No. 2 chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices is rolling forward with plans to extend its output of x86–the architecture underneath most PC processors, including AMD’s Athlons–with an extended Geode line of low-power, low-cost processors, Fred Weber, AMD’s chief technology officer, told CNET News.com.
Over the next few years, the company plans to introduce a range of new chips designed for jobs such as powering personal media players and set-top boxes.
AMD believes that electronics manufacturers will need to use beefier operating systems as they add more functions to their gear. Given the huge amount of software available for the x86 processors that have formed the foundation of PCs for years–not to mention operating systems such as Windows and Linux–AMD believes that manufacturers will switch from chips based on RISC or MIPS architectures to x86.
AMD also offers the Athlon-based Geode NX for devices such as thin clients, point-of-sale systems, kiosks and printers. Its system-on-a-chip Geodes, such as the SC1200 for set-top boxes, are designed to handle all of the functions a given device needs by including a processor core along with a host of controllers needed to run video screens and other peripherals. Weber indicated that AMD’s future Geode plans include such all-in-one chips.