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AMD partners with Mentor on embedded Linux BSPs

Apr 2, 2014 — by Eric Brown 679 views

AMD and Mentor Graphics are developing BSPs based on Mentor Embedded Linux for the new “Steppe Eagle” (G-Series) and “Bald Eagle” (R-Series) processors.

The multi-year agreement between AMD and Mentor Graphics covers open source embedded Linux development for heterogeneous and multicore processors from AMD, starting with two new G-Series and R-Series processors expected to launch in first half of this year. With board support packages (BSPs) and development tools including Mentor Embedded Linux, embedded developers will gain “more supported processor options, robust development tools, and greater speed in open platform development,” says Mentor.

The Yocto Project-compatible Mentor Embedded Linux will be offered to AMD developers along with BSPs for upcoming development boards that will feature the new processors. They will also gain access to Mentor’s Sourcery Codebench Lite, a stripped down version of its Sourcery CodeBench GNU toolchain and IDE for debugging, as well as a Mentor Embedded Linux Lite derivative designed to quickly evaluate Linux on AMD embedded processors.


AMD G-Series SoC

In September, AMD revealed its Steppe Eagle upgrade for its G-Series SoC, as well as its Bald Eagle update for the higher-end R-Series application processor unit (APU). AMD also announced an “Adellar” discrete AMD Embedded Radeon GPU, which will also ship in the first half of this year. Specifically designed for embedded applications, the GPU is based on AMD’s new Graphics Core Next architecture. In addition, AMD tipped its “Hierofalcon” SoC, due in the second half, which includes up to eight 64-bit, ARM Cortex-A57 cores.

The Steppe Eagle G-Series SoC will integrate an enhanced “Jaguar” CPU core and AMD Graphics Core Next GPU architecture, resulting in increased performance-per-Watt, according to AMD. It will extend the clock rate beyond the 2GHz provided by the top-of-the-line, quad-core G-Series GX-420CA SoC. There were no details on TDP (thermal design power) ratings, which currently range from 6W for the dual-core GX-210JA to 25W for the GX-420CA.

The Bald Eagle R-Series APU, which lacks an integrated controller chip, features up to four new “Steamroller” CPU cores within a 35W TDP. It will also integrate the power-optimized AMD Radeon Graphics Core Next GPU, as well as Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) enhancements for applications including digital signage and embedded digital gaming. In addition, Bald Eagle will supply new power management features, such as configurable TDP, says AMD.

The AMD agreement is a fairly significant milestone for Mentor Graphics. AMD rival Intel owns Wind River which offers the Yocto-based Wind River Linux. Over the last year or so, we’ve seen more announcements regarding the Mentor Graphics Mentor Automotive Technology Platform (ATP) IVI stack than on the underlying Mentor Embedded Linux distribution and development stack.

We have not seen any formal announcement for Mentor Embedded Linux Lite, which is currently available for LSI’s PowerPC-based Axxia ACP SoCs and Broadcom’s MIPS-based NetLogic XLR and XLS SoCs. This free, lightweight version of the original distribution is Yocto Project compliant, and offers binary images of the root file system and kernel, says Mentor. It also provides access to sources for all open source components.

Further information

The Mentor-based development platforms for AMD’s Steppe Eagle (G-Series) and Bald Eagle (R-Series) processors should be available when those processors emerge in the second quarter. More information will eventually be found at the Mentor Graphics AMD Solutions page, as well as at AMD. In the meantime, you can talk to AMD and Mentor Graphics reps about the partnership at EE Live!, April 1-3 at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, at AMD booth #716 or Mentor Graphics booth #1812.

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