Highly-integrated x86-architecture embedded processors from AMD

October 22, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
AMD’s Embedded R-Series SOC processors target the embedded application markets for digital signage, retail signage, medical imaging, electronic gaming, media storage and communications and networking, with features such as advanced graphics, and extended temperature operation.

Latest generation AMD Radeon graphics, as well as the latest multimedia technology, is integrated on-chip; the AMD Embedded R-Series SOC provides enhanced GPU performance and support for High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) for full 4K decode and DirectX 12. R-Series parts incorporate a full HSA implementation which balances the performance between the CPU and GPU; AMD comments that this is the first “full, 1.0” implementation of HSA ( Heterogeneous System Architecture ).

The AMD Embedded R-Series SOC was configured for embedded use and includes features such as industrial temperature support, dual-channel DDR3 or DDR4 support with ECC (Error Correction Code), Secure Boot, and a broad range of processor options. This is, AMD says, the first implementation of DDR4 in this space. Recognising that many embedded applications will not move to DDR4 in the near future, the SoC supports use of DDR3 and a transition to DDR4.

The processors incorporate the newest AMD 64-bit x86 CPU core (“Excavator”), plus third-generation Graphics Core Next GPU architecture, and advanced power management for reduced energy consumption. The single-chip system-on-chip (SOC) architecture enables simplified, small form factor board and system designs, including by third party development platform providers.

The R-Series SOC provides enhanced GPU performance and support for High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) for full 4K decode and DirectX 12, claiming 22% improved GPU performance when compared to the 2nd Generation AMD Embedded R-Series APU and a 58% advantage against the Intel Broadwell Core i7 when running graphics-intensive benchmarks. Specifications for the integrated graphics include: up to eight compute units and two rendering blocks; GPU clock speeds up to 800 MHz resulting in 819 GFLOPS; and DirectX 12 support.

HSA is a standardised platform design that unlocks the performance and power efficiency of the GPU as a parallel compute engine. It allows developers to more easily and efficiently apply the hardware resources in today’s SoCs, enabling applications to run faster and at lower power across