AMD's Bald Eagle; 4K casino games anyone?

Subject: General Tech | May 21, 2014 - 12:06 PM |
Tagged: amd, Bald Eagle, embedded, hsa

AMD has just introduced their powerful new embedded chip called Bald Eagle.  Depending on the model of processor you purchase you get two or four Steamroller CPU cores, and up to eight GCN GPU cores based on the HD 9000 series.  That gives the higher end chips enough juice to power up to four independent 3D, 4K, or HD displays which you can bump up to nine if you include an embedded Radeon E8860 discrete GPU in your system.  The cores are all fully HSA compliant and will support ECC and non-ECC DDR3 at speeds of up to 2133MHz as well as support for PCIe Gen3 x16, PCIe Gen2 2x4 and USB and SATA as well.  Check out more at The Inquirer.

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"Bald Eagle also enables heterogeneous system architecture (HSA), which first appeared in AMD chippery in its desktop Kaveri APUs this January, and which allows the CPU and GPU to share the same system memory, vastly simpifying the programming challenge of getting GPUs to shoulder the parallel-processing chores that they excel at far better then CPUs."

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Source: The Register

Faster MinnowBoard Max With Lower $99 Price Coming In June 2014

Subject: General Tech | April 2, 2014 - 07:53 AM |
Tagged: minnowboard, linux, embedded, development, Bay Trail, atom e3825, atom e3815

MinnowBoard.org recently announced the MinnowBoard Max which is a new Intel-powered development board with improved specifications and a $100 lower price versus the original MinnowBoard. The MinnowBoard Max is an open source hardware and software development platform designed and built by CircuitCo with guidance from Intel. The MinnowBoard Max is intended to be used to develop new Bay Trail-powered products or as the brain of embedded equipment that interacts with custom I/O such as FGPAs and specialized sensors.

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The MinnowBoard Max is slightly smaller than the original at 2.9” x 3.9” and features an improved Intel Atom processor. Rather than the single core Atom E640 at 1 GHz the original MinnowBoard used, the MinnowBoard Max uses one of two Bay Trail Atom E3800-series SoCs. The base $99 model uses a single core Atom E3815 clocked at 1.46GHz while the $129 model uses a dual core Atom E3825 clocked at 1.33 GHz. The SoC is paired with either 1GB or 2GB of system RAM on the $99 or $129 model respectively.

The MinnowBoard Max supports a wide range of I/O including:

  • 26-pin low speed expansion port
    • SPI, I2C, I2S Audio, 2 x UARTs (TTL-level), 8 x buffered GPIO (two supporting PWM), +5V, Ground
  • 60-pin high speed expansion port
    • 1 x PCI-E 2.0 (one lane), 1 x SATA 3Gbps, 1 x USB 2.0 host, I2C, GPIO, JTAG, +5V, Ground
  • 1 x USB 3.0 port
  • 1 x USB 2.0 port
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • 1 x Micro SD
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x Serial Debug (via separately sold cable)
  • 1 x Micro USB 2.0

The small form factor board supports Linux and Android operating systems with pending support for the Yocto Project (which helps developers create their own Linux distribution). Intel’s Bay Trail is not open source, but the company has reportedly provided open source drivers for the HD Graphics processor-integrated GPU.

The MinnowBoard Max starts at $99 and is slated to start shipping towards the end of June 2014. MinnowBoar.org will also be releasing the hardware design files under a Creative Commons license shortly after that launch point. More information can be found on the MinnowBoard Max FAQ.

The open source MinnowBoard Max looks to be a respectable upgrade over the original, and the lower price should help to make the x86 architecture more attractive to developers of embedded systems especially in the wake of the proliferation of ARM-powered alternatives.

AMD's new Embedded R-series processors

Subject: General Tech | August 21, 2013 - 10:09 AM |
Tagged: amd, embedded, R-series, RE464X, RE272X, RE264X

Design for use in NAS devices, PoS devices and your friendly neighbourhood slot machine AMD's new R-series chips top out at a TDP of 35W for the 3.2GHz Boost Frequency quad core RE464X and dual core RE272X.  The dual core RE264X has a mere 17W TDP at a boost of 2.8GHz and all three models can be paired with a Radeon E6460 or E6760 GPU to support up to six independent displays.  AMD told DigiTimes these processors will provide 2.5 times the performance-per-dollar of an Intel Core-i3 though without benchmarks that cannot yet be confirmed.  They have not quite lowered the TDP enough to be considered for phones but are certainly poised right to take market share in some specific market segments if the price to performance expectations are met.

