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The Platform Security Processor, APU Models, And Market Positioning

Mullins And Beema APUs: AMD Gets Serious About Tablet SoCs
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AMD's updated low-power APUs are the first (and so far, only) x86 processors with an integrated ARM core. Dubbed the Platform Security Processor (PSP), this core is actually a 32-bit ARM Cortex-A5 with its own ROM and SRAM. The PSP is designed to provide a secure processing path, a trusted execution environment (TEE), a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), and a crypto co-processor capable of operating within ARM's TrustZone blanket of hardware-enabled security services.

At least on paper, the Platform Security Processor is an interesting IP add-on that we'd imagine stems from a desire to make mobile devices in the workplace easier to manage and control, since these aren't capabilities most home users want or need. AMD appears to be courting a segment currently under-serviced by existing ARM-based SoCs and Intel's own Bay Trail devices. However, it remains to be seen whether ISVs develop around the on-die hardware to expose its capabilities in software.

Models And Market Positioning

By now it's pretty clear what we're dealing with at the heart of AMD's newest mobile APUs. The following chart spells out how AMD is segmenting its Mullins-based models:


Radeon Brand
SDP
TDP
CPU Cores
Max CPU Clock
L2 Cache
Shaders
Max GPU Clock
Memory
A10 Micro-6700T
R6
2.8 W
4.5 W
4
2.2 GHz
2 MB
128
500 MHz
DDR3L-1333
A4 Micro-6400T
R3
2.8 W
4.5 W
4
1.6 GHz
2 MB
128
350 MHz
DDR3L-1333
E1 Micro-6200T
R2
2.8 W
3.95 W
2
1.4 GHz
1 MB
128
300 MHz
DDR3L-1066

The TDP range is tight, hanging between 3.95 and 4.5 W. Further, AMD attaches an SDP rating of 2.8 W up and down the line-up, conveying the power use expected during normal activity. Both top-end versions are quad-core configurations, receiving A10 and A4 branding, but differentiated by the addition of Micro as a prefix to their model number. The lone dual-core SoC bears the E1 designation.

AMD takes a different tact with its graphics marketing, using R2, R3, and R6 to indicate performance at multiple clock rates, since all three options sport 128 shaders.

Clearly, AMD hopes that Mullins will compete against Bay Trail-T and the more powerful Haswell-Y processors. And although there aren't any products with AMD's hardware inside yet, we're going to be benchmarking the potential of A10 Micro-6700T in a passively-cooled reference-class tablet. 


Radeon Brand
TDP
CPU Cores
Max CPU Clock
L2 Cache
Shaders
Max GPU Clock
Memory
A6-6310
R4
15 W
4
2.4 GHz
2 MB
128
800 MHz
DDR3L-1866
A4-6210
R3
15 W
4
1.8 GHz
2 MB
128600 MHz
DDR3L-1600
E2-6110
R2
15 W
4
1.5 GHz
2 MB
128500 MHz
DDR3L-1600
E1-6010
R2
10 W
2
1.35 GHz
1 MB
128350 MHz
DDR3L-1333

The Beema-based parts have TDPs between 10 and 15 W. There aren't any SDP ratings; that's because SDP is reserved for devices designed with a touch-first usage model in mind, and those aren't what Beema will drop into. 

Again, most of the SoCs are quad-core configurations; just one, the E1-6010, is a dual-core SoC. As with the Mullins-based parts, branding of the Radeon engine depends on clock rate, since every model includes 128 shader cores.

AMD plans to pit Beema against Bay Trail-M and Haswell-U in low-power laptops. True performance comparisons will need to wait until the company is able to secure design wins. But nothing about the specs suggest the theoretical match-up is unbalanced.

What we do have to test is an A10 Micro-6700T-equipped reference tablet that AMD calls its Discovery tablet, which we'll look at on the next page.

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  • -1 Hide
    Nintendo Maniac 64 , April 28, 2014 11:16 PM
    ...yeah, I don't think intending to benchmark full-on PC games that aren't even a year old on what is essentially a tablet APU was one of the wisest decisions you guys have made.
  • 0 Hide
    cleeve , April 28, 2014 11:21 PM
    Quote:
    ...yeah, I don't think intending to benchmark full-on PC games that aren't even a year old on what is essentially a tablet APU was one of the wisest decisions you guys have made.


    Actually, both Dota2 and Grid2 are well known for having low system requirements, and they represented a great opportunity to compare results to the desktop bay trail and kabini platforms. We would have tested these games regardless, but we would have added more, less demanding titles if we had more time.

  • 0 Hide
    Nintendo Maniac 64 , April 28, 2014 11:21 PM
    Hmmm, sounds like an AMD equivalent of an Intel "tick", especially considering that the IPC between Puma+ and Jaguar is unchanged.

    Interestingly enough, this would mean that the PS4 and Xbone could use Puma+ cores in the future (with turbo disabled obviously).

  • 0 Hide
    PreferLinux , April 28, 2014 11:31 PM
    OK, so where are the power measurements? That is about the most important part of the chip, and is also the part that is missing.
  • 0 Hide
    kyuuketsuki , April 28, 2014 11:57 PM
    I'm not sure why you decided to benchmark Dota at 1920x1080 instead of 1200x800. You lost the ability to compare against the Venue 8 Pro *and* the results might have been something resembling playable. I'm always of the opinion that game benchmarking should focus around what the product in question (and its competitors) can actually, y'know, play. Seeing graphs of everything being in a range of 1-10 FPS just isn't interesting or particularly useful.

