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    25.Aug.2022

    How AMD Embedded SBCs Are Seeking to Improve The Rugged Edge

    How AMD is transforming the rugged edge  

    AMD Ryzen Embedded Soc Chip

    AMD has stepped up massively in recent years and has also begun their move into the embedded world. But what makes AMD different and why should they be considered now?
     

    In a world that has been dominated by Intel’s generational CPU’s, AMD has silently crept its way into the forefront with its own improved line of processors. In 2018, AMD introduced and evolved their portfolio a line of embedded processors that incorporate not only their "Zen" CPU but also their "Vega" GPU architectures in a single SoC (system on chip) solution that is determined to make breakthrough improvements. AMD has accelerated their advancement in bringing their architecture into the rugged edge space, giving embedded applications even more options when it comes to searching for low power with high-performance processing solutions. Ryzen Embedded CPUs allow single board computers to achieve even greater levels of results when it comes to compute.
     

    But what sets AMD apart from Intel’s line of processors? And how were they able to rise in such a short amount of time to provide market competition? The biggest differentiator is the lithography. When we look at a processor, they consist of billions of transistors that reside within the unit, and the smaller the distance between transistors, the more they can fit within that tiny space. Currently, when it comes to employing nanometer technology, AMD’s strategy is completely different than Intel’s simply because of its own chosen business models. In the past Intel triumphed over the competition with their own R&D, staying ahead of the curve by almost a mile with their own massive fabrication facilities focused on silicon technology. They did almost everything in-house and set the standard across the board for all nanometer silicon technology. However, due to internal delays on product roadmaps for future processing technology, Intel couldn’t leverage that same power to maintain its full form. To read more on the details on the battle between AMD vs. Intel, both The Verge and The Conversation have written a great piece on the circumstances that affected both AMD and Intel.
     

    That is where AMD started to rise. AMD does not produce their own processers like Intel does. Instead, they partner with semiconductor giant, TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) to produce 7nm nodes for their chips and even smaller nanometer nodes. With this partnership, AMD was able to easily nudge out Intel whose CPUs were still sitting at double the transistor distance. By leveraging 7nm within their “Zen” architecture processors, it allowed for more density, increasing cache size and lowering overall power consumption. This key strategic partnership allowed AMD to introduce the latest processing technology for key vertical markets for performance and throughput.
     

    Heat and power will always be a byproduct in nanometer design. With more performance demands, the usual result will always beg for more power consumption and cooling needed to power  performance in real-time. When Intel drove up the performance of the 14nm chips, it also drove up the power consumption and cooling needs in order to meet those demands. However, with the 7nm distance between transistors in AMD chips, performance can be much higher and not require the same amount of power consumption that 14nm needs to meet the same efficiency. And, when it comes to the rugged edge, lower power consumption for high performance is very much needed. In areas where an embedded computer may be subjected to major dust, debris, shock, vibration, or extreme temperatures, every bit to optimize and lower power without sacrificing compute performance is key. This demand becomes even greater when it comes to systems that utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning to perform real time inferencing, where every second counts.  
     

    AMD Embedded SoC Processors 

    So, when AMD dove into the rugged edge space with a line of AMD Embedded SoCs processors, they recognized that their unique architecture could tremendously benefit applications that function in non-traditional environments. By tackling the dreaded power, heat and other issues that arise when it comes to deploying and operating rugged edge systems, AMD offered ultra-performance seamlessly on a single chip solution that runs with low thermal design power (TDP) (as low as 6W and as high as 54W). With the rise of IoT and edge computing, the demand for competitive performance per dollar becomes more prevalent in applications that are moving away from the cloud. These applications must be able to function in environments that aren’t typically supported for computing systems, yet still produce the same data processing power that can be found in cloud computing. And with Artificial Intelligence and machine learning growing more and more complex each day, the need for systems that can develop real-time processing is more prevalent than ever. 
     