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"The new options include quad-core and dual-core CPUs scaling from 2.2GHz to 3.2GHz with TDP ranging from 17-35W for applications that require high performance x86 compute such as network attached storage (NAS). To address high-end visual needs for applications like digital gaming and signage that require high-performance x86 compute coupled with discrete graphics, AMD is introducing a new discrete GPU promotional program that provides customers with both a CPU and discrete GPU for savings of up to 20%."

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Source: DigiTimes

MSI Launches MS-9A29 SFF Embedded Fanless PC

Subject: Systems | August 5, 2013 - 06:00 AM |
Tagged: SFF, msi, Intel, embedded, atom d2550

MSI recently launched the MS-9A29, which is a fanless small form factor (SFF) embedded PC. The new PC measures 196mm x 136mm x 43mm and weighs 1.2 kg. The MS-9A29 is encased in a small black chassis that is covered in fins to aid in passive cooling with the front and back banels hosting various IO ports.

Front IO includes four USB 2.0 ports and four COM ports. The back panel holds two RJ45 GbE jacks driven by two Intel 82583V NICs, one line out audio jack (Realtek ALC887 HD codec), two USB 2.0 ports, a single HDMI port, and one VGA port. Finally, the case provides two openings for antenna passthroughs.

MSI MS-9A29 SFF Embedded PC.jpg

Internally, the MSI MS-9A29 features an Intel Atom D2550 processor (dual core at 1.8GHz, 10W TDP), Intel GMA 3650 GPU (400MHz), a single DDR3 SO-DIMM slot (4GB maximum), and Intel NM10 Express chipset. The motherboard can be accessed by a removeable bottom panel on the case. The system supports one SATA drive, one mSATA drive, and two Mini-PCI-E cards. One mini-PCI-E slot can be used for a 3G SIM card adapter.

The SFF MSI MS-9A29 can be mounted to the back of monitors or on a wall. It supports Windows 7 and Windows XP and can output video to two simultaneous displays. It is aimed at kiosks, signage, POS, and industrial machines. 

More information can be found on the MS-9A29 product page. However, the company has not yet released pricing or availability (expect it to be on the pricier side though as it is aimed at business/industrial users).

Source: MSI
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Jaguar Hits the Embedded Space

 

It has long been known that AMD has simply not had a lot of luck going head to head against Intel in the processor market.  Some years back they worked on differentiating themselves, and in so doing have been able to stay afloat through hard times.  The acquisitions that AMD has made in the past decade are starting to make a difference in the company, especially now that the PC market that they have relied upon for revenue and growth opportunities is suddenly contracting.  This of course puts a cramp in AMD’s style, but with better than expected results in their previous quarter, things are not nearly as dim as some would expect.

Q1 was still pretty harsh for AMD, but they maintained their marketshare in both processors and graphics chips.  One area that looks to get a boost is that of embedded processors.  AMD has offered embedded processors for some time, but with the way the market is heading they look to really ramp up their offerings to fit in a variety of applications and SKUs.  The last generation of G-series processors were based upon the Bobcat/Brazos platform.  This two chip design (APU and media hub) came in a variety of wattages with good performance from both the CPU and GPU portion.  While the setup looked pretty good on paper, it was not widely implemented because of the added complexity of a two chip design plus thermal concerns vs. performance.

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AMD looks to address these problems with one of their first, true SOC designs.  The latest G-series SOC’s are based upon the brand new Jaguar core from AMD.  Jaguar is the successor to the successful Bobcat core which is a low power, dual core processor with integrated DX11/VLIW5 based graphics.  Jaguar improves performance vs. Bobcat in CPU operations between 6% to 13% when clocked identically, but because it is manufactured on a smaller process node it is able to do so without using as much power.  Jaguar can come in both dual core and quad core packages.  The graphics portion is based on the latest GCN architecture.

