The Sage Gizmo offers full x86 compatibility and an OpenCL-addressable GPU in a teeny-tiny 103.2cm² package.
The single-board computer (SBC) market, popularised by the sub-£30 Raspberry Pi, has become a little bigger this week with the news that the Gizmo, a compact development board powered by an AMD G-Series accelerated processing unit (APU) is available to order.
The Gizmo, brainchild of development specialist Sage, is a remarkably compact device measuring just 10.16cm on a side for an overall area of 103.2cm². While that's significantly larger than the 47.9cm² of the Raspberry Pi, the Gizmo offers something a little more powerful: a dual-core AMD G-T40E accelerated processing unit running at 1GHz with integrated Radeon 6250-class graphics running at 280MHz. Coupled with 1GB of DDR3 memory, the device is claimed to offer an impressive 52.8 gigaflops of compute performance in a 6.4W thermal design profile (TDP) - and using the immediately familiar x86 instruction set architecture.
The board is also feature-rich as well as powerful: as standard, it includes two USB ports, a single SATA port, line-in, line-out and microphone audio ports, 10/100 Ethernet port, and a VGA output supporting displays up to 1,920x1,080. Two expansion connectors are also provided: a high-speed 64-bit connector offering two PCI Express links, Low-Voltage Differential Signalling (LVDS) display output, an additional SATA port and another USB 2.0 port; a low-speed 36-pin connector offers access to general-purpose input-output (GPIO) capabilities, a fourth USB 2.0 signal, Serial Peripheral Interconnect (SPI), Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM,) analogue-to-digital (AD) and digital-to-analogue (DA) conversion and other features of interest to hardware developers.
In short, the Gizmo is a beast of a compact computer - and the presence of a Radeon-class graphics processor, addressible through the open-source OpenCL application programming interface (API) for GPGPU processing offers significant potential in a tiny package. For those who require yet more power, the board also supports the 1.8GHz T56N - although GizmoSphere has yet to launch a version with this APU in place.
Sadly, all this power comes at a significant cost: where the cut-price Raspberry Pi has its retail price set at a pocket-friendly $35, the Gizmo board is only available as part of the 'Gizmo Explorer Kit' at a price of $199. For that, however, buyers receive not just the board but a JTAG development tool with a 20-hour trial licence for its software, a customised version of the open-source coreboot BIOS dubbed SageBIOS, an installation DVD with a 30-day trial of the Sage EDK integrated development environment (IDE,) a power supply and both Ethernet and USB cables along with the Explorer Board, a break-out board that provides access to GPIO and processor IO while also providing an LCD micro-display, a motor controller and a prototyping area.
Full details of the device and its capabilities are available on the GizmoSphere