Intel's Bay Trail platform and low-power Haswell offerings may be the go-to choice when it comes to mainstream Windows tablets and laptops, but AMD believes that their next generation chips will be the best. A refinement of their work on APUs in the past few years, the new chips, ‘Beema’ and ‘Mullins’, are set to be strong contenders in this segment. Both products make use of AMD’s new Puma+ CPU cores and a GCN GPU with 128 compute cores at varying frequencies.
Low-end desktop SoCs typically come soldered to motherboards, including AMD's 2011 Brazos platform as well as Intel's Bay Trail-D. AMD hopes to change that with its AM1 platform, which currently offers four APUs as well as a range of affordable motherboards. While checking out the new AM1 APUs, we have rounded up competing chips to give you a clearer picture of what is available in the budget CPU market.
Today marks the arrival of AMD's successor to the Radeon HD 7990. The latter was a formidable rival for the GeForce GTX Titan but it faced poor frame latency performance and enormous power consumption figures. Later on the single-GPU R9 290X managed an even more impressive feat but that card was also 20% more power hungry and thus had a huge thermal output. So much so that we weren't sure if AMD was seriously considering two Hawaii XT GPUs on a single PCB.
Apparently so, as they are unveiling the Radeon R9 295X2, the most extreme graphics cards we have ever seen.
The biggest news for Mantle since being announced as a method of improving performance in games by allowing them to use your CPU and GPU more efficiently, has been support from DICE's Frostbite 3 engine (and by extension, Battlefield 4). Recently that support expanded to Eidos' Thief, while Crytek revealed at GDC 2014 that CryEngine will support it too. AMD says its latest update is of "tremendous benefit to a large cross-section of the gaming public" so we are keen to check it out.
Despite being built with the aging Unreal Engine 3, Thief touts some cutting edge rendering techniques that have put the game on our radar. Thief's built-in benchmark appears to do a good job of demonstrating a worst-case performance scenario, so if your system can average 60fps in the benchmark you should enjoy perfectly smooth gameplay from start to finish.