At CES today, AMD announced a stable of new mobile APUs for 2013. They cover a wide range of products from, high-end mobile workstations to low-power laptops (which AMD refers to as “sleekbooks”), as well as tablets.
The company lead with a refresh of its mobile APUs. These new parts refine AMD’s existing architecture to increase performance by up to 40-percent while also improving battery life. Like previous APUs, they meld a quad-core processor with a Radeon graphics component. Hardware manufacturers can add a second discrete GPU to further boost performance. Chips are already shipping to manufacturers and will show up in laptops over the next few months.
AMD’s also revealed the world’s first x86-based quad-core system-on-a-chip. It places all the critical functions of the hardware on the processor die to reduce power consumption and die size, two important traits for a mobile processor. Performance has increased up to 50% compared to the outgoing “Brazos 2.0” based chips and the power envelope has been reduced to 15 watts. That’s higher than Intel’s competitive low-voltage chips, but those products have only two cores. Sleekbooks based off this new SoC will be available in the first half of 2013.
Saving the best for last, AMD took the wraps off a new tablet part meant for “performance tablets.” It fits within a 5-watt power envelope, yet also offers four cores and Radeon discrete graphics. It’s also based off x86, not ARM, so it will be able run Windows 8 rather than Windows RT. A live demo featured the processor playing the racing game, Dirt 3, at 1080p and at an acceptable framerate. Availability is to be announced.
It appears that AMD is making good on its pledge to continue evolving all its products while shifting its focus towards laptops and tablets. Is it enough to ward off Intel? We’ll need some hands-on time before we can make that call.