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AMD targets tablets with 2W Mullins parts

AMD targets tablets with 2W Mullins parts

AMD's Mullins and Beema chips, due to launch in 2014, include dual- or quad-core Puma processors and GCN graphics hardware alongside an ARM 'Security Processor.'

AMD has pledged to join Intel in pushing the x86 instruction set architecture into the mobile realm, taking on industry incumbent ARM with some low-power chips of its own codenamed Mullins.

Designed to take over from Temash, which has not seen massive adoption from hardware makers, Mullins has as its headline a claimed doubling of per-watt performance over its predecessor. An accelerated processing unit (APU) design, Mullins chips are dual- or quad-core 'Puma' 64-bit x86 parts with Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture graphics processing hardware embedded within.

Interestingly, the company has also revealed that the Mullins parts will include an AMD Security Processor with TrustZone support. While branded AMD, this is actually an ARM Cortex-A5 co-processor featuring a trusted execution environment designed to validate the security of so-called Trusted Applications (TAs) independently of the main x86 processing cores. The low-power ARM core, however, will not be available for general-purpose processing use - as to do so would be to defeat the entire point of having an independent security co-processor.

Power draw is where AMD hopes Mullins will tempt OEMs: the test system used for comparison to Temash, over which it showed a claimed 139 per cent improvement in performance per watt, used a 4.5W quad-core part with AMD promising a near-2W dual-core part to follow - although, taking a leaf from rival Intel, AMD is referring here to 'Scenario-Driven Power' rather than the peak Thermal Design Profile (TDP.)

AMD has also unveiled a higher-power mainstream APU family dubbed Beema, which claims to double the performance per watt over Kabini - allowing a drop from a 25W to a 15W SDP with improved performance, or a matched 25W SDP with dramatically better compute power. Designed for mainstream two-in-one and compact notebook systems, Beema parts will also feature dual- and quad-core Puma processors and GCN graphics hardware, but require active cooling and are not suitable for tablet use.

'AMD is establishing excellent momentum this year in the low-power, mobile computing market and with Mullins and Beema coming in 2014 we are not standing still,' claimed Mark Papermaster, AMD's chief technology officer and senior vice president, following the chips' unveling at the APU13 conference. 'AMD aims to deliver a set of platforms in the first half of next year that will outperform the competition in graphics and total compute performance in fanless tablets, 2-in-1s and ultrathin notebooks.'

AMD is expected to demonstrate the parts at the Consumer Electronics Show next year, and pledges to release them into the market by Computex in June 2014.

12 Comments

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PCBuilderSven 14th November 2013, 11:22 Quote
AMD joining the SDP bandwagon as well? What was wrong with TDP? To be honest a very low SDP isn't as impressive as a quite low TDP would be. The use of SDP suggests their hiding something.
GuilleAcoustic 14th November 2013, 11:56 Quote
It's so confusing. I remember when they where using "PR rating", where and Athlon64 3500+ was in fact running at 2200MHz (instead of the supposed clock rating).

I think the SDP makes sense when you buy a ready to use solution, but when you have to choose the case, cooler and PSU yourself, this can be really misleading.
Gareth Halfacree 14th November 2013, 12:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuilleAcoustic
I think the SDP makes sense when you buy a ready to use solution, but when you have to choose the case, cooler and PSU yourself, this can be really misleading.
In this instance, they're talking about system-on-chip (SoC) products - so they'll be appearing exclusively in OEM/ODM products.
GuilleAcoustic 14th November 2013, 12:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
In this instance, they're talking about system-on-chip (SoC) products - so they'll be appearing exclusively in OEM/ODM products.

Am I the only "silly" person to design computers using SOC (on QSeven module) ?.... Well probably :D
Mageoftheyear 14th November 2013, 12:06 Quote
Whoever comes up with the project names for AMD, please, for the love of god - STOP.
Gareth Halfacree 14th November 2013, 12:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuilleAcoustic
Am I the only one to design computer using SOC (on QSeven module) ?.... Well probably :D
But you're still not buying the SoC - you're buying the CoM (Computer on Module) that has an SoC attached. (That said, you *can* buy individual SoCs and design your own product if you really want: Olimex will happily sell you a single SoC from the range it uses to build the OLinuXino products, allowing you to take their open hardware designs and customise your own product. That's the exception rather than the rule, though, and as far as I'm aware not an option in the x86 world where SoC orders are in trays of 1,000 minimum.)
GuilleAcoustic 14th November 2013, 12:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
But you're still not buying the SoC - you're buying the CoM (Computer on Module) that has an SoC attached. (That said, you *can* buy individual SoCs and design your own product if you really want: Olimex will happily sell you a single SoC from the range it uses to build the OLinuXino products, allowing you to take their open hardware designs and customise your own product. That's the exception rather than the rule, though, and as far as I'm aware not an option in the x86 world where SoC orders are in trays of 1,000 minimum.)

You can buy a COM using SOC, in the form of Qseven / COM-Express / XTX and plug them to a carrier board. Congatec, SECO and other make x86 and ARM version ... you still need the power supply, heatsink and case ... but I know, they are not intended for consumer computer at the first time, this is development / prototyping board. I just found it was too cool to not use it :D.
rollo 14th November 2013, 12:41 Quote
Even if 2 watt is accurate, Who will buy it, Nvidia has made a decent chip with its tegra 4 stuff but its not been picked up by anybody.