Read the rest of the AMD G-Series release by clicking here!

AMD's new ultra low power CPU, the G-T16R

Subject: General Tech | June 25, 2012 - 12:59 PM |
Tagged: low power, geode, G-T16R, embedded, amd

The new embedded processor from AMD replaces the old Geode series and brings new performance to the ultra low end as this is a 4.5W TPD processor.   The G-T16R APU supports Windows 7 Embedded Compact 7, Green Hills Integrity and Express Logic Thread X operating systems which makes the lack of support for DirectX 11 a moot point as these OSes are not about to need that support to begin with.  The ultra low TDP means that no fan is required to use this processor and so you can expect an average draw of 2.3W from the system.

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DirectX 11 might be missing but looking below you can see that there is a lot of other features included with this chip, from SATA 6Gbps to HD audio as well as HDMI out and support for PCIe 2.0 4x cards, you can get quite a bit from this little chip.  Check out the ASUS press release here or just read the summary available at The Inquirer.

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"CHIP DESIGNER AMD launched its lowest power accelerator processing unit (APU) yet with the 4.5W TDP G-T16R.

AMD's G series embedded GPUs have been offering some of the lowest power DirectX 11 capable chips for some time and now the firm has brought the TDP down even further with the G-T16R. Although the G-T16R doesn't support DirectX 11, it claims considerable performance benefits over the almost archaic but popular Geode LX embedded processors."

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Source: The Inquirer

LucidLogix Announces XLR8 Tech To Improve Embedded and SoC GPU Performance

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 11, 2012 - 12:48 AM |
Tagged: virtualization, tegra, Lucidlogix, gpu, gaming, game, embedded, CES2012, CES

Earlier today Lucid (LucidLogix), the company behind quite a few GPU virtualization technologies, announced yet another piece of GPU virtualization software. This time; however, instead of wrangling as much performance as possible from multi-GPU beasts, this technology- codenamed "XLR8"- is aimed at the mobile market of tablets, smartphones, and laptops with integrated graphics. Such products are powered by integrated GPUs in AMD's APUs and Intel's Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors, and by the GPUs in mobile SoCs (system on a chip) like Nvidia's Tegra and ARM's Mali graphics processors. XLR8 uses "unique CPU multithreading" to feed the mobile GPUs as efficiently as possible.

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According to Lucid, many of the PC graphics issues are magnified when it comes to embedded GPUS including visual tearing, pipeline inefficiencies, power management, and artifacting. Offir Remez, president of Lucid further stated that most of the big, popular PC games have playability issues on mobile platforms and on computers with integrated graphics. "If it's got a GPU, we can improve the end user experience."

The company further expanded that the XLR8 technology works by disabling unnecessary and redundant processes in addition to "unique multithreading" to improve system (gaming) responsiveness up to 200 percent. The XLR8 software monitors battery drain and power draw while shutting down background processes to increase CPU frame generation and minimizing redundant GPU rendering processes.

If this sounds a lot like marketing speak, it certainly does. On the other hand, Lucid has been able to push some useful virtualization technology into desktops, so maybe mobile platforms are just the next step for the company. The company is currently demonstrating the XLR8 software in private at CES and is being tested by hardware partners.  Mobile SoC are getting faster and more powerful, and on battery powered devices there is always room for efficiency improvements.  Once reviewers manage to get their hands on some actual hardware, and XLR8 is past the concept/testing stage you can bet that people will have a better understanding of what exactly XLR8 is capable of.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Via X86 Hardware Will Have Support for Android OS

Subject: Systems | December 15, 2011 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: x86, VIA, Nano, embedded, Android

Today low power X86 platform manufacturer Via Technologies announced Android operating system support with their embedded x86 motherboards and processors. Currently, the company is supporting Android on their EITX-3002 platform, with more options likely to come in the future. Via believes that running Android on X86 embedded systems presents the opportunity for low cost entertainment systems capable of playing back 1080p video in vehicles, planes, and kiosks.

