AMD has announced an update to its R-Series line of embedded processors that’s meant to bring improved performance and power efficiency.
The latest "Merlin Falcon" update includes the company’s new Excavator CPU core, which has power efficiency improvements as well as a between 4-15% boost in instructions per clock. It also includes an eight-compute-unit GPU with up to 819FLOPs processing power and DirectX 12 support.
The new design is also the first to bring together both the APU and South Bridge into a single package, making for a true System on a Chip (SoC) design that takes up 30% less space on the motherboard. As well as an APU range, the R-Series can also be bought in CPU only form.
Also included on the chips is a hardware h.265 decoder for 4K video, support for up to three displays, DDR4 support and they’re now have a fully open-source Linux based driver stack.
The chips range in thermal design power (TDP) from 12 to 35W, starting with the dual-core (and quad GPU core) RX-216GD and topping out with the quad-core (eight-core GPU) RX-421BD. Meanwhile the CPU-only option comes in two flavours: the dual-core RX-216TD and quad-core RX-421ND.
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In contrast to more familiar socketed processors that consumers can buy, embedded designs are meant to be soldered right onto the motherboard for a more compact overall system. They’re the choice of processor design for closed systems such as arcade machines, medical imaging platforms, industrial control systems and games consoles such as the PS4 and Xbox One (though the latter use custom designs).
Being an embedded solution it may be a while before consumers are able to get their hands on anything with the new AMD R-Series chips inside, and there’s no word on pricing either.
However, if rumours are to be believed, an AMD chip will power the next Nintendo console that's expected to be called the Nintendo NX, so it may well be a variation on the R-Series that powers it.