AMD Beema and Mullins Low Power 2014 APUs Tested
Summary and Conclusion
With last year’s Temash and Kabini-based APUs, AMD wanted to deliver a low-power platform that featured Graphics Core Next (GCN) based graphics. With this year’s release, the company wanted to incorporate a platform security processor, and focus on optimizing the overall performance and performance-per-watt characteristics of the CPU and GPU cores, as well as the IO. Although we haven’t been able to independently verify the power savings, it appears AMD has delivered on all fronts. The A10 Micro-6700T-based reference platform we tested performed well and offered a good user experience.
AMD is not done, however. Its goals for future low-power products include integrated voltage regulation, finer-grained and inter-frame power gating, further optimizations to its intelligent boost algorithms and more.
For the immediate future, Beema and Mullins are a clear step forward over AMD’s previous-gen, low-power APUs. Performance is up, power is down, and the platform offers new features and capabilities, like the newly integrated, ARM-based Platform Security Processor.
AMD expects designs featuring these new APUs to hit store shelves in a few months, just in time for the back to school shopping season. At this point, only Lenovo and Samsung have announced actual products, but AMD tells us everyone that virtually every partner that used Kabini and Temash will likely have Beema and/or Mullins-based products.
Historically, AMD has had a tough time getting their APUs into a large number of designs, but we’re hopeful more devices will leverage these chips versus the previous generation. Beema and Mullins offer across-the-board improvements over last year’s parts and their graphics capabilities are an obvious strong suit.