RealTime IT News

AMD Fights Embedded Chip Obsolescence

Advanced Micro Devices today announced new embedded processors that it promises will not be obsolete in six months, a common complaint among its embedded partners, who felt chips were useless by the time products shipped.

Over the last few years, AMD  has gotten some push back from developers of embedded products over the rapid obsolescence of the chips. The developers wanted some longevity in their products.

"They don't want to design a chip in and then out of a piece of hardware six months later. They wanted to be guaranteed it would be good for five years," Jeff Chu, division manager for AMD embedded products, told internetnews.com.

So, at the Embedded World Exhibition & Conference in Germany today, AMD announced the new AMD Geode LX900@1.5W processor, the addition of processors to the AMD64 Longevity Program and the release of several new Reference Design Kits (RDKs).

The AMD Geode LX900@1.5W processor is a 600MHz, 32-bit chip designed for small form factors, offering a low power x86 processor for devices like thin clients, interactive set-top boxes, Single Board Computers (SBCs), Personal Access Devices (PDAs), mobile Internet, and entertainment applications.

The AMD64 Longevity Program is meant to offer AMD64-based processors for embedded devices, which will guarantee that there is a much longer performance life span in the processors.

The program launched with Sempron and Turion processors, but now adds Athlon and Athlon 64 X2 dual core processors as well as an Opteron processor to the mix. For an embedded chip, the Opteron will have some horsepower. It will run at 1.8GHz and 45 watts or 2.2GHz and 68watts.

The Athlon 3000+ and the Athlon X2 3400+ embedded chips are no slouches. Both will run at 1.8GHz and 35 watts of power.

All three chips are designed for high-performance markets like security and medical imaging, military systems and single board computing. They will also be ideal for blade systems, said Chu.

AMD offered up two new Reference Design Kits (RDKs), both based on the Geode chip. The Geode LX Network Attached Storage RDK design is for building NAS components, while the Geode LX Ultra Value Clients RDK offers a small, flexible design for building a variety of small footprint devices.

Insuring longevity was something its embedded partners wanted. "It can take up to two years before customers ship a board from the initial design stage. If you are trying to do a speed bump every 6 to 9 months, that speed bump can kill you," said Chu.