The AmigaOne x5000 comes with a “Xena” 500MHz XMOS XS1-L2 from Xmos, sounds fancy but does it do anything? The XCore architecture is a 32-bit RISC microprocessor architecture designed by XMOS. The architecture is designed to be used in multi-core processors for embedded systems. They are basically very fast multicore controllers, with up to eight hardware threads per 400/500 MIPS core, operating in round-robin fashion. Each thread can run at 50 or 100 MIPS, and can be thought of as a separate processor! The chips can replace FPGAs and DSPs in a lot of applications, with development being much quicker and cheaper. They are mainly programmed in XC (a superset of C intended for parallel processing), C, C++ and assembler. The languages can be mixed in the same application. Other programming languages are becoming available. The XS1-L2 for AmigaOne X5000 are actually two XS1 cores in a single package. Killer applications include those massive LED displays used at sporting arenas, they typically use hundreds of XMOS chips, one per display tile. They are also ideal for high-end robotic applications. The four-core device offers up to 32 threads, delivering a total of 1600 MIPS. The “Xena” 500MHz XMOS XS1-L2 is a very powerful add-on in AmigaOne x5000 systems and is often overlooked but the Xena chip has many unique attributes when programmers make use of it.

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