AMD Ryzen R1000 SoC to power the still-unreleased Atari VCS

Image Credit: TechRadar

AMD has updated its lineup of embedded systems-on-chip (SoC) with two new variants. Alongside that announcement comes news that Atari is going to use one of the new SoCs to power the upcoming Atari VCS gaming and entertainment console, Guru3D reports.

The new AMD Ryzen Embedded R-Series will come in two variants, the Ryzen R1606G and R1505G. Both are nearly identical, packing dual-core CPUs with four treads and three Vega GPU compute units. The R1606G has slightly higher base and boost clock speeds than the R1505G, but otherwise the core specs are the same.

Some of the other key aspects of the SoCs that were touted in a launch video from AMD include "dual 10-gigabit Ethernet," the ability to "drive billions of pixels" and run "3 simultaneous 4K displays." The SoCs are also low power, going as low as 12 watts, so manufacturers can build them into passively cooled systems. 

What they'll do for Atari

AMD offered up some comparisons to give a sense of how powerful the new R-Series SoCs will be, with up to three times more performance-per-watt than the AMD R-Series SOC RX-216GD in Cinebench R15 (CPU), and four times the performance-per-dollar compared to i3-7100U in Cinebench R15 and 3DMark 11 (CPU AND GPU). 

Sadly, that information doesn't give much of a basis for comparison in gaming performance for the Atari VCS. Without knowing the price of the R-Series chips, there's little to get out of a price-per-dollar comparison. But, we can draw some comparisons to the hardware we see in other popular gaming consoles.

Comparing the 2C/4T CPUs and 3 GPU compute units in the R-Series to the Xbox One X or PS4 Pro, and there's a large difference in core count and GPU compute units. And, by the time the Atari VCS comes out in December 2019 (if it's not delayed yet again), it could be looking at imminent competition from an even more powerful PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two.

Variety reported that Michael Arzt, COO of Atari Connected Devices, said the Atari VCS would be able to support "4K 60fps content" and will also allow users to install other operating systems. Language is important here, as "4K 60fps content" could very well be streamed video. The R-Series chips are not likely to push 4K 60fps in anything but the most basic games, which it may do for the retro games launching with the console.

One place the new chips could shine though is in game streaming. Because they support dual 10-Gigabit connection, they'll be able to easily support the bandwidth required for a quality game streaming experience. While that may make the Atari VCS a capable platform for Goolge's Stadia gaming streaming service, the $239 (about £180, AU$340) asking price for the console may be hard to justify for many gamers.