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Microsoft Masters AMD's Alchemy

Microsoft Monday went to task in covering all of its bases when it comes to Windows CE devices.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant took the wraps off a Board Support Package (BSP) for the AMD Alchemy Solutions DBAu1500 development board for low power devices such as thin clients, handheld devices and wireless access points.

While not the first time that the two companies have worked together on small-footprint devices, the companies say it is significant in that it marks the fist time the entire AMD Alchemy Solutions processor family is now certified on Windows CE 4.2.

"The Microsoft BSP for the DBAu1500 allows developers to shorten evaluation cycles and quickly deliver high-performance solutions on low-power hardware," said Scott Horn, director of the Embedded Devices Group at Microsoft. "Our BSP support of the DBAu1500 delivers the foundation needed to rapidly create the next generation of media-rich, reliable, small-footprint Windows CE-based devices."

Windows CE .NET 4.2 BSP for AMD Alchemy Solutions DBAu1500 development kit includes source code for a boot loader for initializing and customizing hardware, device drivers, and a corresponding set of configuration files. Microsoft says with its BSP customers have the ability to configure the package to select desired peripherals, operating system features, file systems, and memory types.

The deal is also significant for AMD since Microsoft also has relationships with rival Intel and its XScale embedded microprocessor lineup as well as parnerships with chipmaking upstart Transmeta .

"We are excited to be working with Microsoft to offer our customers a full development solution that enables them to quickly and efficiently create rich multimedia and connected devices," said AMD vice president of marketing Phil Pompa.

The Au1500 processor is a MIPS32-based system on a chip (SOC) processor, that runs at speeds of 333MHz, 400MHz and 500MHz, with power dissipations of less than 400 milliwatts, 700 milliwatts and 1.2 watts, respectively. AMD says the chips also have integrated system peripherals, including a 33/66MHz 32-bit Peripheral Component Interface (PCI) Controller (PCI 2.2 compliant), GPIO, two 10/100 Ethernet Controllers, USB Device and Host, two UARTS, an AC-97 controller and a PCMCIA controller.

AMD says the processor's dual Ethernet MACs (Medium Access Controllers) help to enable secure firewall functions and its integrated Universal Serial Bus (USB) host and device ports enable user-friendly PC peripheral applications.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD's entire Alchemy product line includes the Au1000, Au1500 and Au1100 processors. The company also supplies development board kits and the Mobile Handheld, Driver Information, and Access Equipment reference design kits. In addition, the AMD Alchemy Solution includes the Am1772 WLAN chipset, the PC card and Mini PCI reference design kits.