020-021_EETE-VF

EETE DECEMBER 2012

DESIGN & PRODUCTS DISPLAYS & INTERFACES Modern embedded solutions for graphical interfaces By Martin Danzer User haBits anD data structures have changed significantly space-saving 2-chip not only in the consumer sector, but also in the applications of solution consisting the embedded segment: the market demands innovative and of an APU and an intuitive user interfaces with multi-touch information transmis- appropriate control- sion that is increasingly based on high quality (3D) graphics ler hub that runs and visualization. Naturally, these developments affect the all other peripheral required processing capacity. Despite having to process more connections – see data in less time, modern embedded applications must be more figure 1. compact, use less power and be more cost effective. This has The new AMD opened a gap in the market which cannot be filled by conven- Embedded R-Series tional x86 architectures alone. Computer-on-Modules (COMs), APUs come in eight such as the conga-TFS COM Express basic module from con- different perfor- gatec are designed to fill this gap. mance classes with dual and quad core Traditional approaches are not enough processors and In the past, measures such as increasing the clock rate or add- a range of AMD ing more x86 cores solved most of the performance problems Radeon™ graph- Fig. 1: The AMD Embedded G-Series that arose. However, when it comes to efficient processing ics units from the APU and controller hub at a glance. of massive parallel data streams, such as what is needed in 7000 family. They industrial automation and medical imaging applications, these are scalable from 17 to 35 Watts TDP for the top-of-the-range measures do not help. The reason is that x86 processors are model AMD R-464L APU and seamlessly extend the perfor- designed for multifunctional performance with serial processing. mance of the AMD G-Series APUs. When it comes to processing large amounts of data in parallel with the same algorithms, for example when applying an image The new processor architecture filter to each pixel of an image, their scalar and serial structure Compared to the G-Series platform, the new R-Series platform are a disadvantage. This is where the advantage of GPUs be- offers a revised x86 architecture characterized by a combina- comes evident. Over time, GPUs have developed into powerful, tion of shared and dedicated resources. The new processor programmable vector processors with up to several hundreds architecture provides two x86 cores which have access to up of identical cores. This makes them highly scalable and pro- to 2 MB of shared L2 cache. Each core has an integer unit plus vides an excellent platform for demanding parallel tasks using 128-bit floating point unit (FPU). If required, two FPUs can now GPGPU (general purpose GPU) calculations. also be combined to a 256 FPU, increasing the floating point performance of an application significantly. Together we are strong Dedicated processing units provide additional energy ef- What could be more advantageous is to combine the per- ficiency: the revised unified video decoder reduces the power formance of both the CPU and the GPU, thereby creating an consumption of the APU during video playback. In the AMD extremely powerful processor that can handle virtually all tasks. Embedded R-Series APU, two independent 1080p video AMD has done just that with the introduction of the Accelerated streams can be handled simultaneously, with support for 3D Processing Unit (APU). It is called APU because it integrates Blu-ray content. A brand new feature is the video compression a CPU and a discrete-class programmable GPU onto a single engine, which converts HD video in real time and with minimal silicon die. This way it becomes possible to efficiently process CPU load to the H.264 format. This is useful, for example, for scalar workloads on x86 cores and vector workloads on the video conferencing systems or video surveillance applications. GPU thereby achieving better overall performance and greater Another new feature is the secure asset management unit which power savings. enables GPU-assisted encryption and decryption of sensitive data. This is particularly useful for medical, gaming or cloud- Accelerated processing units based applications, where application data has to be encrypted. AMD introduced the first APU with the launch of its Embed- ded G-Series platform. It is designed for compact, low-power The new graphics unit devices and is used, for example, across congatec’s extremely Offering between 128 and 384 graphics cores with a clock compact Qseven module range. In June of 2012, AMD unveiled speed of up to 686 MHz, the integrated AMD Radeon graphics the Embedded R-Series platform, a new processor platform unit of the 7000 family is also new and more powerful. With a specifically aimed at mid-range to high-performance systems. 3Dmark Vantage “E” result of 13,066, the AMD R-464L APU of- Like the AMD G-Series platform, the AMD R-Series platform is a fers three times the graphics performance of the most powerful G-Series APU. This is well above any performance levels previ- Martin Danzer is Product Manager at congatec AG - ously available in an integrated graphics unit. www.congatec.com However, thanks to individual resource allocation, modules 20 Electronic Engineering Times Europe December 2012 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE DECEMBER 2012
To see the actual publication please follow the link above