Intel's new 4th-gen chips may be on the horizon, but AMD is taking the opportunity to strike first and get out there with its new family of third-generation A-series processors ahead of time. Enter the "Temash", "Kabini" and "Richland" processors that will make themselves at home in upcoming tablets, midrange notebooks and powerhouse ultrathins soon.
With the new trio of processor families, AMD is aiming to each the very middle of Intel's lunch. Temash is pointed reasonably high-performance, almost-a-computer tablets, Kabini mostly at convertibles, and Richland at 10-inch and 11-inch clamshell Ultrathins with a bit more power under the hood.
AMD's "Temash" APU's — which are gunning for the space between Intel's Atom chips and the bottom regions of Core i3-land — consist of a trio of 1GHz APUs: the dual-core A4-1200 and A4-1250 and the quad-core A6-1450. Not exactly powerhouses in the grand scheme of things (nor are they intended to be), they offer hefty increases in performance power for high-functionality tablet devices while requiring less than half of the wattage of 2012 offerings and pushing better battery life.
AMD's convertable-bound A-Series "Kabini" chips — the 1.5GHz A4-5000, and the 2GHz A6-5200 (both quad-core) — are boasting similar improvements: namely around 50 per cent performance increases even with wattage requirements dropping by half. The second generation E-series chips — E1-2100 E1-2500 E2-3000 — are seeing an even bigger jump in performance. And all of the "Kabini" class chips are picking up sweet battery life bonuses, offering lifetimes of about 10 hours on a charge.
Lastly, there's AMD's top-shelf "Richland" family, which encompasses the upper end A8 and A10 models. The leaps in performance-per-watt aren't quite as high over here, but the increases are still respectable. And, once again, power-management features are enabling battery lives than can come up on 10 hours. With the A8 and A10 though, you're also looking at seriously good graphic performance for integrated graphics. Probably the best you'll see without bolting in a discrete card.
In total, the new class of chips promise nice performance increases, and paired with decreased wattage requirements and all-around power efficiency increases to boot. Features such as smart sleep states (which, in fairness, isn't going to be functionality exclusive to AMD chips) are going to boost your battery life, and even with Intel's integrated graphics taking a big step forward, AMD is bound to keep the integrated graphics crown.
Of course, how AMD's chips stack up against Intel's 4th gen cores is mostly a guessing game at the moment. We know that Intel's new Iris graphics are a peak for the company, but integrated graphics are AMDs strong suit. When it comes to everything else, the details are hazy. AMD's new chips come out on top of Baytrail and third-gen Intel cores handily, sure, but that's not really a fair matchup at all.
Head-to-head comparisons aside, AMD is gunning for the spaces in Intel's armour, the places where different flavours of Intel chips line up against each other. AMD could gain a lot by being just slightly better than the best Atom processor, if not quite as good as a Core i3.
For now AMD's got the jump on Intel, but the leap into the next generation looks good from both fronts. Now it's just a matter of waiting for the other shoe to drop.