AMD Demos Next Gen APUs, Partners with Vizio, HP, ASUS

AMD at CES 2013

It has been a rough few years for AMD. The company has found itself increasingly behind the eight ball and outmaneuvered, thanks to strong competition from Intel and less-than-stellar performance with recent releases of their A series integrated APUs. At a press event yesterday at CES 2013,  the Sunnyvale-based company focused on demonstrating new product wins and continued execution of its own APU roadmap. New devices shipping soon are courtesy of partnerships Asus, HP, and Vizio.

Vizio's hardware was big news at the show, though AMD did talk up partnerships with other companies.

The first two companies are familiar names, but Vizio has focused on HDTVs and other consumer electronics up to now. AMD and Vizio announced a fairly expansive partnership today, with multiple Vizio systems on display including a new AIO (all-in-one) and ultra-thin notebook design. A prototype tablet from Wistron was also demo'd, though AMD doesn't expect to pick up much tablet business until its next-generation Kabini and Temash SoCs launch later this year.

So let's talk a bit about what to expect from these new low power AMD APUs as far as performance is concerned. At the event, AMD showcased Kabini's performance against a Core i3, with the former winning handily, showed its current Brazos-based tablet winning out over Clover Trail, and talked a bit about what we can expect from Richland. Richland is the follow-up to AMD's Trinity APU, and it fits into the company's roadmap like so:

This is a new, updated roadmap from what we've published previously, so don't gloss over it. Richland, like Trinity, is built around the Piledriver CPU core, but it updates the graphics core further with what AMD calls a "2nd Generation DirectX GPU." The company is claiming that Richland will deliver a 20-40% performance uplift compared to Trinity. That's a huge jump considering that Richland doesn't integrate a new CPU, but checking the footnotes on AMD's presentation gives some info on where the number comes from.

According to AMD's internal tests, an A10-4600M turns in a 3DMark 2011 score of 1150, while the A8-4555M scores 780. The Richland-based A10-5750M hits 1400 in the same test, while the A8-5545M scores 1100. That's a 20% improvement at the high end, and a 40% midrange boost -- but only in this single test.

Kabini and Temash both look solid and AMD is committed to a first half 2013 release for Kabini. Sunnyvale is claiming a 50% performance boost over Brazos. This figure relies on PCMark Vantage. In that test, the Kabini-based A6-5200 scored 5271 while the Brazos testbed only managed a 2807. That's a major jump for AMD at the low end of the market, but it squares with what we expect from Brazos' successor. Kabini doesn't just improve on Brazos' GPU and CPU efficiency, it doubles the number of CPU cores as well.

For tablets, there's Temash -- and AMD may have inadvertently slipped a bit here. The company's footnotes contain a reference to the new SoC's clock speed and performance in 3DMark and PC Mark Vantage when compared to AMD's current tablet chip, Hondo. According to the document, Hondo scores 455 in 3DMark, 1914 in PCMark Vantage. Temash, meanwhile, scores a 981 in 3DMark and 3123 in PCMark Vantage.

The Temash chip in question is the A6-1450, a quad-core SoC clocked at 1GHz with Radeon HD 8280 graphics, 2GB of DDR3-1066 memory, and running (oddly) Windows 7.

Here's a different version of the company's road map, from the CES presentation today.

AMD will continue to emphasize the software side of the equation in 2013, with gesture control, facial recognition login, and several other software capabilities rolling out with Richland and Temash when those parts are ready.

At this point, AMD plans to keep these features capabilities restricted to its upper-end products, though this could change before launch day. All in all, it was a very good day for AMD. Sunnyvale may not have handed out any earthshaking news, but continued solid execution and year-on-year improvements are exactly what shareholders need to see.

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