AMD unveils Beema, Mullins mobile APUs
April 29, 2014 // 9:05 a.m.
AMD has formally announced its latest mobile-centric application processing units (APUs), dubbed Mullins and Beema, offering an integrated security-boosting ARM core and 50 per cent clock boosts at half the thermal design profile (TDP) of their predecessors.
Designed for low-end laptops, the Mullins and Beema chips are based around the company's Puma+ 64-bit x86 processing cores and Graphics Core Next (GCN) graphics processing cores. The biggest change over its previous generation APUs, however, is the integration of a Cortex-A5 processing core from Cambridge-based low-power chip giant ARM; this chip isn't used for general-purpose processing, but instead provides ARM TrustZone support - a distinct execution environment which can ensure the integrity of data running on the main processing cores.
Beema represents what AMD is calling the mainstream product line, while Mullins is a low-TDP variant designed for passively-cooled systems - including, potentially, hybrid and dedicated Windows-based tablets. The Beema parts will launch in E1, E2, A4 and A6 variants, while Mullins will be differentiated with the suffix Micro - as in E1 Micro, A4 Micro, and A10 Micro, with more models likely to appear post-launch.
Compared to the last-generation Temash, Mullins offers some impressive figures: the top-end AMD A10 Micro-6700T APU with Radeon R4 graphics boasts a 4.5W TDP and 2.8W scenario-driven power (SDP) compared to 8W and 5.4W respectively for the quad-core Temash. According to AMD's own testing, that translates to more than double the graphics performance per watt as measured by 3DMark11 and almost the same boost in productivity score per watt as measured by PCMark 8.
AMD hopes to position its Micro family against both Intel's Bay Trail T Atom Z3770 and the Haswell Y Core i3-4010, and has the figures to back it up: the graphics performance of the A10 Micro-6700T beats that of the Core i3, while the overall PCMark 8 performance is 15 per cent higher on the similarly-priced A4 Micro-6400T.
It's not just about Mullins, however: Beema also offers improvements over the last-generation Kabini. Clever active energy-saving functionality offers up to 20 per cent power savings during common tasks like web browsing, high-definition video playback and while running the MobileMark 2012 suite.
The low-power Mullins line will comprise: the A10 Micro-6700T, offering four 2.2GHz Puma+ cores with 2MB of L2 cache and 128 Radeon cores running at 500MHz in a 4.5W TDP; the A4 Micro-6400T, offering four 1.6GHz Puma+ cores with 2MB of L2 cache and 128MB Radeon cores running at 350MHz in a 4.5W TDP; and the E1 Micro-6200T, offering two 1.4GHz Puma+ cores with 1MB of L2 cache and 128 Radeon cores running at 300MHz in a 3.95W TDP.
The mainstream Beema chips will comprise: the A6-310, offering four 2.4GHz Puma+ cores with 2MB of L2 cache and 128 Radeon cores running at 800MHz in a 15W TDP; the A4-6210, offering four 1.8GHz Puma+ cores with 2MB of L2 cache and 128 Radeon cores running at 600MHz in a 15W TDP; the E2-6110, offering four 1.5GHz Puma+ cores with 2MB of L2 cache and 128 Radeon cores running at 500MHz in a 15W TDP; and the E1-6010, offering two 1.35GHz Puma+ cores with 1MB of L2 cache and 128 Radeon cores running at 350MHz in a 10W TDP.
Pricing for the parts was not available at the time of writing, but several manufacturers have confirmed they are planning products based around both Beema and Mullins for immediate launch.