CHIMPZILLA ANNOUNCED something that was lost in this week’s background noise. At the ESC 2008 in Boston, the company delivered the 780E, the company’s first chipset for the embedded desktop, server and mobile market - supporting everything that works on an AM2+ socket.
DAAMIT claims you'll be able to get a CPU+chipset combo working at just under 15W - using an Athlon 2000+ 8W processor.
To us desktop users, we'll find the 780E very familiar as it is just a rebranding of the 780G chipset... So "embedded" it isn’t, really, but it could help AMD dump a whole bunch of 65nm chips into a package that someone can make use of. You can look at the block diagrams below and see the 780E is really a re-labelled 780G, so expect the same features and performance. According to the block diagram, the chipset targets Athlon X2 processors as well as single-core Athlons, but the literature is a bit more open minded announcing support for quad-core Phenoms - although that would blow away the thermals and the power requirements of embedded computers...
Plain as black on white, innit?
To be honest there already are embedded chipsets in the AMD camp, you can even find embedded Opterons out there – according to AMD, at least. For example you’ve got the M690T single-chip solution that’s a little outdated, but very viable. However, the 780G – sorry - 780E brings together a bunch of technologies that would make it useful for businesses to develop more specialised and power efficient devices on. Not that the 780E was built as an embedded chipset – it still features the wasteful (from an integrated point of view) North+Southbridge arrangement, but maybe that is just enough to kickstart things.
780G hasn’t really been well explored by the motherboard partners. The marketing spin on the 780E could, however, do that by getting certain business segments to explore it beyond the constraints of the desktop PC. Take HyperFlash for instance, it’s been available for a while (much like Intel’s Turbo Cache), but nothing’s been done with it... theoretically you'd get an instant-on environment which you can add an HD3200 IGP, a low power processor and some storage. That's a very powerful set-top box/media centre in itself...
On November 13th AMD will deliver a statement to analysts on their plans for 2009, including what they’re planning for the low power computing market and - hopefully - embedded is part of that too. Maybe they'll signal a new direction and stop grabbing onto Intel’s coattails (ie: industry initiatives). Low power computing is big these days and there's much to be done.
If you’re a system developer you can put on your trenchcoat, go straight to the nearest phone booth and give AMD a ring, the codename is “Mahogany”... µ
Some people do have a lot of time on their hands
It's only been days since its release but hackers gonna hack
And some spent, er, just £238
Souped-up flagship also packs Warp Charge, 256GB storage