Please Note: This product is not aimed at consumers, enthusiasts or gamers. It is aimed at industrial and commercial and industrial customers that are buying in quantity to incorporate powerful, cost-effective single-board computers into their application. Level1 has a full video overview of this board as well, located here.
Sapphire has launched a liliputian 5x5 Mini-STX embedded system – the FS-FPV5 -- based around the Ryzen Embedded V1000 cpu. Sapphire, best known for 15 years of AMD graphics card production, entered the embedded/ODM production market about 5 years ago.
Sapphire’s work in industrial/commercial ODM circles includes some standardized components, such as this 5x5 board, as well as solutions that have been custom built for specific customer needs.
The FS-FPV5 board is available in several preset configurations:
Ryzen Embedded V1807B 4c/8t 3.35 GHz 3.8 GHz Radeon Vega 11* 1300 MHz 35-54W ~$450 US Min QTY 100
Ryzen Embedded V1756B 4c/8t 3.25 GHz 3.6 GHz Radeon Vega 8 1100 MHz 35-54W ~$400 US Min QTY 100
Ryzen Embedded V1605B 4c/8t 2.06 GHz 3.6 GHz Radeon Vega 8 1100 MHz 12-25W ~$350 US Min QTY 100
Ryzen Embedded V1202B 2c/4t 2 GHz 3.6 GHz Radeon Vega 3 1100 MHz 12-25W ~$325 US Min QTY 100
Note: Sapphire fully support Embedded Ryzen V, R and G series embedded APUs with both standard and custom motherboard solutions.
*This is misdetected in our Linux tests as Vega 8, but is infact Vega 11.
The 5x5 form factor literally means 5.8 inches by 5.5 inches. This form factor offers more flexibility and upgradability than smaller embedded form factors, but at a lower manufacturing cost.
Our test unit was sent to us by Sapphire and configured with a V1807B CPU. We’ve tested with both16gb of Dual Channel DDR4-2666 Crucial memory as well as 16gb of GSkill Ripjaws DDR4-3200 for our testing. Sapphire fully supports up to dual channel DDR4-3200 on this platform. The UEFI will allow you to configure the CPU’s power envelope from 12 watts to 54 watts, and beyond if you count the overclocking capabilities. At stock speeds, the V1807b Ryzen CPU will run at 3.35ghz all-core and 3.8ghz single core turbo, with the Vega 11 clocking up to 1300mhz. That was consistent with our observations on Linux kernel 4.17-12 with the performance CPU frequency governor enabled.
The embedded Vega GPU is extremely impressive in this form factor.
The UEFI appears complete – surprisingly so for an embedded system. We were able to access options for the AMD CBS, Promontory chipset options and memory control just as with counterpart AMD’s Ryzen desktop CPUs. It appears as though the setup Sapphire has provided here fully supports CSM for legacy devices, network booting and even third-party UEFI interface modules for any proprietary needs you might have. Password protection capabilities are also present – just as with Desktop UEFI interfaces.
I was not able to test ECC myself directly, however Sapphire indicates that ECC is qualified and supported by Sapphire on this platform.
If you’d like to check out the manual from Sapphire for the FS-FPV5, here is the link.
As configured here, this system supports outputting to four 4k displays simultaneously thanks to it’s on-chip Vega 11 graphics. Outputs are via 4x standard display port 1.2 interfaces. It is also possible to output to a 5k display by combining the display port outputs. We were able to test DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 adapter cables with this I/O arrangement and that also worked flawlessly.
There are two Realtek-based gigabit ethernet adapters and four USB 2.0 ports on the rear I/O as well. The 5x5 form factor has a standardized I/O shield cutout, similar to ATX/uATX/ITX motherboards (but smaller, of course).
For power input there is a 19V DC jack that works just fine with a laptop power adapter that can supply 65w (or less, if you downconfigure the cpu via UEFI).
At the front of the board there is a single reversable USB 3 type C port – the only USB3 port on the board – headphone, microphone and a USB 2.0 port.
The audio codec is a 4 channel Realtek/Azalia
I had no trouble with the audio channel over the display port interface and that worked great with our Linux test machine.
The 5x5 has a lot in common with an ITX motherboard – it has two industry-standard DDR4 SO-DIMM slots, two M.2 interfaces, a standard SATA header providing full SATA3 from the Ryzen SOC.
The M.2 connectors are wired with all the M.2 features. While they are physically stacked one on top of the other, they are keyed differently: One is keyed for M.2 NVMe and SATA storage devices while the other is keyed for networking and USB devices. It will fully support combination Wireless & Bluetooth adapters that require both PCIe and USB connections available in the m.2 interface.
In addition to familiar connectors would expect on a motherboard, the 5x5 has a whole host of connections beyond the standard connections that would be useful in industrial and commercial settings.
There is a serial header that offers RS232, RS422 and RS485 operational modes that can be configured via Jumper.
While there is a front panel i/o header (offering power, reset and indicator LEDs), this can be eschewed for a simple jumper header that allows the system to operate without a front panel power switch. The system will simply power on whenever it has power.
Combined with he on-board watchdog circuit that can be enabled via UEFI, Sapphire has built a robust solution that will automatically self-reset after crashes or hangs.
