AMD Extends Geode Line

AMD added a new dual-chip processor to its line of low-power embedded processors on Monday.

The Geode LX 800@0.9W processor, based on the x86 architecture, is designed for mobile devices, including micro-mobile computers and mini-tablets, as well as mobile thin clients and even voting machines.

“It gives great performance at a lot less power and heat,” said Charles Dittmer, division marketing manager for AMD’s PCS group.

Dittmer said AMD’s embedded division caters to the expanding market for mobile devices. The standard x86 architecture enables designers to create small form-factor devices that can run full Windows applications.

“As x86 devices get more powerful and more efficient, they can get smaller and still take advantage of some of the tens of thousands of applications already written,” Dittmer said. “Designers are challenged to add new features to differentiate themselves and their products in a very fast-moving, competitive environment. If you use x86 technology in smaller devices, you don’t have to write new applications and operating systems.”

The nomenclature is designed to show off the LX 800@0.9W chip’s true speed. Dittmer said that clock speed doesn’t give the full performance story. The LX800 part of the name indicates that, while the chip has a clock speed of 500 megahertz, it runs comparably to products in the 800 range.

“We re-branded the products to have a performance/power rating that compared us with competitive products on the market,” he said.

The processor uses just 0.9 watts, reducing heat and increasing battery life. Dittmer claimed this was the highest performance per watt in the industry.

The chip includes an integrated high-definition CRT/LCD controller, so that manufacturers don’t need to add another piece of silicon to their boards in order to drive display monitors.

It supports video input and output, for implementations where the chip will need an external video processor to handle decoding of dense, high-definition media formats, for example in IP set-top boxes or media servers. AN AES 128 encryption engine supports digital rights management technology used by content creators.

The Geode LX 800@0.9W is designed to work with the AMD Geode CS5536, a companion chip that contains power management technology, input/output functions and direct memory access functions. AMD is selling the chip for $45 in 10,000 unit volumes.

AMD announced plans to extend the Geode family to include chips for low-power form factors including thin-and-light laptops, consumer electronics and communication devices in June 2004, in conjunction with the opening of a research and engineering laboratory at AMD Japan’s Tokyo headquarters.

In September, AMD released the Geode NX, an Athlon-based chipset running at 667MHz. The NX is designed for thin clients, printers, point of sale, information and transaction kiosks and telecommunications networking equipment.

AMD acquired the Geode family of products in August 2003, when it bought the Information Appliance division of National Semiconductor .

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