Think that shiny new gaming console you'll be picking up in the coming weeks has the latest and greatest APU technology from AMD? Think again, as AMD recently announced a new range of mobile APUs that effectively render the semi-custom APUs used in the PlayStation and Xbox One obsolete.
In 2014, AMD will be launching 'Beema' (10-25W) and 'Mullins' (~2W) APUs to replace the low-power 'Kabini' and ultra-low-power 'Temash' chips respectively. Both new APUs come with between two and four 'Puma' CPU cores, the successor to the 'Jaguar' cores seen in Kabini, Temash and the next-generation consoles. AMD is claiming Puma gives a 2x improvement in performance per watt versus Jaguar, but so far hasn't disclosed exactly what is facilitating this boost on the architecture or clock speed front.
On the GPU front, Beema and Mullins both make use of the GCN 1.0 architecture: the same architecture used in Kabini and Temash, as well as the Radeon HD 7000 series graphics cards. To get more performance out of the GPU in the new line of APUs, it appears as though AMD has raised the clock speeds, as opposed to adding more compute units.
AMD has also added in an ARM Cortex-A5 core into Beema and Mullins as a "Platform Security Processor", bringing support for the ARM TrustZone. Essentially this provides an environment for malware protection and certain authentication protocols, but as it still requires software-side implementation, there's no guarantees it will ever be used.
While the desktop Kaveri APUs will be available from January 14, there's no exact launch date for Beema or Mullins. However with the growing adoption of Intel's Bay Trail chips, it would be in AMD's best interests to get these new SoCs out the door sooner rather than later.
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