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AMD’s Mobility line to bridge tablet and laptop gap

AMD has announced a new initiative to bridge the gap between the traditional high powered, productivity focused “old Windows ecosystem,” and the high end displays and thin, light and easy to use Android/iOS ecoysystem, powered by a new line of AMD APUs set to be released over the next 12 months.

Traditionally AMD’s main customers have been desktop and notebook users, but over the past ten years that’s changed. In today’s marketplace, AMD has its hardware in consoles as well as in more traditional consumer electronics and can now provide solutions for Android and iOS tablet users right alongside desktop and laptop customers. If anything, those mobile platforms are more lucrative, which is why it’s looking to market itself as a leading mobile chip maker.

In 2014, we’ll see AMD release several chips, the first of which is the already-announced,Kaveri APU. It’ll feature 2-4 steamroller CPU cores, a graphics core next (GCN) GPU, AMD’s recently announced true-audio features and a TDP of between 15w and 35w.


Up next is the Kabini replacement APU, Beema, featuring 2-4 Puma CPU cores, an AMD security processor and a GCN core, needing just 10-25w of power and cooling. This will be followed later in the year by the Temash replacement, Mullins, an APU with 2-4 Puma cores, a GCN GPU and its own AMD security processor. It has a scenario design power draw of just 2w, but bear in mind that doesn’t factor in the chip running at 100 per cent.

AMD claims that both chips offer a 100 per cent increase in performance per watt over the previous generation of hardware. However, since both Beema and Mullins feature a lower TDP than their pre-decessors, these  claims won’t translate to a 100 per cent increase in real world performance, even if they do turn out to be impressive.

The security processor is a new feature, which is designed to create a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) that creates a barrier between third party applications and the operating system and its in-built “trusted apps.” It can also be utilised to prevent interference with secure online functionality, like banking logins or installation of anti-malware software.

While large portions of the gaming world are beginning to talk Linux as the future, AMD has reconfirmed its commitment to Microsoft’s Windows with its support for Microsoft InstantGo, which reads like an advanced stanby mode. However AMD also takes the opportunity to segway into a discussion on its hardware’s battery life, suggesting that the next-generation of notebooks could last a full day on one charge.

It’s also working hard on implementing new Windows 8.1 features, including Wireless displays, AMD driver tweaks to improve performance under the flagship operating system and leveraging AMD APUs and GPUs to enhance web based activities in Internet Explorer 11 via WebGL.

The final announcement in the AMD reveal, was its Dockport technology, which lets you plug a laptop in to as many as three other displays, giving you four in total. But more than that, it lets you book up external drives, other input devices like your smartphone or a keyboard and mouse and even DVD and Blu Ray players if you’re feeling retro.


KitGuru Says: Anyone that remembers the good old days of AMD dominance with its AMD 64 chips, has no doubt been watching with sadness at AMD’s continued losses of the performance crown in the desktop market to rival Intel. However, it’s seen much more growth in the mobile sector and now with so much of its sales coming from that area and the general growth of mobile and tablet usage, it seems like it might have been the smarter move. Especially when combined with its dominance in the new consoles from Microsoft and Sony. 

What do you guys think of these new chips? The SDP is a misleading figure, but if general usage is around that level, we certainly can look forward to devices with longer battery lives. 

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