    AMD embedded SoC chips also come with many other impressive features that enable and elevate the embedded industry as well. One of the biggest mentions is the ability to support multiple UHD 4K displays through the utilization of their “Vega” integrated graphics architecture. As the need for more graphic driven performance in applications like digital signage or casino gaming becomes more demanding, the need for a system that can deliver high graphic performance without compromising power and costs is more important than ever. Adding onto low TDP and high graphic support, AMD embedded SoCs also deliver a long-embedded lifespan, lasting up to 10 years without needing to be replaced. When it comes to applications designed for the rugged edge, these systems are very much needed to operate in tight enclosed spaces. The cost to replace and repair consistently is much too high. Rather, ensuring a long-lasting lifespan helps eliminate these maintenance costs and keep efficiency lasting for an extended period of time. Additionally, AMD SoC chips also deliver dual-channel and ECC memory, doubling the bandwidth and speed for faster data exchange and protecting memory failure and corruption in critical applications. AMD embedded chips also leverage their AMD secure processor (PSP) to ensure maximum security by encrypting its data before feeding it to any I/O component.
     

    AMD Embedded R1000 and V1000 Series 

    AMD r1000 v1000 series embedded soc processors

    Named the R-series and V-series for a mid-range to high performance line respectively, AMD set out to create a new high performance and power efficient system on chip (SoC) solution that is purpose-built for the rugged edge. Both series deliver performance based upon the user needs and are suited for an array of applications ranging from signage to smart retail stores and kiosks.   
     

    The R1000 series processor brings up to 3x generational CPU performance per watt and 4x better CPU and graphics per dollar. The R1000 series is perfect in ideal embedded applications that require designs from as low as 6W to 25W.  
     

    The V1000 series delivers peak performance and graphics for heavier compute performing applications. Able to yield up to 3.6 TLFOPS, it features 4C/8T Zen Cores and has a TDP ranging as low as 12W to as high as 54W. The V1000 series processors set a new standard in processing power, allowing for greater compute performance and efficiency in a single SoC offering. Both series deliver powerful processing throughput for demanding workloads, with the V1000 offering greater GPU performance.  
     

    An AMD processor on its own, however, can’t function and see any practical use. By itself, it is just a small piece of silicon technology. At the heart of every embedded PC (and every PC in general) lies the foundational core that drives business, and that is the motherboard.  The motherboard is what allows a Ryzen embedded SoC to deliver the performance and benefits to a desired application. However, not every application has the capacity or the space to run a fully built ruggedized edge system. Sometimes, in these circumstances, a small but powerful single-board computer fits the job perfectly. Enter single board computers.  
     

    What are single board computers and how do they differ from others?

    3.5 inch 1.8 inch single board computers SBC small form factor

    Single board computers, or commonly referred to as SBCs, are the heart and soul of many types of various applications that fall under these conditions. SBCs are a complete computer system that is fully contained and built on a single silicon board. Each SBC contains a CPU, GPU, Chipset, and I/O ports that are all soldered onto the board. And while some additional parts may be added (like RAM, storage devices, or additional I/O ports) for more specific customization, the concept is the same. Because these parts are all glued onto a single board, SBCs are much smaller in comparison to most other motherboards, the most standard being the common ATX form factor. SBCs come in a variety of sizes, the two standardized sizes being 2.5” and 3.5”, but the main selling point is that they are small.  
     

    Despite their size. SBCs are powerful. They can not only process and compute complex tasks and data telemetry applications, but also are designed for almost any embedded solution because of their small form factor size. Their size and powerful processing power make it a popular pick in rugged edge applications where space is constrained or where system integrators leverage a single board computer for their own product design Everything can be built around the SBC to allow it to run no matter what the deployment style looks like. And because of how they’re designed, they offer amazing benefits ranging from low thermal design power (TDP) and industrial-grade build quality.   

    SBC single board computer benefits low power high performance and efficiency

    AMD Embedded SBCs: A Powerful Combination 

    And when you combine two powerful components together, you get a purpose-built AMD embedded single board solution that is primed and ready to take on any rugged edge challenge. An AMD embedded SBC solves the issue with constrained space, allowing for the end user to customize their embedded design around a small form factor, which creates the perfect answer to the power and performance for newer applications at the edge and away from the cloud. C&T’s line of AMD embedded SBCs are ready to meet the processing requirements of various embedded applications, such as digital signage, self-serving kiosks, casino gaming, and many more applications where high performance is needed in a small, confined space.  
     

    C&T has introduced two sizes of AMD embedded SBCs that are specifically designed to tackle various embedded applications that require compact form factors, intensive computing performance, rich visuals, and industrial grade durability. C&T has carefully selected from AMD’s line Ryzen Embedded SoC processors that deemed the most fitting for its two AMD supported SBCs, the R1606G and V1605B. Both models of the R1000 and V1000 series are a great match for C&T’s new 3.5” and 1.8” AMD embedded SBCs to help bring out the most in a single board solution. 

