Event Coverage

AMD Shows Devices Running Upcoming Mullins APU

By Vijay Anand - 12 Jan 2014

AMD Shows Off Devices Running Upcoming Mullins APU

Dr.Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of AMD's global business units, showed off the compute possibilities of the company's upcoming Mullins APU sandwiched into a nano PC form factor that's no larger than a phablet.

While the focus at AMD's press conference at CES 2014 was mostly on its new desktop performance APU, Kaveri, the big red also took this opportunity to show off a few reference devices designed around the upcoming Mullins APU to reinforce to everyone present that AMD has its gears set in motion and is truly committed to its APU story and HSA computing.

Mullins is AMD's upcoming APU for 2014 that will replace the Temash APUs for low powered mobility products like tablets. While Temash already has a low system design power of 3 to 4W, Mullins takes it down to just about 2W with an updated processing core and secondary ARM based security processor. More information will be shared in due time, but for now, check out two reference products based on the Mullins APU:-

This is AMD's reference design for a pocket friendly nano PC running on the upcoming Mullins APU. The front face you're seeing is just a label and it's not a screen. Like a regular PC, you'll need to hook it up to an external screen and input devices.

It's just slightly larger than a regular smartphone and in our estimates, about the size of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra phablet.

On one edge of the nano PC, it's built with a front-facing webcam. This comes in handy when you hook up the nano PC to your monitor or TV, have it seated on top of the screen and use the camera for video conference or video chats on Skype or any other preferred application. Additionally, it can double up for EyeSight gesture control.

Using AMD's DockPort technology that uses DisplayPort cables and connectors to carry video, data and power interfaces into a single connector, the accompanying DockPort breakout box offers HDMI and USB 3.0 connectivity.

And here we've a full working demo of the featherweight AMD nano PC that's mounted on top of a TV as it powers a 1080p screen playing FIFA 14.

Also using the Mullins APU, here's a gaming tablet reference design with a docking controller that enables for a more natural handheld gameplay.

Here's the rear view of the same tablet.

It's no secret that AMD's market share in the CPU/APU side of things could be better and it doesn't have enough OEM design wins to give it better visibility. Given these circumstances, AMD's perseverance and sharing updates on unreleased products, is definitely a step in the right direction to keep the buzz alive on their new products.

The downside however is that its existing products do get sidelined somewhat, such as Kabini and Temash APUs that were only announced a little over half a year ago. It's evident that AMD is lacking design wins because they are still parading new products based on these 'older' APUs when the replacement models are just around the corner. Still, it's good news for AMD as it steadily spreads its wings to help shape the marketspace and consumer confidence. Here's a few recent design wins based on both the Kabini and Temash APUs:-

The Lenovo Flex 15D is one of the most design wins for AMD as the 15.6-inch multimedia notebook uses the highest grade Kabini APU, an A6-5200, that's made for thin and light notebooks. The APU hosts a Radeon HD 8400 GPU, while the system has 4GB of RAM, 500GB hybrid HDD with 8GB of flash memory.

This is a MSI W20 10-inch tablet running off an A4-1200 Temash APU that's made for mobility products like tablets. Its APU harbors a Radeon HD 8180 GPU, while the rest of the tablet's specs are rounded up 2GB of RAM, 500GB HDD and runs the full Windows 8 operating system.

Meet the just launched Tango, billed as the world's most powerful pocketable Windows PC. Running off the highest grade Kabini APU, an A6-5200, that's made for thin and light notebooks, the Tango is about the size of the slimmest portable HDD in the market. Within it, it has serviceable access to a DDR3 socket and an mSATA interface for a SATA 6Gbps SSD.

The Tango's proposition is portable computing and to that extent, the main "PC" was made as slim and light as possible, thus leaving all connectivity options to a docking station. The dock has three USB 2.0 ports, a single USB 3.0 port, a HDMI 1.4a port, RJ45 LAN port, analog audio jacks and even 802.11n Wi-Fi (rated at 300N). With a pocketable PC concept and powered by a decent APU, it can tackle productivity office applications and even light gaming. You can literally take your system from work to home and back again.

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