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AMD Embeds Graphics in Ryzen

March 20, 2018

Author: Tom R. Halfhill

AMD’s first Zen-based embedded processors with integrated graphics are a major improvement over previous models and pose a serious challenge to Intel’s integrated chips. Code-named Great Horned Owl, the Ryzen Embedded V1000 family is based on the Ryzen mobile-PC family (“Raven Ridge”) introduced last year. The embedded chips have Ethernet ports, additional I/O interfaces, and the 10-year availability that many embedded customers require. Some have faster Zen CPUs than the mobile versions, and all are available now.

The new family comprises four models. Each one integrates a GPU core based on AMD’s newest Vega architecture. The high-end V1807B has a Vega GPU with 11 compute units (CUs)—a far cry from the Radeon RX Vega graphics card, which has 64 CUs. Nevertheless, it easily beats Intel’s integrated GPUs. The other V1000 models have fewer CUs and economize in other ways as well.

These parts target embedded systems that need x86 compatibility with strong graphics, 4K-resolution video, and up to four displays. The leading customers are casino-game manufacturers. Two of them (Advantech and Quixant) already are shipping V1000-based platforms. Advantech also offers a V1000 multimedia gaming engine, a Mini-ITX embedded motherboard, and a Com-E module for game systems, medical equipment, and industrial automation.

The V1000 family supersedes AMD’s older “Falcon” embedded processors. Falcon uses an older, slower Radeon GCN (Graphics Core Next) GPU that peaks at 800MHz. A greater handicap is the Excavator CPU, which is no match for Zen or for Intel CPUs. It isn’t dual threaded, and Falcon chips have only two or four cores. The low-end V1000s outrun the best Falcons, and the high-end V1000s far surpass them.

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