AMD unveils Turbo Dock for convertibles

AMD unveils Turbo Dock for convertibles

AMD's Turbo Dock technology, due to arrive in devices later this year, overclocks the Temash APU in convertibles when connected to a keyboard docking station.

AMD has announced a trick that it hopes will help it gain ground against rival Intel in the burgeoning convertible laptop-cum-tablet market: a trick called AMD Turbo Dock which promises to boost performance by up to 40 per cent.

As the name suggests, AMD Turbo Dock is designed for dockable tablet devices running low-power variants of AMD accelerated processing unit (APU) chips - specifically the company's next-generation Temash parts, sold on their Intel-beating 3D graphics performance. When the device is running in tablet mode, it will operate just like any other tablet - but when the device is connected to its keyboard dock and transformed into a laptop, things change dramatically.

'With our latest APUs, AMD aims to deliver a more complete, full-featured experience on tablet and hybrid PCs than has been available to date,' explained Steve Belt, vice president of AMD Ultra-low Power Products, of the new system. 'AMD Turbo Dock technology delivers on that promise by dynamically adjusting to what the user is doing to provide the optimal experience and battery life whether they are watching a video, playing a DirectX 11-supported game or building a PowerPoint presentation for work.'

At its heart, then, Turbo Dock is little more than a tablet-oriented version of the company's Turbo Core technology - itself an answer to the Turbo Boost technology included in Intel processors. When system demand goes up, the processor is automatically overclocked; when demand goes down, the chip is underclocked to save power.

Where AMD's version differs is that it operates in an extended region only when docked: using a secondary power source found in the keyboard dock, either an additional battery or a mains connection, the system allows the APU to clock up to a level that the small tablet battery alone couldn't support - providing something a lot closer to the performance of a real laptop. Remove the tablet from the dock, and the processor goes back to its more conservative settings to maximise battery life.

It's an interesting concept, but not exactly new: the Asus Transformer used a second battery in its keyboard docking station to extend the device's runtime, rather than boost performance, while Lenovos's Intel-based ThinkPad Helix already boosts performance when docked with the aid of a novel cooling system located in the hinge of the keyboard docking station. Whether AMD's Turbo Dock will be the feature it needs to catch up to Intel, then, will largely depend on the efficiency of its implementation.

Thus far, AMD hasn't offered a hint as to release dates or pricing for any Temash-based convertibles with Turbo Dock capabilities, beyond the vague promise of an appearance 'later this year' on devices to be teased at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) event next month. The company has, however, released a teaser video, reproduced below.


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greigaitken 21st February 2013, 14:07 Quote
AMD: the hapless recruit, covered in mud, finally made it over the assault course wall only to find the others have finished the whole course
azazel1024 21st February 2013, 14:40 Quote
My only concern here is that AMD appears to be targetting roughly the time frame that Silvermont Atom chips look like they'll be debuting. Those chips are promising quad core and double the performance (I don't know if that is double the IPC, or simply double the overall multithreaded performance, either way, that is a big step forward). Combine that with Ivy Bridge graphics, even if it is, I think 4 EUs and probably clock speed capped lower than the 900+Mhz of all the other various Ivy graphics iterations...but still MUCH faster than the current Atom graphics...

Well, that is a problem for AMD. They might not have "Intel beating graphics" once the next generation of Atom introduces...and they also aren't likely to have CPU beating performance.

Even with the dockable speed increases.

Also very unlikely to have "battery life beating performance" since Intel will be on 22nm FINFET for Atom then as well.

Sigh...only if AMD could actually speed their introduction they might have something really worth while well before Intel does.
PCBuilderSven 21st February 2013, 14:54 Quote
an answer to the Turbo Boost technology including in Intle processors

Never knew there was a company called Intle making processors, I'm surprised Intel haven't sued them for trademark infringement :D

Also, it should be included and not including
Gareth Halfacree 21st February 2013, 14:55 Quote
Originally Posted by PCBuilderSven
Never knew there was a company called Intle making processors, I'm surprised Intel haven't sued them for trademark infringement :D
You never had an Intle Pentenium? You missed out. Slightly shoddy performance compared to MAD's Atlohn, but lovely otherwise...
LordPyrinc 22nd February 2013, 04:26 Quote
Inspector Gadget was always trying to foil MAD's Atlohn based plots. Usually Penny and Brain ended up doing all the real work though. :D
mi1ez 25th February 2013, 10:29 Quote
I read the headline and was hoping for discrete graphics in the keyboard. Surely the tech is there, why has it not been done?
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