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AMD unleashes new lowest power APU for embedded systems

Advanced Micro Devices this week introduced its most power-stingy G-Series APU for embedded systems to date, combining CPU and GPU capabilities in a System-on-a-Chip (SoC) design with a maximum power draw of 6 Watts and a 3 Watt average power draw.

AMD's new dual-core, 1GHz GX-210JA accelerated processing unit uses a third less power than the previous low-power leader in the chip maker's G-Series SoC family, the dual-core, 1GHz GX-210HA with a maximum power draw of 9 Watts. The GX-210JA features a dual-core, x86 CPU coupled with Radeon HD 8180 discrete-class graphics clocking at 225MHz, enterprise-class Error-Correction Code (ECC) memory support, and an integrated I/O controller.

"The advance of APU processor design, the Surround Computing era, and the Internet of Things has created the demand for embedded devices that are low power but also offer excellent compute and graphics performance. AMD Embedded G-Series SOC products offer unparalleled compute, graphics and I/O integration, resulting in fewer board components, low-power use, and reduced complexity and overhead cost," Arun Iyengar, VP and GM of AMD's Embedded Systems unit, said.

With its low average power draw, the GX-210JA opens the door for more fanless designs to drive embedded systems running "industrial controls and automation, digital gaming, and communications infrastructure" applications, as well as "visual embedded products including thin client, digital signage, and medical imaging," according to AMD.

Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst for Moor Insights & Strategy, made the case for the new SoC carving out a unique place in the market, given its combination of compute capabilities and energy efficiency.

"I think their new embedded G-Series APU solves a lot of problems for embedded system designers who are looking for great GPU performance and good x86 CPU performance, with a very low power draw. It's really in a class of its own," Moorhead said.

AMD hasn't experienced its easiest year so far, but we expect things to improve for the company, as soon as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 arrive.