AMD Announces Second Generation R-Series Embedded Chips – To Feature Steamroller and HSA

Ramish Zafar
Posted May 21, 2014
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AMD has today announced the second generation of its embedded R-Series. The chipsets are designed to support high parallel computing and visual loads. The R-Series embedded processors are codenamed ‘Bald Eagle’ and include high end APUs which combine central and graphic processing. Bald Eagle also uses the company’s latest Steamroller CPU cores and is capable of supporting high-end embedded solutions in Windows, Linux and Real-Time operating systems. They are targeted at a variety of devices and applications across the industry. These include gaming machines, ultra sound and low dose X-Ray machines, communications and networking infrastructures requiring high performing graphics processing technology.

Steamroller Allows Embedded R-Series to Achieve Frequencies between 2.2-3.6 GHz. Bald Eagle to Be AMD’s Highest Performing Embedded Device This Year

The latest R-Series embedded chipset will be based on AMD’s latest Steamroller microarchitecture. Steamroller features two core modules with independent instruction decoders for each core, better instruction schedulers, larger and smarter caches with up to 30% decreased cache instruction misses, a dynamically resizable L2 and more internal register resources plus improved memory controllers. Steamroller also features CMT (Clustered Multi-Thread) which makes one module equal to a dual core processor. Steamrollers present in Bald Eagle allow it to achieve boost clock speeds from 2.2 – 3.2 Ghz. The presence of GCN GPUs in the chipset enables frequencies ranging from 533 MHz to 686 MHz to be achieved.

“Bald Eagle is highest performance embedded device we’ll have in 2014. These are the first embedded devices that natively support Ultra HD 4K displays, so we see this as a good play for digital signage, while in medical imaging, pixel density and resolution are also very important,” said Scott Aylor, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD’s Embedded Solutions group. Combined with AMD’s embedded Radeon E8860 discrete GPU, the R-Series can support up to nine 4K displays. The new R-Series embedded chipsets will also be the first to feature AMDs Heterogeneous System Architecture or the HSA. HSA allows the CPU and GPU on a traditional computer to work seamlessly together, therefore reducing overall dispatch latency created by a separate scheduler on the device driver stack manager. In other words, it gives the CPU and the GPU equal portions of the system memory. Bald Eagle products “incorporate HSA features, enabling applications to distribute workloads to run on the best compute element—e.g., CPU, GPU, or a specialized accelerator such as video decode—for up to 44 percent more 3D graphics performance and up to 46 percent more compute performance than comparable Intel Haswell Core-i CPUs,” said the company.

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The introduction of the embedded R-Series architecture also allows AMD to now participate in open-source Linux development as a gold member of the Yocto Project. This is backed by the Linux Foundation. Developers now also have access to customized Linux support for the second generation embedded R-Series. This is via Mentor Embedded Linux, Sourcery CodeBench and Mentor Embedded Linux Life. Second generation R-Series are expected to be available in products later this year.

Industry-First Features, Benefits and Support

  • Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA): The 2nd generation AMD Embedded R-series APU is the first embedded processor to incorporate HSA features, enabling applications to distribute workloads to run on the best compute element — e.g., CPU, GPU or a specialized accelerator such as video decode — for up to 44 percent more 3-D graphics performance and up to 46 percent more compute performance than comparable Intel Haswell Core-i CPUs.
  • Open-source Linux development: As a gold-level member of the Yocto Project, a Linux Foundation Collaboration Project, and as part of a recent multiyear agreement with Mentor Graphics, embedded systems developers now have access to customized embedded Linux development and commercial support on the 2nd generation AMD Embedded R-series family through Mentor Embedded Linux and Sourcery CodeBench, as well as Mentor Embedded Linux Lite available at no cost.
  • Embedded-specific features: The 2nd generation AMD Embedded R-series family is specifically designed for embedded applications with industry-leading, 10-year longevity, dual-channel memory with error-correcting code (ECC), DDR3-2133 support and configurable TDP for system design flexibility to optimize the processor at a lower TDP.
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