    Model 

    TDP Range 

    CPU Core/Thread Count 

    CPU Base Freq. GHz 

    1T Boost Freq. GHz (up to) 

    Graphics Computing Units (SIMD) 

    GPU Freq. GHz (up to) 

    L2 Cache 

    Package 

    Max DDR4 Rate (MT/s) 

    Junction Temperature Range (°C) 

    R1606G 

    12-25W 

    2 / 4 

    2.6 

    3.5 

    3 

    1.2 

    1MB 

    FP5 

    2,400 

    0-105 

    V1605B 

    12-25W 

    4 / 8 

    2 

    3.6 

    8 

    1.1 

    2MB 

    FP5 

    2400 

    0-105 



    C&T 3.5" and 1.8" AMD Ryzen Embedded SBCs

    AMD-Industrial-Motherboard-SBC
     

    Our 3.5” AMD embedded SBC, CT-DR101, integrates with the Ryzen Embedded R1606G and V1605B series processors to tackle powerful processing and multitasking from various IoT sensors and devices at the rugged edge. Able to support up to three independent high-resolution displays (two UHD 4k and 1 WUXGA) to ensure compatibility and expandability, C&T’s 3.5” SBC allows for beautiful multimedia applications to come to life. It is also supported by two DDR4 SO-DIMM memory slots to assist in delivering peak dual-channel performance. These memory slots are supported by ECC (error correction code) memory, which helps detect and prevent errors in data corruption before they occur. The 3.5” AMD embedded SBC offers a wide range of scalability via various I/Os expansion slots, including SATA, mPCIe, M.2, and even dedicated high speed port. C&T's 3.5" CT-DR101 SBC is the ideal single board computer for numerous embedded applications due to its form factor that is small enough to fit into tight spaces, feature rich I/O ports and expansion slots, and deliver the highest-grade data processing performance.  
     

    Key features: 

    • AMD Ryzen™ Embedded R1000/V1000 (12-25W TDP) 
    • 2x DDR4 2400 SO-DIMM Up to 32GB (ECC/non-ECC) 
    • 1x SIM Card Slot for 4G/LTE or 5G Cellular 
    • Triple Independent Display: 4K HDMI, 4K DP, LVDS WUXGA 
    • I/O: 2x GbE LAN, 2x USB 3.2 (10GB), 2x USB 2.0 
    • Wide Operating Temperature: -40°C ~ 85°C 
    • Expansion: 1x M.2, 1x mPCIe, 1x SATA 
    • 50 Pin High Speed Connector (PCIe x4) for customizable I/O 
    • Wireless Support: Bluetooth 5 and Wi-Fi 6 
    • fTPM 2.0 / Optional TPM 2.0 
     

    C&T’s 1.8” (FEMTO-ITX) SBC, CT-NR101 series, AMD embedded SBC is an extremely compact single board computer that integrates with the Ryzen Embedded R1606G SoC to help deliver peak performance in the tiniest of space constrained applications. This credit card sized SBC boasts the most enhanced versatility and reliability in the smallest form factor. Fitted with AMD Ryzen Embedded R1606G SoC, it takes performance to the most highly space-constrained embedded applications. The 1.8” CT-NR101 supports dual independent 4K displays, an expandable mPCIe slot, and a USB Type-C port, reinforcing its compatibility and scalability in this tiny but powerful SBC.  
     

    Key Features: 

    • AMD Ryzen™ Embedded R1000 Series 
    • DDR4-2400 Single-Channel Memory (Up to 8GB) 
    • Dual Independent 4K Displays: 2x Micro HDMI 
    • Internal eMMC Storage up to 64GB 
    • Expansion: 1x mPCIe, 1x SMBus 
    • 1x USB 3.2 (5GB) Type-C (5V/3A) 
    • 1x Intel GbE LAN 
     

    Why C&T?

    C&T has leveraged its experience in computing design and manufacturing to provide reliable solutions enterprise with specialized requirements. C&T’s AMD embedded SBC is the newest addition to a line of purpose-built products ready for the rugged edge. C&T has positioned itself to provide scalable manufacturing with our state-of-the-art facility in Taiwan. Our goal is to provide localized support, rapid time-to-market, and complete manufacturing transparency for our core products in Embedded IoT Computers, Rugged Edge Computers, HMI Displays and HPC Storage Servers. 

    AMD-motherboard-manufacturer

     

    Sources used:
    The Verge
    The Conversation 

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