AMD's Ryzen Embedded R1000 series SoC brings Zen performance to low-power market

AMD's newest embedded SoC competes with Arm-based systems for digital signage, microconsole, and other low-end platforms.

RISC-V: The open-source ISA aiming for Arm's domination of IoT and embedded devices The open source RISC-V ISA allows companies to build their own CPUs for IoT and embedded devices, without needing to pay royalties associated with Arm processors.

AMD is taking a second shot at the embedded market with this week's introduction of the Ryzen Embedded R1000 SoC (system-on-a-chip) series, which are touted as being compatible with AMD's existing (and comparatively higher-power) V1000 series platform. The Ryzen Embedded R1000 series are built on 14nm Zen and Vega cores, targeted for a TDP of 15-25W.

Two variants of the R1000 series were announced, both with a two-core, four-thread design—the key differentiator here being clock speeds. The R1505G runs at 2.4 GHz base / 3.3 GHz turbo speed, while the higher-power R1606G runs at 2.6 GHz base / 3.5 GHz turbo speed. The Vega GPU cores run at 1 GHz on the R1505G, and 1.2 GHz on the R1606G. Full benchmarks are available at 3DMark—oddly, from October 2018.

AMD is positioning the pair as having "3x generational performance improvement per watt, and 4x better CPU and graphics performance per dollar than the competition," which in this case is an Intel Core i3-7100U.

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The R1000 series support up to 4K displays at 60 FPS, via DisplayPort 1.4 connections, with hardware-accelerated H.265 encode/decode and decode for VP9. The duo also integrate two 10GbE connections, and support the same security extensions found on server-targeted EPYC CPUs, making the duo attractive for NAS and digital signage use cases.

Atari is planning to use the new CPUs for the Linux-powered Atari VCS microconsole, in place of the originally announced (and lower-power) AMD APU, and they are expected to appear in other (not necessarily consumer-facing) embedded systems for digital signage and embedded systems in the near future. The R1000 would be an attractive option for a higher-end single board enthusiast computer, as the x86-64 architecture and UEFI support allows for easier deployment than Arm-powered devices.

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AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su holding a production sample of a Ryzen 3 CPU during a CES 2019 keynote.

Screenshot: James Sanders/TechRepublic

By James Sanders

James Sanders is a technology writer for TechRepublic. He covers future technology, including quantum computing, AI, and 5G, as well as cloud, security, open source, mobility, and the impact of globalization on the industry, with a focus on Asia.