The only problem [Nvidia has] is that at some point your eyes don't get any better - Bob Colwell, former chief architect, Intel
AMD LAUNCHED its third generation Mullins and Beema accelerated processor units (APUs) on Tuesday, promising "better performance at lower power".
As the successors to the Kabini and Temash APUs, which AMD released last year and were the first to deliver quad-core x86 performance, the firm's third generation Mullins and Beema APUs have four x86 cores codenamed Puma, following on from last year's Jaguar CPU cores to reduce power draw and improve performance while retaining the same chip architecture.
Mullins chips will come in three varieties: the quad-core A series A10 Micro-6700T, which has a CPU clock speed of 2.2GHz, the quad-core A4 Micro-6400T, which has a CPU clock speed of 1.6GHz, as well as the dual-core E series E1 Micro-6200T, which has a clock speed of 1.4GHz. All Mullins APUs have a thermal design power (TDP) rating of 4.5W reflecting low power consumption.
Beema chips are more "mainstream" APUs and will arrive in two A series: the A6-6310 and A4-6210 with CPU clock speeds of 2.4GHz and 1.8GHz, respectively, and two E-series, the E2-6110 and E1-6010, which have CPU clock speeds of 1.5GHz and 1.35GHz, respectively. Each of the Beema chips is a quad-core processor with a TDP rating of 15W, except the E1-6010 which runs at 10W and is a dual-core processor.
All of the Beema and Mullins APUs feature AMD's Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture that AMD launched in 2012 and powers everything that AMD does from its high-end graphics to consoles such as the Xbox 360.
"What we've focused on with Mullins and Beema is taking that Kabini and Temash architecture and doubling down on the performance per watt so the goal is give our partners and our end users a superior experience at a lower power with a more mobile form factor in every segment," AMD senior director of mobility solutions Kevin Lensing said in a press briefing.
"We've increased the top memory speed here to delivery better bandwidth and overall graphics performance at the top of our stack."
Lensing said that the features in Beema and Mullins have allowed AMD to deliver 50 percent more frequency at the top of its stack for Mullins relative to Temash at nearly half the TDP.
"This is critical for the experience in these passively cooled designs; to hit very high frequencies so the system feels responsive but only spend a short duration at those frequencies so that we immediately shut off the system and conserve power," he explained.
Check out AMD's benchmarks below where the firm pits its Mullins A4 Micro-6400T against an Intel Bay Trail Atom Z3770 in terms of power using PCMark, 3DMark and Basemark CL.
The APUs are also aimed at streaming video, which AMD said is a "really important usage". The APUs therefore feature the firm's Quickstream technology, which manages a user's internet bandwidth and prioritises the apps that are streaming video online, such as Netflix, and deprioritises other applications that are drawing bandwidth to ensure smooth, high quality streamed playback.
Other features integrated into AMD's new APUs include a technology taken from an ARM A5 Core complex and integrated into the APU to establish a secure environment for hardware security.
There's also a power management feature named System Aware Power Management, which manages the APU to be aware of not just what's happening at the die level in relation to thermals but to manage the boost and the thermal algorithms based on what's happening at the platform level.
"That really gives us an opportunity to deliver a lot more performance while still keeping that great thermal experience in the design," Lensing explained.
During the press briefing, Lensing took the opportunity to have a dig at the firm's rival, Intel, claiming that it had copied AMD's APU category with its Bay Trail Atom chips launched at IDF last year.
"It's interesting to see that after three years our competitor is finally following us and starting to segment their product line up in a similar way, they've taken their product code name Bay Trail," he claimed. "They've positioned it in a similar way as an offering both for tablets and also for entry and mainstream notebooks, so AMD is the clear market leader in this category and we deliver a better experience and Intel is 'too little too late for this category'".
AMD hasn't yet announced when we can expect Mullins and Beema to hit the market in the UK. µ
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