AMD's Kaveri APU is getting clearer by the day (with yet more details due at CES 2014), but the chipmaker wouldn't let its APU13 Developer Summit pass without outing more of its 2014 mobile APU roadmap.
AMD has announced two more APUs destined for fanless tablets, 2-in-1s and notebooks: Mullins and Beema.
The figure AMD is hanging its hat on with Beema and Mullins (codenames, of course) to start is that each has twice the performance per watt than their predecessors.
Mullins, designed specifically for fanless tablets, 2-in-1s and notebooks, trounces Temash, while Beema, which will make its way to mainstream and entry-level 2-in-1s and notebooks bests Kabini. AMD CTO Mark Papermaster said the new APUs are designed to deliver better performance at lower power.
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Mullins is clearly the favored child: Papermaster said "we're very excited about Mullins" during his APU13 keynote with no such attention showered on Beema.
Both APUs will be available before Computex 2014 and AMD will have them on hand for CES demos.
Mullins and Beema features
Specifics are still scare for the new accelerated processing units, but AMD was willing to share some secrets.
Unlike Kaveri, which features up to four Steamroller CPU cores, Beema and Mullins will be available in dual- and quad-core Puma variants. Graphics Core Next Radeon graphics cores are also a strumming through the new APUs, and everything is housed on a 28nm SoC.
Beema's wattage is from 10 watts to 25 watts, and Mullins can reach down to a 2W SDP.
The APUs will also support Microsoft's InstantGo for faster wake times, up-to-date apps and data, and extended battery life, said Gabe Gravning, director of marketing, AMD Client Business Unit, during a pre-brief.
Beema and Mullins also support AMD's DockPort solution. Through a single cable, DockPort supports up to four monitors and other device peripherals over USB 3.0. What's more, users can power their DockPort device over the same solo cable.
One important note: Neither Beema nor Mullins include HSA features. AMD informed us that for 2014, HSA features are on the top of the performance stack with Kaveri.
New Security Processor
Beema and Mullins also come stocked with AMD's ARM Cortex-A5-based Security Processor, featuring ARM's TrustZone. The zone, Gravning explained, provides a trusted execution environment for security solutions by protecting against software attack.
Security solutions can include everything from secure boot and user authentication to anti-malware and online payments.
Within the Security Processor, apps can operate in both the normal world by accessing TrustZone through an API, or they can be written as trusted apps in the "secure world," Gravning said. The apps are able to communicate with one another across the two worlds.
"There are certain apps you want to in a completely trusted environment," Gravning explained. "The notion is that the whole app itself is a trusted app. The core mobile payment app will be a completely trusted application, for example. It will be a mobile payment app on my tablet, and that will be a secure app that will store my credit card information.
"Other apps will then access it. I have an Amazon app, so it could ask if there is a mobile app on this device, and when you want to purchase something, the information would communicate between the two worlds."
A new APU Android future?
AMD's new APU roadmap members are optimized for Windows 8.1, but there seems to be plenty of room for Android in the passenger seat.
Gravning would only say that the company hasn't announced native Android support for the new APUs at this time, "but we are working with partners to put Android over Windows."
BlueStacks, which enables Android apps to run on Windows, is AMD's solution for this, Gravning said, and consumers can expect to see a demo with the new APUs at CES.
"Have you seen the demo?" Gravning said during our briefing to an AMD colleague. "It's good. It's fast."