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Including the usually Android SDKs, Via has released a new SMART ETK (Embedded Tool Kit) that allows monitoring and control of peripherals. Applications of this include controlling lights or environmental systems in your home via a touchscreen enabled embedded home control center. In the video below, Via shows off Android running on their EITX-3002 platform and using a touchscreen panel connected to it to control an external light and fan.

The EITX-3002 is a motherboard based on the Em-ITX form factor. The boards is then paired with either a 1.2 GHz VIA Nano X2 E-Series or a 1.0 GHz Eden X2 dual core processor. In addition, a VIA VX900 MSP is located on the underside of the motherboard. This co-processor assists with the decoding HD video thanks to hardware acceleration. The VX900 MSP supports decoding MPEG-2, H.264, VC-1, and WMV9 codecs. The embedded platform itself is able to output to two independent displays and resolutions of 1920 x 1080. Fan-less enclosures can be used with this low power setup, and rear I/O includes HDMI, VGA, two Gigabit Ethernet, two COM ports, four USB 2.0, four USB 3.0, and audio jacks. Via will support the Windows 7, XP, Embedded Standard 2009, WES7, Debian Linux, and Android 2.2 operating systems.

There are already projects like AndroidX86 that allow users to use the Android OS on traditional PCs but not officially. This Via platform would be good for embedded systems and pairing it with Android is a good move. Especially now that many people are familiar with or have at least seen how the Android OS works, having a similar setup in vehicle and in-flight entertainment systems will make the UI all the more intuitive. Not to mention that the Android OS uses less resources than a traditional Windows installation which means power savings for end users. Whether Android will catch on or not for entertainment kiosks and car computers remains to be seen but it’s an interesting option for sure.

Source: Via

AMD's new and improved minimalist BIOS replacement, Coreboot

Subject: General Tech | May 9, 2011 - 08:51 AM |
Tagged: amd, coreboot, uefi, bios, embedded, llano, opteron, s3

A lot of attention is being paid to UEFI, the new graphical BIOS replacement that not only lets you utilize 2TB+ drives as a boot device but will give you mouse control over the games that come integrated with your settings.  It does offer quite a few advantages over the old BIOS but adds complexity as well.  AMD has gone a different route with their Opteron series with Coreboot (aka LinuxBIOS) a different way of initializing a computer.  It does a very minimal hardware initialization and then moves into what is called a payload, which contains the familiar abilities of the BIOS but not integrated directly into the hardware initialization in any way.  This is far more useful for server and embedded applications than the latest ROG board, which is why embedded Llano will be receiving support and why Opteron already does.  Follow the links from The Inquirer for more.

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"CHIP DESIGNER AMD has announced that its upcoming Llano accelerated processing unit (APU) will support Coreboot.

AMD has been pushing development the BIOS replacement initiative Coreboot for many years but has focused on getting support for its embedded and server processors. Now the company has come out and said that all of its future processors will support Coreboot, from Llano onwards."

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Source: The Inquirer

AMD's new DX11 compatible embedded E6760 GPU can handle 6 displays

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 3, 2011 - 08:54 AM |
Tagged: e6760, embedded, gpu, amd, eyefinity

Usually reading off a list of the abilities of an embedded GPU are fairly quick ... determine if it can handle YouTube in high definition and maybe play WoW and move on.  APUs offer a bit more interest for enthusiasts with interesting load sharing applications with a discreet GPU and the rise of SandyBridge and Bobcat seem to spell the end of the GPU embedded on a motherboard.  However there are still a few tricks left before the end of the line, the new Radeon E6760 isn't going to win many speed races but it can support up to 6 monitors, a nice trick when you consider that many of these chips will be running displays in casinos, airports and medical imaging.  The E4690 is finally retiring, meet the new E6760 at AnandTech.

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"Kicking off our coverage of embedded GPUs is AMD’s Radeon E6760, which is launching today. The E6760 is the latest and greatest AMD embedded video card, utilizing the Turks GPU (6600/6700M) from AMD’s value lineup. The E6760 isn’t a product most of us will be buying directly, but if AMD has it their way it’s a product a lot of us will be seeing in action in the years to come in embedded devices."

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Source: AnandTech