Today is the day that AMD officially launches the Beema and Mullins APUs, parts that the company claim will dramatically change the mobile playing field.
Beema and Mullins are updates to the low-power Kabini (aimed at notebooks) and Temash (aimed at tablets) SoCs that AMD shipped last year. Normally, what you'd expect from this refresh is a small frequency boost and better power consumption. However, with Beema and Mullins, AMD is going much further, and take performance per watt to a new level.
On an architectural level both Beema and Mullins are not that different to Kabini and Temash, but this hasn't stopped AMD packing the APUs with some cool new features and making significant improvements.
These new features include:
- Turbo Core: While both Kabini and Temash could power down clock speeds in order to conserve power, neither featured a Turbo mode to boost performance for single-threaded workloads. The Beema and Mullins APU line both add this ability to certain parts (all Mullins parts have this feature, but only the A6-6310 Beema chip does) allowing the Beema silicon to boost up to 2.4GHz while Mullins can go up to 2.2GHz.
- ARM TrustZone: Mullins and Beema are the first AMD processors to feature the ARM Cortex-A5 on-die TrustZone open-standard platform for additional system security and management. This should be on interest to corporate and government customers.
- AMD Enduro: Allows for even better battery life.
- New thermal monitoring: Beema and Mullins will include the ability to measure the chassis temperature of the laptop or tablet and will adjust frequency to keep the temperature at a user-defined level.
AMD has published a lot of benchmark data showing significant gains compared to the previous generation hardware, but we will have to wait for hardware powered by Beema and Mullins to land before we can see how this translates in the real world.
AMD also offered us a tantalizing peek at what is coming in the future, features such as integrating its voltage regulator on-die and even better boost technology.
"When designing our 2014 Mainstream and Low-Power APUs, we were determined to once again set the standard in graphics and total compute performance in fanless form factor categories – and we’ve done just that," said Bernd Lienhard, AMD corporate vice president and general manager, Client Products. "These processors combine the latest core technologies – including the first-ever ARM-based security solution on an x86 processor – with user experiences that will delight consumer and commercial buyers alike in a package that’s impressively energy efficient."
Will these chips be enough to give AMD a foothold in the mobile space?