage multiple 4K screens, 3D workloads and interactive displays. "In addition, the powerful capabilities of our GPUs can address the toughest parallel compute challenges."

Graphics technology will play a key role in AMD's efforts to return to profitability through efforts laid out by company officials earlier this year. Among the key markets AMD is targeting are gaming and immersive computing, both of which call for high-end graphics capabilities as well as power efficiency and visualization. AMD officials see the vendor's capabilities in both high-end CPUs and GPUs as key differentiators to such rivals as Intel and Nvidia.

The chip maker wants to offer discrete GPUs that not only offer enhanced longevity and reliability, but also scalability, they said.

The new graphics cards offer three levels of performance—ultra-high, high and power-efficient. The E8950MXM module is the embedded GPU with the highest performance. It can be used in general-purpose GPU (GPGPU) computing environments, and supports 4K decode and encode and up to six 4K displays. AMD pointed to such systems as high-end casino and arcade gaming machines, medical imaging devices, and military and aerospace systems as possible uses. Given that it's smaller than standard commercial GPUs, it also can be used in space-constrained environments, such as airplane cockpits and ultrasound machines, officials said.

The E8950MXM module offers 32 compute units, 3 teraflops (trillion floating point operations per second) peak performance, 8GB of GDDR5 memory and a thermal design power (TDP) of less than 95 watts.

In the high-performance category, the E8870MXM and E8870PCIe offer 12 compute units and 1.5 TFLOPs of peak performance, 4GB of GDDR5 memory and less than 75 watts TDP.

The E6465MCM, E6465MXM and E6465PCIe GPUs also are aimed at energy-efficiency uses, such as mobile signage, retail kiosks, conventional military and aerospace displays, and thin clients. They offer two compute units, 192 GFLOPs (billion floating point operations per second) performance and 2GB of GDDR5 memory, all in cards with less than 20 watts TDP.

The embedded GPUs come with a five-year supply commitment, and each supports Microsoft's Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 operation systems as well as Linux.