    But yeah, I understand the limited time and environment, and the look at Beema and Mullins is greatly appreciated. I'm *still* looking forward to a commercially-available tablet with an AMD SoC in it, since one never materialized with Temash. That Vizio tablet that used AMD was actually pretty nifty, except for using the Z-60(?) which just wasn't up to scratch. It's too bad Vizio seems to be deprecating its tablet efforts, since an update of that tablet with Mullins in it would be worth looking at.
  • 0 Hide
    NoClue_87 , April 29, 2014 12:04 AM
    Dota2 is very cpu intensive. It's a shame Valve aint interested in suporting mantle for dota 2.
  • 0 Hide
    CaptainTom , April 29, 2014 12:17 AM
    I seriously cannot wait when 5 years from now I can get mid-range PC gaming in a tablet... The future cannot come soon enough...
  • 2 Hide
    tigger888 , April 29, 2014 12:47 AM
    HOW is the author of this article NOT amazed that the apu is pushing NEAR 30 frames per second! With the competition only having half... Who pays these guys to write articles..
  • 0 Hide
    de5_Roy , April 29, 2014 2:05 AM
    looks quite promising. these socs will be in media consumption devices, so i hope you'll include various media playback benches in the review.

    the tskin temp and tjmax temp look a bit low for outside use. i wonder if it'll be enough to prevent throttling in actual devices.
  • 0 Hide
    cleeve , April 29, 2014 3:18 AM
    Quote:
    HOW is the author of this article NOT amazed that the apu is pushing NEAR 30 frames per second! With the competition only having half... Who pays these guys to write articles..


    How did you not read the commentary, yet decide comment on it?

    The article is very complimentary to the new APU's game performance. What exactly did you expect? Did you want me to write that its the "SUPERBEST GAMING APU EVAR"?

  • 0 Hide
    renz496 , April 29, 2014 3:45 AM
    Quote:
    OK, so where are the power measurements? That is about the most important part of the chip, and is also the part that is missing.


    if you check other tech site that covering this new APU there is not much detail on power consumption.

    Quote:
    I was allowed to spend a few hours benchmarking AMD’s Discovery Tablet. Unfortunately the device wasn’t instrumented for power testing, nor was there enough time to run any battery life tests on it, so the usefulness of these numbers is limited. We already know that AMD’s idle power isn’t as good as smartphone silicon, but for some of these value Windows 8.1 devices it may still be good enough.


    http://www.anandtech.com/show/7974/amd-beema-mullins-architecture-a10-micro-6700t-performance-preview/3

    it seems AMD only allow reviewer to do some benchmark on it and then take it back
  • 0 Hide
    renz496 , April 29, 2014 3:49 AM
    Quote:
    Dota2 is very cpu intensive. It's a shame Valve aint interested in suporting mantle for dota 2.


    maybe because Mantle only works on GCN based card. not even 6k or 5k series support mantle. we might see Dota 2 having Mantle support if AMD pays Valve to use Mantle.
  • 0 Hide
    de5_Roy , April 29, 2014 3:53 AM
    Quote:

    maybe because Mantle only works on GCN based card. not even 6k or 5k series support mantle. we might see Dota 2 having Mantle support if AMD pays Valve to use Mantle.

    mantle would be great gaming performance booster for processors like beema playing games like these.
  • 0 Hide
    renz496 , April 29, 2014 4:15 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:

    maybe because Mantle only works on GCN based card. not even 6k or 5k series support mantle. we might see Dota 2 having Mantle support if AMD pays Valve to use Mantle.

    mantle would be great gaming performance booster for processors like beema playing games like these.


    the question is will valve care to spend extra resource (out of their own pocket) on enhancement that can only benefit some of their user? yes mantle will be a great help for SoC like this but in the end it is still up to developer to use mantle or not.
  • 3 Hide
    cleeve , April 29, 2014 5:46 AM
    Quote:
    OK, so where are the power measurements? That is about the most important part of the chip, and is also the part that is missing.


    There was no way to measure it. The CPU is too new to be recognized by the thermal and power measurement software that I tried.

    We'll have to wait a bit for the details, unfortunately. Having said that, the TDP gives us a reliable range.

  • 0 Hide
    rajangel , April 29, 2014 6:55 AM
    More trolling and baiting from Toms Hardware authors, sigh.
  • 0 Hide
    renz496 , April 29, 2014 7:11 AM
    Quote:
    More trolling and baiting from Toms Hardware authors, sigh.


    i take that you are the one trolling here
  • 1 Hide
    ykki , April 29, 2014 7:38 AM
    nice to see some progress from AMD in the tablet segment. who knows what's next? (maybe smartphone processors :)  )
  • 0 Hide
    harly2 , April 29, 2014 9:16 AM
    Toms is very apprehensive to be positive on AMD, just can't give props. There are things to be excited about, but not to excited in this case because its straddled to the windows platform for tablets. It's faster then a K1, Intel mobile everything, A7, and snapdragon 801 but only for high end windows tablets....meh. Beema will be a money maker for them though.
  • 0 Hide
    xenol , April 29, 2014 9:25 AM
    I like that AMD is getting into the SoC business, which hopefully spells competition in the area... but I don't really care for their emphasis on gaming. I'm not going to game on a tablet, and if I do, it's going to be simple games.

    The tablet for me is more for having a lightweight internet connected device than something I game on. I already portable consoles and a high performance laptop for that.
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