AMD & Samsung Lay Their Chips On The Table At CES


One of the most surprising undercurrents at CES was the proliferation of new chips, and yesterday saw both Samsung and AMD introduce new processors at the Las Vegas exhibition.

First up was AMD, which rolled out high performance chips for notebook and desktop GPUs, as well as a new accelerated processing units for notebooks and tablets.

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Most exciting were its new APUs, known as “Kabini” and “Temash” respectively, which AMD says are the world’s first quad-core SoC processors built using its new x86 architecture, rather than its previous ARM technology.

AMD said that “Kabini” has been designed specifically for ultrathin notebooks and will be made available in two different flavors – dual-core and quad-core. According to the company, the new chip will boost performance in lightweight machines by up to 50% compared to its previous-generation Brazos. 2.0 chips, whilst also delivering a significant boost in battery life.

“Temash” meanwhile, has been designed exclusively for new Windows 8 devices, including notebooks, hybrids and tablets. The new processor, which was displayed in a Windows 8 tablet at CES, promises better battery life and a 100% graphics boost as compared to its predecessor, the AMD Hondo.

As for desktops and bigger laptops, AMD touted its new Radeon HD 8000 GPUs built on its Graphics Core Next architecture, offering support for PCI Express 3.0 and Direct X 11.1. In addition, AMD said that it’s also offering a mobile variant of the same chip – the Radeon HD 8000M, which offers increased battery performance thanks to AMD’s new “Enduro Technology” that dynamically scales GPU usage for maximum efficiency.

Meanwhile, Samsung was busy demonstrating that there’s far more to it than just its consumer devices. The Korean tech giant unveiled its next-generation mobile processor that many suspect will end up powering its up-and-coming Galaxy SIIII – the Exynos 5 Octa.

What’s special about this little beast is that it’s believed to be the first mobile processor that utilizes ARM big.LITTLE architecture, based on Cortex A15 CPUs. The Exynos 5 Octa packs eight cores in total – four Cortex A7s for light-duty tasks, and four A15s to carry out the heavy-duty stuff. According to Samsung, the chip offers 70% more efficiency than its last effort, and will deliver “more pure processing power than we’ve ever before seen in a mobile device”, allowing for “heavy multi-tasking without any kind of lag or disruption.”

Stephen Woo, President of Samsungf’s LSI business, stated that the Exynos 5 Octa had been built with high-end smartphones and tablets in mind:

“When you want multiple applications to perform at their best, you want the best processor available,” added Woo.

For more analysis on Samsung’s latest chip play is contributing editor John Cassaretto, who dropped in on this morning’s NewsDesk segment with Kristin Feledy: