IoT & Embedded Technology Blog

Sometimes Less Can Be More - A Lot More!

As you may recall, AMD won VDC’s Hardware Embeddy for the new G-Series SoC processors. The G-Series line of these processors continues to expand and this week provides another example of the broadening of that line to address lower TDP applications .

With a maximum Thermal Design Power (TDP) of only 6 Watts the GX-210JA SoC formally announced this morning consumes a third less power than what was, until today, the lowest power G-Series member. On average, and depending on the application, AMD projects the new product will exhibit 3 Watts TDP. This may not seem like a big deal but it is if you are an OEM looking to rollout a new product where the available budget for power and cooling are low but, at the same time, the applications running on the product required dual-core processing and graphics capability. The new GX-210JA features a dual-core running at 1 GHz and a GPU core running at 225MHz.

How did AMD make this breakthrough while still using a 28nm process? There were actually a couple of simple steps. First of all, they turned off support for VGA as the analog driver components were guilty of consuming more power than the benefits they supply to the few, if any OEMs that still use VGA. On a similar note, USB 3.0 was also not supported with the theory that USB 2.0 was sufficient for most applications. It is also possible that AMD uses a few process tweaks and some form of selectivity to produce the GX-210JA.

Where could this new AMD product find market traction? We certainly have a few ideas. First of all, we believe that Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) will be a significantly growing market for embedded computing suppliers. VSaaS will need thin-clients with graphics processing co-located at camera installations to perform the video transcoding needed for transmission to cloud resources. In some places where surveillance cameras are placed, the available power and environment will not favor products that require fans. A 6 Watt TDP embedded processor can easily be used in fanless computers without the OEM needing to use extravagant heat sinks.

In summary, the GPU on the G-Series can be used for that VSaaS application just as easily as it could be for supporting HMIs and displays. This brings us to signage, gaming, and medical devices where informative and intuitive displays can differentiate an OEM’s product.  The 225Mhz GPU may not have the performance for 3D or other challenging video applications but, that is not an issue for many of the product types we mentioned. Less is sometimes a lot more.