AMD launches Bald Eagle R-Series APUs
May 20, 2014 // 7:28 a.m.
AMD has announced its latest-generation embedded accelerated processing unit (APU) products, the 'Bald Eagle' R-Series APUs, with a view to capturing a bigger chunk of the gambling, medical, signage and low-power markets.
The first embedded processor to incorporate features from the Heterogeneous Systems Architecture (HSA) in its design, which aims to blur the boundaries between the compute performance provided by the central-processing and graphics-processing portions of the chip, AMD is aiming the Bald Eagle platform at embedded markets where traditional chips might not have the oomph. In particular, the company is hoping for considerable success in the medical imaging, gambling machine and digital signage markets - all of which rely on graphics performance as well as general-purpose computing prowess, but that don't want hot-running processors drawing scads of power.
Accordingly, the first Bald Eagle R-Series chips boast support for Windows, Linux, and various Real Time Operating Systems (RTOSes) on hardware boasting Steamroller cores running between 2.2GHz and 3.6GHz and Graphics Core Next (GCN) GPU hardware running between 533MHz and 686MHz depending on model. That unveils the R-Series as the performance kings of AMD's embedded arsenal: according to the company's internal testing, the top-end AMD RX-427BB chip scored 2051 on the 3DMark 11 benchmark suite to Intel's Haswell-based Core i7-4765T's 1424 - a 44 per cent increase in graphics performance for the same 35W thermal design profile (TDP). A similar 46 per cent improvement was noted between the two processors in the BasemarkCL benchmark.
To encourage adoption of the chips, AMD has pledged a 10 year support lifetime - meaning that the parts, or pin-compatible equivalents as drop-in replacements - should be available for at least that long. The fine-print of the company's announcement, however, warns that the planned product availability is 'subject to change without notice' but that firm guarantees will be available for those paying for a support contract.
AMD has not yet provided pricing for the Bald Eagle family.