Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

AMD releases a consumer electronics chip

Filed under
Hardware

The new Geode LX800 is an energy-efficient processor for small computers, set-top boxes, TVs and handhelds, according to Chief Technical Officer Fred Weber. The chip runs at 533MHz and is said to provide the equivalent performance of an 800MHz processor from Via Technologies.

While that's far less oomph than chips for notebooks and desktops, the processor only consumes about 0.9 watts and does not require heat sinks or fans. This lowers both cost and the overall volume of devices. At the same time, it's an x86 chip, so all the conventional software produced for desktops will run on it, unlike many CE chips.

"Software is more and more the problem people are facing," Weber said. Seventeen companies are currently tinkering with prototypes running the chip, and a few of these products will likely hit shelves later this year.

Both Intel and AMD have begun to squeeze their chips into consumer electronics devices. Intel won a contract to supply Celeron chips for a Microsoft set-top box and is working on a line of chips derived from its notebook and desktop lines for CE devices. AMD, meanwhile, earlier released the Geode NX line. These chips are used in the Personal Internet Communicator promoted by AMD in India.

Both companies, though, will face stiff competition from incumbents like Texas Instruments and ARM, which have for years developed chips, software and reference designs for CE manufacturers.

The company came up with the idea of going into electronics while producing the Opteron chip. "We saw that we could go up with x86, so we thought, if you can go up, you can probably go down," Weber explained. The strategy is now known as "x86 everywhere."

The consumer electronics market, however, differs substantially. For one thing, the chips must cost less. The highest-performing Geode LX chips, with a companion chipset, will cost $45, far less than desktop and server chips.

"You need to sell millions of them to make money," conceded Weber. On the bright side, these chips cost less to develop than server chips, and manufacturers often want supply contracts that last five years.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Tanglu 3.0 Alpha Out Now Based on Debian 8 Jessie, Offers GNOME 3.16 and KDE Plasma 5

Matthias Klumpp announced today, April 18, the immediate availability for download and testing of the first Alpha version of the upcoming Tanglu 3 Linux operating system. Read more

EXT4 In Linux 4.1 Adds File-System Level Encryption

The EXT4 file-system updates for the Linux 4.1 kernel have been sent in and it features the file-system-level encryption support. Earlier this month we wrote about the newly-published patches for EXT4 encryption support coming out of Google and intended to land in the next major release of Android. Those patches for file-system-level encryption will now be landing upstream with the Linux 4.1 kernel update. Besides this native encryption support for EXT4, the rest of the updates for this merge window pull request equate to mainly fixes. More details via the pull request itself. Read more

Manjaro Linux 0.8.13 Pre1 Released for Testing with KDE Plasma 5.2.2 and Xfce 4.12

The Manjaro development team announced that the first Preview release of the upcoming Manjaro Linux 0.8.13 operating system is now available for download in Xfce and KDE Live CD flavors. Read more