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Mentor Embedded Linux ready to roll on AMD SoCs

Sep 22, 2014 — by Eric Brown — 1,296 views

Mentor Graphics has begun shipping Mentor Embedded Linux for AMD’s new Steppe Eagle, Crowned Eagle, and Bald Eagle G-Series and R-Series SoCs.

Back in April, Mentor Graphics announced that it would support AMD’s new generation of Embedded G-Series SoCs called “Steppe Eagle” and “Crowned Eagle,” as well as the new R-Series “Bald Eagle” SoCs. The company partnered with AMD to offer Mentor’s stripped-down Mentor Embedded Linux Lite derivative and Sourcery Codebench Lite, a lightweight version of its Sourcery CodeBench GNU toolchain IDE for debugging. Now Mentor Graphics is providing the full, commercial Mentor Embedded Linux embedded distribution and development package, which it now calls the “MEL Platform,” plus the complete Eclipse-based Sourcery CodeBench.

(click for info)

Embedded Linux developers can use the products to create gizmos including digital gaming devices, point-of-sale (POS) equipment, and electronic signage/displays, says Mentor Graphics. Users who already downloaded the “Lite” versions “can now easily migrate to these new commercially-supported versions,” says the company. Customization services and technical support are also available.

With MEL, developers can build a customized Linux-based platform from source based on Yocto Project code. Sourcery CodeBench, which includes Sourcery Analyzer, lets C/C+ developers “gain valuable insights into system behavior and timing through a visual debugging framework that identifies functional, timing, and performance bottlenecks,” says Mentor. JTAG probe debug support is available, as well as debug and profiling packages include Oprofile, Perf, and KGDB.

Mentor Embedded Linux (MEL) block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

MEL integrates an accelerated version of the open source Qt 5 graphics framework and an accelerated GStreamer media stack (OpenMax). Developers can make use of Qt library modules, as well as “unique system-level trace and analysis visualization to easily optimize UI performance metrics, such as frame rate, to deliver highly responsive graphics-intensive applications,” says the company.

AMD’s new Embedded SoCs

In late May, AMD announced the availability of its Bald Eagle versions of the R-Series SoCs. The system-on-chips offer up to four 3.6GHz “Steamroller” cores, as well as Heterogeneous System Architecture support, and are designed for high-end multimedia.

Most embedded developers will instead be drawn to the Steppe Eagle and Crowned Eagle parts, which provide greater power efficiency in models with an integrated GPU (Steppe Eagle) or without (Crowned Eagle). The Steppe Eagle G-Series SoCs include both dual- and quad-core configurations, while the first Crowned Eagle SoCs are all quad-core models. Both are pin-compatible with earlier G-Series SoCs.

The four new Steppe Eagle models feature up to a 60 percent jump in CPU performance and up to 53 percent more overall performance compared to earlier models, claims AMD. They are also claimed to offer up to a 96 percent improvement in overall performance-per-Watt. Other new features are said to include ECC memory support and a dedicated Platform Security Processor (PSP) compatible with ARM TrustZone technology. The Steppe Eagle parts range from a quad-core, 2.4GHz GX424CC model with 25W TDP to a 2GHz, dual-core GX212JC with 6W TDP.

In May Win Enterprises announced an MB-60830 3.5-inch single-board computer called the MB-73360 that supports the four new Steppe Eagle SoCs. Last week, the company followed up with a Steppe Eagle-enabled Mini-ITX SBC called the MB-73360.

“This additional software, along with the service capability of Mentor, will be of great value to our customers who require a scalable global supplier to meet the needs of their embedded system design challenges,” stated Kamal Khouri, director of product management and marketing, AMD Embedded Solutions.

Further information

The MEL Platform for AMD Embedded G-Series and R-Series customers is available now at an unstated price. More information may be found at Mentor’s MEL Platform for AMD product page.

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