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AMD Announces New Low-Power APUs for Tablets and Notebooks

AMD today announced the latest generation of its new processors designed for budget notebooks and tablets, which will provide greater performance per watt, offer greater security, and make ultra-thin devices less hot to handle.

MORE: Laptop Interactive Buying Guide

The "Mullins" and "Beema" APUs, as they're called, will use up to 20 percent less power on tasks such as Web browsing and video playback. They will also incorporate a separate ARM chip to handle security. The ARM Cortex A5 processor will allow device manufacturers to use a standard interface--Trustinic's Trusted Execution Environment--to enable more secure online banking, better anti-malware protection, and to make it easier for companies to allow employees to bring their own devices to work.

An innovative feature, called "Skin Temperature Aware Power Management" will monitor the temperature of the outer shell of a tablet, and then adjust the power of the APU in order to remain below a certain threshold. Ironically, AMD achieves this by initially boosting power to the APU, so the task(s) are accomplished more quickly, then throttling back the power. However, this feature must be enabled by OEMs. Intelligent Boost, another power saving feature, avoids wasting energy by not boosting performance when an app that wouldn't benefit from the added juice is running. 

Other features include AMD Quick Stream Technology, AMD Perfect Picture with AMD Steady Video, AMD Gesture Control, Face Login, and BlueStacks. 

Here's a quick rundown of the APUs announced today:

Beema APUS

ModelTDPCPU CoresClock SpeedL2 CacheRadeon CoresGPU Clock SpeedDDR3 Speed
A6-631015W42.4 GHz2MB128800 MHzDDR3L-1866
A4-621015W41.8 GHz2MB128600 MHzDDR3L-1600
E2-611015W41.5 GHz2MB128500 MHzDDR3L-1600
E1-601010W21.35 GHz1MB128350 MHzDDR3L-1333

Mullins APUs

ModelTDPCPU CoresClock SpeedL2 CacheRadeon CoresGPU Clock SpeedDDR3 Speed
A10 Micro-6700T4.5W42.2 GHz2MB128500 MHzDDR3L-1333
A4 Micro-6400T4.5W41.6 GHz2MB128350 MHzDDR3L-1333
E1 Micro-6200T3.95W21.4 GHz1MB128300 MHzDDR3L-1066

Although Lenovo and Samsung are already using these low-power APUs--including Lenovo's Flex 2, B-Series and G- series notebooks--it remains to be seen if these new processors will prove popular with other OEMs. The company's share of mobile APUs declined 26.7% in the fourth quarter of last year, according to a report by Jon Peddie Research. Its overall share of the marketplace rose to 16.9 percent from 14.3 percent in the first quarter of 2014, largely due to sales of the Xbox and PS4 consoles. As a way to entice manufacturers, AMD is releasing its Discovery Tablet (pictured above), which showcases the APU's abilities. 

Stay tuned for reviews of notebooks and tablets with AMD's new low-power APUs.