Kicking off the technology portion of the conference was a recap of the second generation GCN-based Radeon 8000M series GPUs—specifically the 8500-8800M series parts that were announced back in December. No actual new information on the GPUs themselves were released, but they should start showing up in laptops from Samsung, Lenovo, and ASUS soon.
Some rather interesting hardware news was released today, however. First, Trinity has undergone some refinements, resulting in the Richland cores. These new cores power a new line of AMD A8 and A10 APUs that provide 20 to 40 percent better performance than the previous generation. On top of this, they are more power efficient which means more battery life along with the improved performance. The next version of this APU, dubbed Kaveri, looks like it will be the first APU to use the GCN architecture for its graphics.
The new Kabini-based A4 and A6 APUs are the successor to Brazos 2.0, targeted at ultrathin and small form factor PCs. They are the first quad-core x86-based System on a Chip (SoC). When compared to an Intel Core i3-3217U, the AMD APU was significantly faster—though to be fair, we weren’t told exactly which APU was being used and what its specs were.
Temash is designed to bridge the gap between light consumption devices (e-readers, iPads, etc) and notebooks. Temash is a series of ultra low power (<5W) APUs for tablets and hybrids and is the successor to the rather short-lived Hondo APU. In a very short amount of time, AMD has been able to produce an APU that gets nearly double the performance of its predecessor, partly through the use of quad core (Hondo was dual core) and partly through a greatly reduced process size—Temash is a 28nm part where Hondo uses a comparatively archaic 40nm process.
There were some actual product announcements to go along with the tech announcements.
AMD has partnered with VIZIO, a company which recently entered the PC market, who today introduced four new products based on AMD’s technology. Those systems are an all-in-one system with a 24-inch display built around AMD’s A10 APU; two ultrathin notebooks (one 15.6-inch and one 14-inch), again based on the A-10 APU; and a passively cooled 11.6-inch tablet based on the Z-60 APU and, at 0.4 inches thick, slightly thinner than the original iPad. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that all four of these products come with capacitive touch 1920×1080 displays, something the vast majority of comparable Intel- and ARM-based products cannot claim.
ASUS was also on hand to show off their U38 Ultrathin notebook. It uses an AMD A-series APU with an option for a discrete GPU. One feature seems to set this notebook apart from the crowd: first, it comes with a full HD display with capacitive multi-touch, which isn’t terribly unique on its own, but its use of an IPS panel seems to be pretty rare in laptops. It’s clear that ASUS intends this to be a premium product and while pricing was not announced, I’d expect it to be on the high end of the AMD ultrathin notebook range.
We’re meeting with AMD on Wednesday. If you have any questions about the products or technology showed off in the press conference, post them in the forum thread and we’ll try to get them answered.