Advanced Micro Devices has at last finalized and presented its latest low-power accelerated processing units, which were called Beema and Mullins, but which will now take their places in the A and E chip series.The Mainstream and Low-Power mobile APUs, as AMD calls them, really qualify more as SoCs (system on chip devices) than CPUs/APUs.
That was the entire point though: to integrate as many features as possible, so that tablets, 2-in-1 devices and other ultraportables may be even thinner and lighter than before.
According to what the company said in its conference call earlier this month, there already are such products, even PCs, based on Mullins and Beema set to arrive in the coming months. Lenovo and Samsung were mentioned, among others.
AMD has brought together its reference designs in the Discovery Platform. There is a tablet with desk and gaming controller docks, as well as an ultrathin desktop PC that is as small as a smartphone.
Clearly, the Sunnyvale, California-based company is walking outside the normal beaten path. Whether this will bring success or not remains to be seen.
There are a number of unique and impressive assets that the Mainstream Low-Power APUs bring to the table, and most of them we'll check out separately.
For now, we'll take a look at the most important, or at least the only one that deserves to be called one of a kind: the AMD TrustZone technology.
It's a security technology that uses an ARM Cortex A5 processor (that's right, an ARM core) to split each processor into two virtual CPUs.
One of them works normally, handling things like office document work and games, while the other does the online banking, digital payments, antivirus operations, etc. It's fully encrypted and provides a layer of security never before seen. Intel itself has nothing like this.
For those who want the exact specifications, here they are, starting with the Mainsteam mobile Accelerated Processing Units.
There will be four, two dual-core (1.35 GHz E1-6010 at 10W and 1.5 GHz E2-6110 at 15W) and two quad-core models (1.8 GHz A4-6210 at 15W and 2.4 GHz A6-6310 also at 15W). They even have better graphics than Intel Core i3 CPUs.