One constant theme throughout AMD’s recent resurgence into high-performance computing has been the messaging around the scalability of its platform. Building a processor that can scale both from single digit watts all the way up to big water cooled compute servers is no easy task, but also combining multiple types of processors into a single chip to also scale just adds layers of difficulty. AMD were keen to point this out at its recent CES presentation, stating that the RDNA2 graphics architecture is immensely scalable, from mobile to notebook to desktop to server, but also through to embedded, industrial, and automotive. It’s that last part I asked CEO Dr. Lisa Su about.

Last year it was announced, and subsequently confirmed through model numbers, that the Tesla infotainment systems in the Model X and Model S are using AMD’s embedded platform to drive the display and graphics in those vehicles. Our understanding is that the first versions of that silicon in those vehicles are based on Zen plus Vega, so I asked Dr Su about what she meant by RDNA2 being in automotive solutions. Beyond that, I also asked about the AMD and Tesla relationship.

Dr Su reaffirmed that RDNA2 was ever-prevalent in the ecosystem, from consoles to PCs, but she also mentioned the Samsung [partnership] in the mobile space. She stated that Tesla is always pushing the envelope and that [AMD] appreciates that they’ve chosen Ryzen and Radeon in vehicles like the Model S and Model X. She went on to say that they’ve also started with the Model 3 and Model Y, adopting [AMD] technologies for their infotainment solutions. There was no explicit detailing about the depth of the relationship or the extent of the agreements between the two, but it seems clear that four of Tesla’s major vehicles using AMD are a sizeable win for the company.

From an outside perspective, it’s interesting just how, where, and which embedded technologies are used in different markets. We hear about so few (AMD plays big in gambling machines, for example) because of the nature of those markets and how accessible they are to the public. At one stage AMD showcased me around their showroom in the Santa Clara HQ that had a number of these implementations, even going back as far as the old G-series embedded silicon, given that the silicon has to be supported for 10-15 years. I wonder if AMD has updated that showroom – I’m going to have to go visit again soon.

*AMD after the interview with Dr Su clarified that Tesla using Ryzen embedded + Navi (RDNA2) in Model S and X. They just started shipping Model 3 and Y (higher volume vehicles) with Ryzen embedded. 

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  • twotwotwo - Monday, January 10, 2022 - link

    Does the footnote that it's RDNA2 effectively mean it's embedded Van Gogh? Too early for 6000 series APU, and either a dGPU or distinct semi-custom SoC seem like overkill for car infotainment.

    Not that it matters all that much, just curious.
  • Lakados - Monday, January 10, 2022 - link

    The offerings in the Tesla Arcade aren't half bad, it's useless, but I suppose if you are living out of that Tesla then it would be a welcome addition.
  • Freeb!rd - Monday, January 10, 2022 - link

    I hear the Gov't will start giving away Telsas with infotainment to the homeless... to get them off the streets and expand EVs in the market. I think they are also going to put money into free charging stations in large cities with the biggest homeless population. /s
  • iranterres - Thursday, January 27, 2022 - link

    I also hear that your disconnection with reality is obvious.
  • Silver5urfer - Monday, January 10, 2022 - link

    On one side I'm glad to see x86 instead of arm trash. But on the other side these cars and all the new techno bs is too much, we lose control on our own goods which we paid for.

    An iPhone doesn't let what user needs to put on their filesystem, Google's Android also crippled like that now after 10. With Windows 11 they axed the old Win32shell for the new UWP hybrid garbage, they are removing features which enables a PC, Personal. These cars and all have ECUs already and every single company out there from Toyota to Mercedes have the Connected Car technology which allows them to even remote start. They constantly collect data. With Tesla models they are even worse, they directly have LTE and 5G systems on top of the GPS satellite lock, unlimited data harvesting. Like dystopian sadly people are fine with this BS. I wonder where it will lead us to.
  • ajp_anton - Monday, January 10, 2022 - link

    Excuse me what? How is ARM more trash than x86?
  • Xajel - Tuesday, January 11, 2022 - link

    I think he means that most commercial ARM offering perform less than x86 (the chosen Ryzen to be specific). And I said commercial to omit Apple M1 SoC because they can't buy these.

    But either way, I wouldn't consider ARM to be trash, Tesla are aiming for a specific target performance/TDP/Price, which the ARM offering lacked for them, so they found it with AMD which happened to be x86.
  • Sunrise089 - Monday, January 10, 2022 - link

    I know chipmakers like to advertise these auto industry installs, but is this market weirdly high margin or something? Because volume is minuscule - Nintendo will sell as many Switches this year as the entire US automotive industry will sell vehicles, and given the (lack of) complexity and responsiveness of most in-car infotainment I had assumed they were using tech at best equivalent to old ultra-lower power designs. But maybe they have industry-specific re-badges of older parts which are dramatically marked up based on some dubious “car validation” or something which makes the market more valuable than the volume suggests? Or is this just a marketing exercise?
  • Foeketijn - Tuesday, January 11, 2022 - link

    Try a Tesla. Their infotainment system is like a normal tablet. Way way more responsive then pre-Tesladomination times. Now you see all major brands trying to improve their systems as well, because Tesla proved those systems don't have to be laggy and jerky at all. I also think that is a big reason for the car industries problems getting enough chips. They not only need more, they also need better.
  • edzieba - Tuesday, January 11, 2022 - link

    Well, I guess the infotainment is /kinda/ automotive, but when you head 'automotive devices' you are usually thinking of the hardened and proved-reliable devices used in vehicle control and safety-critical systems (e.g. engine management, and more recently self-driving systems). If your infotainment system crashes, you lose your radio not your ABS.

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