AMD has unveiled the latest generation of its accelerated processing unit (APU) chips for laptops and tablet devices, aimed at delivering greater performance per watt and integrating a dedicated ARM-based security processor for the first time.
The 2014 update of AMD's mobile APU chips comprises two products, codenamed Beema and Mullins, which are aimed at the mainstream and low-power segments, respectively.
These chips, which are effectively the successors to last year's Kabini and Temash, feature two or four CPU cores, based on a new Puma core design. These are coupled with a GPU based on AMD's Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture, boasting the equivalent of 128 Radeon cores.
Kevin Lensing, director of Mobility Solutions at AMD, said: "For Beema and Mullins we've focused on taking the Kabini and Temash architecture and doubling down on the performance per watt. Our goal is to give superior experience at lower power with a more mobile form factor at every segment."
This means offering more than twice the performance per watt as 7413 3000 Temash, according to AMD. The Puma core is based on the Jaguar architecture but has more optimisations for low power. Further optimisations include a new low-power DDR3 mode that cuts consumption by more than 500MW against standard DDR3 memory.
However, it also involves what AMD calls intelligent dynamic power management, which results from closer integration of the on-chip components and can avoid bumping up the clock frequency for applications that will not benefit from this treatment.
The new APUs are also the first to introduce a dedicated security processor, designed to provide isolation for sensitive applications and data for secure banking and e-commerce. This is based on an ARM Cortex-A5 core with its own memory and a cryptographic co-processor.
"We've taken an ARM A5 core complex and integrated it into the APU to establish a secure environment for hardware security. This will be a linchpin for AMD's future security strategy," said Lensing.
The move effectively brings ARM's TrustZone security technology into the x86 world, using the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) from Trustonic, which runs alongside the main operating system to provide services such as encryption and trusted boot-up.
The top Beema chip at launch will be the A6-6310 part, which is a quad-core chip clocked at 2.4GHz with a 15W thermal design power (TDP) envelope. The top Mullins chip is the A10 Micro-6700T, a 2.2GHz chip also with four cores but a TDP of just 4.5W.
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