AMD-Powered For Just the Right Touch

In a move that should make some of the most advanced touch-panel displays even more sophisticated, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc today announced that its AMD Alchemy Au1100 processor has been selected by AMX Corp. to power the new Modero family of touch-panel screens.

With the low-power and high-performance chips, AMX officials said they planned to enhance their 7.5- and 8.4-inch Modero ViewPoint Touch Panel screens to provide one-touch automated control to simplify the automation and integration of audio/video, environmental, and communications technology.

“When looking for an embedded processor that would meet our needs, the Alchemy was the natural choice,” said Peter Hohren, vice president of engineering for the Richardson, Texas-based AMX. “[The chip] provides the features and functionality that meet the demands of our customers, including ease-of-integration, high-performance and low-power, all delivered on a small form factor.”

According to Hohren, the AMD chip should enable the entire Modero line to be customized as a customer sees fit for wireless mobility, wall-mount or tabletop installation, or for G4 computer control, which extends remote access and control of a networked computer directly to the interface. That the independent SDRAM and static RAM busses used in the Au1100 processor will allow AMX to generate greater off-chip data movement speeds, which should give Modero Touch Panel users the ability to create icons that flip, spin, morph, and expand at the touch of a screen.

At Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD, company officials celebrated the announcement as another highpoint in an all-around stellar month. In October, Microsoft Corp.
announced that it had begun beta availability of Windows Server 2003 for 64-bit Extended Systems, including those based on AMD’s Opteron 64-bit processor workstations and AMD Athlon 64 desktops. Vice President of Marketing Phil Pompa linked this earlier announcement with todays news concerning AMX.

“We work with our customers to help foster innovation by delivering complete solutions that are designed to meet their processing needs for high integration, high performance and low power,” he said.

What makes the AMD Alchemy Au1100 processor so appealing to customers is its extended system battery life and the performance associated with it. The processor consumes only 250 megawatts of power at 400 megahertz, and runs as a System-on-a Chip (SOC) based on the MIPS32 instruction set, which includes an enhanced custom CPU core, customized memory controller, and a set of industry standard communication peripherals.

These peripherals generally enable unique graphical features, including a high-resolution panel color and image manipulation like the kind AMX planned to tout. As such, Kevin Krewell, an analyst with the Phoenix, Ariz.-based research organization In-Stat/MDR, said that the AMD processors are a perfect match for the kind of touch-panel displays AMX sells.

“Alchemy processors offer good speeds at low power,” he noted. “They are a good choice to small form-factor designs that also need speedy performance.”

AMD’s Pompa said the Au1100 processor was scheduled to be featured at the Embedded Technology 2003 conference in Yokohama, Japan later this month. He added that AMX Modero Touch Panels with the new chips also were scheduled to be showcased at the Electronic House Expo in Long Beach, Calif., from Nov. 10-13.

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