There are several general-purpose I/O pins (GPIO) that are brought to standardized headers and can be used to control other peripherals or for a bit-banging interface if the board is to be part of a larger commercial solution.
SMBus and I2C interface headers are also provided.
There BIOS/uefi chip is socketed, which is a nice touch for embedded/debugging purposes.
There is a 3-pin fan header for a case/chassis fan and the speed can be controlled from the UEFI. The UEFI offers options for either fully automatic control or targeting a specific temperature or RPM. The CPU fan header is 4 pin and supports AMD Cool & Quiet.
If you would prefer not to use the 19v DC input jack at the rear I/O there is a 4-pin ATX12V connector for supplying 12v DC from an internal PSU.
Finally, there is an onboard 4-pin +5 and +12v header suitable for powering a 2.5” SATA SSD.
Benchmarks & Performance
For benchmarking, we used Linux Kernel 4.17-12 patched with full support from AMD for the embedded Vega GPU.
Memory: Crucial 16gb DDR4-2666 & GSkill Ripjaws DDR4-3200 (SODIMM)
Storage: ADATA NVMe 256gb XPG SX8000
Networking: Intel 2x2 802.11 AC + BT 4.2
Power Supply: 300w SFX PSU shunted (1 12v rail only).
DDR4-2666, 54W, Default FS-FPV5 Config
DDR4-3200, 54W, Sapphire FS-FPV5
For comparison, we also tested a Ryzen 5 2400G Desktop CPU with 16gb of GSKILL SniperX DDR4, memory configured at 2666 memory configured with the same ADATA NVMe and Linux Kernel version.
For embedded and industrial applications, at this price point, this is likely to be an extremely disruptive product from AMD. With this kind of performance at this power consumption, in this price range, the Ryzen v1000 CPU is offering a tremendous value proposition for someone looking to incorporate an embedded system into their application.
Specifically the Vega onboard GPU gives AMD a significant advantage. Competitors just don’t have a quick or easy answer to Vega in this scenario. The iGPU on competing embedded platforms at the lower end doesn’t compare on price or performance. At the highest end of embedded GPU performance, AMD’s offering in Sapphire’s product is still an obvious substantial lead on performance per dollar.
I suspect that this platform will open the door for emerging markets for industrial or commercial systems, especially application scenarios that might involve light AI, computer vision, or machine learning. The relatively low cost and Vega capabilities for compute would seem to make it hard to pick any alternative.
Power draw at the wall, including Diablotek 300w ATX power supply never exceeded 65 w as measured by a Kill-A-Watt power meter. The included heatsink stayed cool to the touch, even after hours of automated benchmarking at the 54w setting in UEFI.
While the UEFI offers some C State control, there is a Linux Kernel bug around sleep/wake. I would not recommend using any Sleep/Wake states at this time. (Putting the system to sleep will cause the network cards to disconnect. To reconnect requires either a power cycle or resetting the network cards. I suspect this is a bug in the Linux Kernel).
The benchmark numbers here are impressive for such a modest system. With the Vega 11 iGPU, quadruple 4k outputs and extreme memory support – up to 32gb – it’s easy to imagine endless possibilities with this embedded system.
Make no mistake -- the pricing and capabilities of this System on Chip from AMD are poised to be highly disruptive to the industrial sector. This setup is powerful enough for high-resolution video displays, medical imaging and even AI/Machine Learning applications thanks to the Vega 11 GPU.
It’s easy to imagine this setup will make reliable and low cost interactive digital kiosks much easier for system integrators to build.
The benchmarks for OpenSSL and other encryption on this hardware were impressive. And that is even before the Linux Kernel is fully utilizing AMD’s cryptographic co-processor, which appeared to be present and accessible to Linux as a PCI device.
With a slightly different hardware configuration, such as adding more network interfaces, it’s easy to imagine a powerful SoHo hardware firewall with sophisticated AI/machine learning algorithms monitoring packet flows.
Because of the relatively powerful graphic output capabilities, this platform would also make a fast and capable thin/thinnish client platform. It should easily support accelerated remote 3d operations such as RemoteFX. With up to four 4k display outputs it could be a game changer.
The system sports only a single USB 3 port – and a type C port at that. I think I would rather have seen a dual USB 3.1 type C connection instead of one USB 2.0 port and one USB3 type C at the front.
If, for example, more onboard network ports or an external PCIe interface would be part of your ODM requirements, I am sure that Sapphire can whip that up for you easily.
While we did all of our testing on Linux, Windows 10 will also work just fine (including embedded versions of Windows).
While this board is not available to general consumers and one-off hardware hackers, you may have some options to get your embedded system fix.
BleuJour, a French partner of Sapphire, is offering complete systems based on this motherboard. This is the, at present, the only online etailer offering sales of this board.
They’re offering a similar board but focusing on the slightly slower not-quite-top-end V1605V version of the Ryzen V1000 embedded CPU. The I/O connectors are also configured differently, including compatibility with Arduino components.
Need more performance than Ryzen Embedded? Well Epyc embedded is a thing, too.
To learn more about the V1000 embedded CPU family from AMD, the product brief is a good place to start: https://www.amd.com/Documents/