AMD's new mobile-oriented APUs include tablet-targeted system-on-chip parts as well as the company's answer to Intel's Ultrabook success.
AMD has announced its 2013 accelerated processor unit (APU) ranges targeting mobile devices, finally giving real product designations for what has previously been known as Temash, Kabini and Richland - and has indicated that it has no intention of leaving the burgeoning tablet market to Intel and ARM.
Announced at an event last night, the three product families target three distinct areas of mobile computing: Temash, now known as the 2013 AMD Elite Mobility APU range, looks at giving the company a presence in tablets, ultra-portable laptops, and hybrid devices of 13" or smaller screen size; Kabini, or the 2013 AMD Mainstream APU, looks to find a home in entry-level and small form factor touch-screen laptops; and Richland, the 2013 AMD Elite Performance APU, is AMD's answer to Intel's Ultrabook-targeted components.
'The client market has evolved - with greater diversity in the types of mobile form factors and higher performance demands from the software - and AMD is uniquely positioned to deliver the best processors to meet the needs of mobile device users today,
' claimed Lisa Su, AMD senior vice president, of the launch. 'As computing becomes more visual and the graphics processor can be leveraged to do other types of processing, our dedication to the software community and the APU architecture sets us apart from the competition and enables us to deliver the best user experience whether on a tablet, a hybrid device or a notebook.
First, Temash. A true system-on-chip (SoC) design, combining components normally left to a companion chipset onto the same package as the APU itself, the chip is claimed to be the first quad-core x86 SoC based on a 28nm process technology. Designed for low-power devices, including tablets, the chip will be available in dual-core A4 and quad-core A6 versions, both of which are based on the same 'Jaguar' processing cores as used for the semi-custom processors in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One games consoles. The graphics portion of the APU, meanwhile, is based on AMD Radeon HD 8000 Series Graphics Core Next (GCN) hardware, boasting a claimed 212 per cent improvement in graphics performance compared to AMD's last-generation APUs. Overall performance-per-watt, meanwhile, is up 172 per cent compared to the last generation.
Kabini, meanwhile, is designed for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on a budget. Based on the same Jaguar cores and GCN graphics as Temash, Kabini will be available A-series quad-core SoC designs as well as dual-core E1 and E2 models for the embedded market. Graphics performance is claimed to be up by 132 per cent and performance per watt by 127 per cent compared to previous-generation parts.
Finally, the Elite Performance Richland parts. Designed to sit at the very top end of AMD's APU family, the A8 and A10 APUs ditch the system-on-chip design ethos for raw performance. Designed for ultra-thin laptops - competition for Intel's Ultrabook programme, in other words - the Richland chips offer a claimed 12 per cent boost in general-purpose performance and between 20 and 40 per cent improvement in graphics performance compared to current-generation APUs. More impressively, however, is the claim of a 51 per cent boost in energy efficiency during HD video playback and claims of 13 hours battery life - albeit running the CPU at idle for that period.
In terms of actual product announcements, AMD has confirmed 2013 APU parts as per the following table.
|Model||Graphics||CPU Cores||CPU Speed||Cache||GPU Cores||GPU Speed||TDP|
While it's a strong line-up, AMD will have to work hard to catch up to Intel. The company's new chief executive has already indicated his desire to concentrate harder on mobile and embedded products, and Intel's latest Atom chips boast some impressive low-power performance for tablet and smartphone customers. Combined with the company's Ultrabook project, it's clear AMD is gunning to beat Intel - after which it will have the much harder task of convincing mobile OEMs to ditch Cambridge-based ARM's low-power designs for x86 chips.
The company also confirmed the following desktop APUs:
|Model||Graphics||CPU Cores||CPU Speed||Cache||Radeon Cores||GPU Speed||TDP|
Key features of the new generation of both desktop and mobile APUs include power efficiency improvements through increased power gating, new DDR P-states for reduced power consumption, and improved Turbo Core technology which uses up to 16 independent temperature sensors built into the APU to detect when to enable or disable the clock-speed boosting mode as well as new algorithms for detecting and preventing bottlenecks. SoC APUs also come with wireless display support, the ability to use up to 10 USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports without the need for a separate PHY, and support for AMD's Turbo Dock technology.
With AMD concentrating on products aimed at OEMs for now, pricing information has not been provided.