AMD's Geode LX Processor Chipset
May 31, 2005

AMD plans to start production of its low power consumption Geode LX chipset later this year, providing a rival for VIA's forthcoming "Luke" CoreFusion chipset line.

The Geode LX800@0.9W CPU sits between the more robust 667 MHz to 1.2 GHz Geode NX chips announced a year ago, and the Geode GX and SCxxx chips inherited from National Semiconductor's "Geode" branch, acquired by AMD in 2003. AMD hope manufacturers will include the chip in their thin clients, set top boxes, HDTVs, kiosks and tablet PCs, to name but a few.

Power savings on previous designs have been found by reducing the process size from 0.15 to 0.13 microns, and through a power manager that shuts down unused parts of the CPU during operation. Performance is enhanced with 400Mhz memory bandwidth, an upgrade of the Level 1 data cache from 16 Kbits to 128 Kbits, and by adding a 128 Kbit Level 2 cache. Security features now include hardware based AES encryption/decryption and a 128 bit random number generator.

The LX800@0.9W variant actually has a clock speed of 500Mhz: AMD use a performance-power rating system that doesn't directly represent clock speed. The LX has been benchmarked as 50% faster than a previous Geode CPU, the 400Mhz GX533, which in turn was benchmarked by AMD as equivalent to a (presumably circa 2002) VIA C3 processor running at 533Mhz... The 0.9W figure reflects current draw at around 80% load, though this figure does not include supporting chips.

AMD have bundled everything into a convenient Mini-ITX form factor Geode LX DB800 Development Board, consisting of a CPU Module Board sitting on top of a 17cm x 17cm Base Board. Visible in our picture are both the LX800 CPU (which also integrates a 2D graphics controller), and the CS5536 South Bridge on interface duties.

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