Using the 80 Radeon Cores of AMD APU on new PC Engine Boards to Crypto-Accelerat

  • The AMD’s G T40 APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) has 2 x86 cores and 80 Radeon (GPU) cores, optimized for GPGPU.

    FreeBSD support GPGPU via OpenCL.

    So, it will be possible to have a package or a feature in PFSense in order to use the APU’s 80 radeon cores for crypto acceleration or any other processes that benefits from parallel computing.

    I’m not a programmer but this make sense to me and will make the new PC Engine APU board a tremendous machine with a lot of bandwidth capabilities.

    This post is not a request, just an idea.

  • Seems like a lot of work.  Future variants of the APU should support AES-NI, which is where we're currently spending our time and effort.

    We are, however, trying to create a solution to make the LEDs and sw reset button 'work' (ala the Alix and (now) FW-7541 platforms.)

  • Do you have any info on any board that will use such apu?

  • This one:

    Netgate already have the product in their warehouse.

  • I think MaxPF meant "future variants of the APU" with AES-NI support.

    To be clear, the latest generation PC Engines APU1C which uses AMD T40E does not support AES-NI.
    I would not expect any AES-NI-enabled successor until next year.

  • Netgate Administrator

    I think the real question would be: is it possible to write some encryption/decryption code that runs on the GPU cores of the T40E?

    I believe in the PC engines APU board the GPU cores are in fact disabled to save power so, no in that particular case. Please correct me if I'm wrong on that.


  • Yes, I was referring to the apu with AES-NI support. Since I'm thinking about getting the board from PC engines I was wondering if a new model was coming out soon, but if we are talking about 1 year or more then, no point in waiting.

    I also think I read somewhere that the GPU on the PC engines board is disabled for power consumption and thermal reasons, but I may be wrong.

  • I just received 2 boards, the openssl speed (in software) for aes-128-cbc is about 300 mbit/s which is about 10x more than the alix.

    But yes, they do not achieve gigabit ssl encryption…

  • @MaxPF:

    if we are talking about 1 year or more then, no point in waiting.

    Just to clarify, that's only my very own guess. However, I don't really see it happen this year. Jaguar is more than just a drop-in replacment, i.e. requires some redesign. And the current generation - which had been in the works some time and was at some point anticipated for a 2013 release - has only just begun shipping.

    I've been waiting for this board for months and was also considering the Fujitsu D3313-S (Jaguar-based fanless mITX with AES-NI and two NICs plus mPCIe slot).

    I'm glad I held for the PC Engines APU. Great form factor for a 3-NIC system, without superfluous bells and whistles, thus rather inexpensive for what it is. So far I'm pretty happy. I will probably again hold out for an AES-NI capable successor, to use for gateway/VPN and then relegate my current APU to something else (maybe as my home server or pass it down in the familiy).

    I doubt that AES acceleration with OpenCL / on GPU will get much traction/support. AES-NI, comes (almost) "for free" on many processors, works across a greater range of hardware, and seems easier to implement.

  • As I said, the pfSense strategy is AES-NI.

    Stay tuned.

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