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High-performance thin client reference design draws just 6 watts

Jun 1, 2004 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 17 views

AMD is now shipping a reference design kit (RDK) for thin clients based on its low-powered Geode GX processor. The RDK includes hardware and drivers for Linux and other embedded operating systems, and targets corporate thin clients, terminal-in-blade PCs, point-of-sale, education, information appliances,… and kiosks.

(Click for larger view of Geode GX RDK design)

The RDK is based on the 400MHz AMD Geode GX [email protected] processor, a venerable chip recently relaunched with a naming scheme aimed at describing its power usage and performance relative to VIA's C3 processor. AMD competitor VIA and partner Neoware also recently launched thin client initatives, as did HP and partner Novell.

The fanless Geode GX RDK design draws 6 watts, typically, or 1 watt in standby mode. It supports accelerated 2D display resolutions up to 1600 x 1200 @ 85MHz, or 1280 x 1024 at 100MHz. It also supports 3D Now! and MMX extensions.

I/O ports include 4 USB 1.1 ports, speaker and microphone jacks, and 10/100 Ethernet. Non-volatile storage is available using a DiskOnChip, as are legacy ports on an LPC daughtercard, VoIP audio expansion, and serial port expansion for security.

Geode GX RDK block diagram

The design incorporates a PC board measuring 4.7 x 5.3 inches, and a case measuring 5 x 5.5 x 1 inches. It includes demonstration software images that support Microsoft RDP, Citrix ICA, JAVA, Flash, HTML, and local multimedia files. The RDK comes with full schematics, layout files, and documentation. Partners contributing to the development of the Geode GX thin client RDK include Citrix, Insyde Software, General Software, M-Systems, and Realtek.

“The thin client market remains largely untapped, and is one IDC has identified for strong growth,” commented Bob O'Donnell, IDC. IDC recently released a whitepaper, sponsored by Red Hat, that projected a rosy future for thin clients.

Soon Poh, vice president at thin client device manufacturer DT Research, added, “A small footprint, versatile device requires a careful balance between system performance, integration, and manufacturability.”


The AMD Geode GX thin client RDK is sampling today, and will be demonstrated at Computex in Taipei, June 1-5 2004, and at Citrix iForum 2004 in Edinburgh, June 7-9.

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