by Anton Shilov
01/22/2014 | 11:10 PM
Although Advanced Micro Devices remains tight-lipped when exactly its next-generation accelerated processing units for low-power devices are set to hit the market, it remains confident that its new chips will be very competitive against Intel Corp.’s Atom system-on-chips that belong to the Bay Trail family.
This year AMD plans to introduce two new mobile accelerated processing unit (APU) products. The code-named Beema (2W SDP) and Mullins (10W – 25W SDP) system-on-chips will address various devices, such as 2-in-1s, ultrathin notebooks as well as tablets. Both new system-on-chip families – Beema and Mullins – offer two or four “Puma” x86 cores, AMD Radeon graphics engine based on GCN architecture and are made using a 28nm system-on-chip process technology.
The latest AMD APUs also support Microsoft InstantGo for faster wake times and to ensure data such as email actively refresh in standby. Both new processor families are also the first to integrate an AMD-developed platform security processor based on the ARM Cortex-A5 featuring ARM TrustZone technology for enhanced data security.
Thanks to improved Puma x86 micro-architecture, new graphics engine powered by the same technology that is found inside the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One as well as various other tweaks, AMD expects its new APUs to be better compared to Intel’s offerings based on Silvermont micro-architecture.
“Mullins and Beema are really targeted at the low power APU space. We just showed some of the latest performance metrics at CES, and what you will see is that on graphics performance, it is substantially better. We’re talking about 250% better than the comparable Bay Trail products. What is different is on the compute performance, where we had traditionally been not as strong, we see significant performance improvements,” said Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of global business units at AMD, during a conference call with investors and financial analysts.
While the upcoming AMD APUs code-named Beema and Mullins will most likely provide higher performance in applications that require graphics processing horsepower, it should be kept in mind that AMD’s APU only support Microsoft Windows 8 operating system (OS) at the moment. Intel’s Atom “Bay Trail” system-on-chips can be integrated into devices running both Google Android and Microsoft Windows OSes, which gives Intel a huge trump against AMD. Perhaps, by the time AMD ships its new chips, it will manage to make them compatible with Google Android, which is about to become the No. 1 platform for media tablets. However, it remains to be seen how well AMD’s Beema and Mullins perform in Android environment.
The new AMD processors for mobile and ultra-mobile applications are planned to be launched in the first half of this year; exact launch timeframes are unknown.