Apple and Samsung ( the only 2 players with the cash to use something like this or the nvidia socs ) Both design and use there own chips.

Personally think its way to late to be getting into the mobile / tablet sector when the major players are already established and your left fighting for scraps at the low end.

Look at Intels struggles a company with alot more budget to be throwing around, They have yet to convince anybody to take there chips in the quantities thats required. Theres even rumours that they will start selling there spare capacity to the likes of Apple.
Harlequin 14th November 2013, 12:45 Quote
oh look its a rollo post flaming AMD...


Intel are not a player in this market - they are a wannabe , and getting in late? doubt it - AMD started making the move out of X86 a few years ago , notice AM is offering ARM - next will be 64bit ARM...

you`ll start to see AMD offering ARM to desktop soon enough
dyzophoria 14th November 2013, 14:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlequin
oh look its a rollo post flaming AMD...


Intel are not a player in this market - they are a wannabe , and getting in late? doubt it - AMD started making the move out of X86 a few years ago , notice AM is offering ARM - next will be 64bit ARM...

you`ll start to see AMD offering ARM to desktop soon enough

I think the ARM license was for the security coprocessor, could be wrong though,lol
Gareth Halfacree 14th November 2013, 14:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
Even if 2 watt is accurate, Who will buy it, Nvidia has made a decent chip with its tegra 4 stuff but its not been picked up by anybody.
I rather think it has. The Tegra 4 can be found in: Microsoft Surface 2, HP SlateBook x2, ZTE N988S, Mad Catz Project Mojo, Asus Transformer Pad Infinity (2013 model), Toshiba AT10-A, Vizio 10" tablet, Wexler.Terra 7, Wexler.Terra 10, Acer TA272HUL AIO, HP Slate 21 AIO, Xiaomi Phone 3, Nuvola NP-1, XOLO Play Tegra Note and Nvidia's own Nvidia Shield and Nvidia Tegra Note 7. (Thanks, Wikipedia.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
Apple and Samsung ( the only 2 players with the cash to use something like this or the nvidia socs ) Both design and use there own chips.
Ignoring your mistake at the start, as evidenced by the above list of design wins, Samsung actually uses more third-party chips than its own. The majority of its low-end designs are based on third-party processors, and even at the high end it splits them 50:50 with Exynos. Take the flagship Galaxy S4, for example. Sure, you can buy it with an Exynos processor - as long as you don't live here in the UK, North America, Europe or a bunch of other countries that aren't Korea where it's only available with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 chip in it. The Note 3? Same story: the Exynos version is only available as a 3G model; if you want LTE, you're getting a handset with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800. This isn't a new move, either. The Galaxy S3? Samsung Exynos or Qualcomm Snapdragon, depending on country of purchase. Galaxy S2? Samsung Exynos, Qualcomm Snapdragon, Texas Instruments OMAP4 or Broadcom BC28155 depending on the particular model you picked up. Hell, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 had an Nvidia Tegra 2 in it!

All of these facts are readily available, if you would care to do a little research before posting. I highly recommend it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
Theres even rumours that they will start selling there spare capacity to the likes of Apple.
Intel has a foundry business, and makes chips - including ARM chips - for several fabless companies. Those aren't rumours: they're facts which Intel makes no attempt to hide. It even bragged about it a couple of earnings calls ago, in fact.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dyzophoria
I think the ARM license was for the security coprocessor, could be wrong though,lol
In this case, yes - but AMD has several ARM-based chips waiting in the wings. There's the server-centric Opteron, announced 2012 ahead of a 2014 launch, and the Hierofalcon which is designed for embedded network appliances, again due to launch in 2014. Desktop ARM parts have been rumoured, but not yet confirmed.
azazel1024 14th November 2013, 20:58 Quote
I would be very interested to see the actual chip power consumption and performance. It seems like some of the numbers AMD is comparing is SDP to older chips TDP (For example, Kabini is a 25w TDP chip, not SDP, but the article mentions matching its 25W...but with SDP at much higher performance).

AMD is going to need all the gains they can get and then some if they want to really break in to the market. Intel doesn't have much mobile market share, but their share is still probably 50x larger in mobile than AMD (tablet and phone I mean. If you factor in laptops its probably only 10 or 20 to 1).

Bay Trail isn't the bees knees, but it is already performing roughly at the same level as Kabini in multithreaded stuff and about 65-80% as well in single threaded stuff...that is with around abouts 1/4th the power consumption. I haven't see any comparisons to Temash, but just based on relative clock rates (since the arch is the same), at a guess Baytrail has at least twice the performance of Temash and 50% less or so of the power consumption.

So AMDs latest foray would be, for a tablet chip, still not as fast and probably not as low power. Maybe better graphics. Cherry Trail coming out by next summer though moves Bay Trail to 14nm and the GPU is going to get a 50% increase in EUs as well as going to Gen 9 Intel graphics from Gen 7 in Bay Trail...so Intel might be doubling or more graphics performance with Cherry Trail, possibly driving down power consumption further and maybe increasing CPU performance too.
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