RealTime IT News

AMD: We're Upping The Embedded Ante

AMD announced the release of new low-power AMD64 processors for the embedded systems market.

At the Embedded Systems conference in Boston, AMD rolled out two classes of processors. The high performance AMD64 is designed for rugged special-purpose field PCs, workstations and servers as well as blade and process automation servers. It is slated to be available next month.

A separate AMD64 "value" processor, available now, is best-suited for the high end of traditional embedded applications such as test equipment, audio applications, single board computers and other custom designs.

AMD launched a version of its highly-regarded Opteron 64-bit chip for the embedded market in March and today's announcements are an extension of that strategy.

"We see an opportunity to take away from the competition with a 64-bit solution that maintains 32-bit compatibility for blade servers, rugged workstations and other applications," David Jessel, business development manager for embedded 64 products told internetnews.com.

As part of its strategy for the embedded market AMD is promoting a "Longevity Program" that promises customers designing high-end embedded products processor availability for at least five years. Chip maker AMD and its main competitor Intel typically upgrade their desktop and mobile processors with new offerings every few years if not sooner which is fine for customers looking for faster speeds and other cutting edge features.

But the design and qualification cycles tend to be longer in the embedded space which includes such areas as areas as military industrial and control systems, blade and telecommunications servers, network and storage systems. Those systems also tend to have a longer lifecycle than increasingly high turnover PCs, so the longer guarantee of availability is important.

Jessel said pricing for the embedded chips is the same as for AMD’s more mainstream counterparts Turion, Athlon64 and Opteron.

Among the companies using the new embedded AMD processors is NextCom. At the Embedded Systems conference NextCom is showing a dual-processor, dual-core, portable workstation based on the AMD embedded Opteron. "It's like a luggable PC with tremendous performance" said Jessel.

The NextCom system can run Windows, Linux or the Solaris operating system and is targeted at industries that require mobility, high performance and durability such as oil and gas exploration sites.