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AMD’s latest embedded processors feature 5.5 and 6.4 Watt TDPs

May 23, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 14 views

[Updated, May 24] — AMD announced two Embedded G-Series processors for fanless, multimedia-ready devices, with TDP ratings of 5.5 and 6.4 Watts. The dual-core T40E and single-core T40R, both clocked at 1GHz, are said to be up to 39 percent more power efficient than an earlier 1.2GHz G-Series processor, but still offer DirectX 11-capable graphics and a 64-bit memory controller.

The G-Series T40E and T40R are designed for compact, multimedia-ready fanless embedded systems like digital signage, kiosks, mobile industrial devices, and "industry-standard small form factors such as Qseven," says AMD. Of course, fanless devices can be smaller, simpler, and more cost-effective, while the problem of mechanical failure is greatly reduced. 

The processors offer AMD's Fusion architecture, featuring Bobcat cores, and are members of its G-Series family of Fusion processors, targeting embedded devices. In January, AMD announced five different single- and dual-core G-Series offerings — the 1.6GHz T56N, 1.4GHz T48N, 1.0GHz T40N, 1.5GHz T52R, and 1.2GHz T44R — with TDP (Thermal Design Power) ratings of either 9 Watts or 18 Watts (see chart farther below).

These were followed two months later by the announcement of three unnamed "headless" versions of the G-Series for the embedded market, sporting TDPs of only five Watts or 18 Watts, according to the company. The designs achieved these TDP levels by removing the trademark onboard graphics of the Fusion G-Series design.

Model Cores CPU clock speed Graphics GPU clock speed TDP (watts)
T56N 2 1.65GHz Radeon HD6320 500MHz 18
T52R 1 1.5GHz Radeon HD6310 500MHz 18
T48N 2 1.4GHz Radeon HD6310 520MHz 18
T44R 1 1.2GHz Radeon HD6250 280MHz 9
T40N 2 1.0GHz Radeon HD6290 280MHz 9
T40E 2 1.0GHz Radeon HD6250 280MHz 6.4
T40R 1 1.0GHz Radeon HD6250 280MHz 5.5
T48L 2 1.4GHz n/a n/a 18
T30L 1 1.4GHz n/a n/a 18
T24L 1 1.0GHz n/a n/a 5

AMD's ten Embedded G-Series processors
(new entries in red)

Now, AMD is following up with two new G-Series processors that achieve low power consumption without sacrificing the graphics. The G-Series T40E, for example combines a 1GHz, 64-bit, dual-core x86 "Bobcat" CPU with a DirectX 11-capable AMD Radeon HD 6250 graphics processor unit (GPU) — and with a claimed TDP of only 6.4 Watts. The T40R model is identical, but offers only one CPU core, thereby reducing the TDP to 5.5 watts.

The new processors come in the same 19 x 19mm package as earlier G-Series offerings, again feature 64KB of L1 cache, and once more provide 512KB of  L2 cache. According to an AMD data sheet, they're also designed to employ the same A50M and A55E I/O controllers (which add from 2.7 to 4.9 Watts to total power budgets, according to the chipmaker).

How the relatively high degree of power savings on the T40E and T40R has been achieved remains a minor mystery, therefore. AMD does say that Blu-ray support has been dropped on the Radeon graphics variant employed in these processors — but the same is true of the earlier, thirstier, T44R and T40N, so this isn't the whole story.

Although the processors are clocked at 1GHz — on the low end of the G-Series scale, and matched only by the nine-Watt T40N — that's still "plenty of horsepower to run even demanding operating systems like Windows 7," AMD Embedded Technical Marketing Manager Ben Boehman claimed in a blog announcement. Like other G-Series APUs ("accelerated processing units" in the AMD nomenclature), the T40E and T40R are said to have an advantage over many embedded processors due to their super-scalar architecture, wider data pipes, and more sophisticated branch prediction. All of this make the processors more scalable, wrote Boehman.

Boehman added that several AMD customers have built small, fanless embedded system designs in form factors around 16 cubic inches (4 x 4 x 1) "without body fins" using the previous nine-Watt, dual-core T40N. The dual-core T40E offers the same performance, but drops the power consumption by 29 percent, writes Boehmann. Meanwhile, the single-core T40R is said to be 39 percent more power efficient than the single-core T44R, which is clocked slightly higher at 1.2GHz, says AMD.

Systems based on the new low-power AMD Embedded G-Series platform include an industrial mobile device from Amtek, a Pico-ITX single board computer from Axiomtek, a Qseven form factor computer-on-module from Datakamp, and a fanless digital signage platform from iBASE, says AMD.

Stated Buddy Broeker, director, Embedded Solutions, AMD, "We have seen many of our embedded customers deploy fanless systems even with our 15W TDP processors in the past. Today we take the ground-breaking AMD Fusion APU well below 7W TDP and shatter the accepted traditional threshold for across-the-board fanless enablement. System designers can now unleash their creativity without being constrained by heat or size issues."


The G-Series T40E and T40R processors are said to be available now at an undisclosed price. The AMD blog announcement of the G-Series T40E and T40R may be found here. The company should eventually post details on the T40E and T40R on its AMD Embedded G-Series site.

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