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AMD tablets will trounce Intel Core i3 tablets on battery life

evan kypreos

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Intel vs AMD
Intel vs AMD

AMD’s new Elite Mobility range of APU chips for mobile devices will allow tablets to “last up to 45 per cent longer than Intel Core i3 based models”, the company has claimed.

Speaking to TrustedReviews at AMD's Toronto conference, Kevin Lensing, Director of the Mobility Product Line at AMD, and colleague Michael Mantor claimed the revised architecture was at the root of the power efficiency.

The Accelerated Processing Units that make up the new “Temash” and “Kabini” platforms see the system's CPU and GPU merged on a single chip.

Power consumption, and therefore performance, is defined by the cooling capabilities of the platform, which means the better the cooling the better the performance. AMD’s Kabini platform uses the quad-core CPU as a heatsink while the GPU is under stress, and vice versa. The CPU also cools itself in this way.

If a single core is being taxed the other idle cores act as thermal sinks. Additional power efficiencies are also made by diverting unused power from one core to the remaining cores.

According to Lensing, the next three years will see significant growth in hybrid and convertible tablets and AMD aims to dominate this market by enabling “notebook class performance in the hybrid form factor”.

He has claimed this will be achieved by using AMD’s Turbo Core power management which can boost the performance of a tablet by up to 40 per cent simply by providing extra cooling. For example the Temash APU runs at 1GHz in tablet mode but gets a boost to 1.4GHz when docked.

AMD is taking a big gamble with its belief in the growth of the hybrid tablet market, but it needs to take risks to cover the yearly drop in traditional desktop and laptop PC sales. With its APUs now providing the power for the PS4 and Xbox One the company will have a steady, if very low margin, stream of sales.

With its Temash and Kabini platforms AMD is looking to disrupt Intel’s dominance in the Windows 8 tablet and hybrid market, 45 per cent increased battery life and improved performance are significant steps towards that.

Next read our round up of all the best tablets >

John Gass

May 23, 2013, 8:06 pm

"Power consumption, and therefore performance, is defined by the cooling
capabilities of the platform, which means the better the cooling the
better the performance."

Power consumption and performance aren't really *defined* by the cooling. More exactly, they are *limited* by the design's ability to dissipate the extra heat generated as you drive the chip harder.

I agree that having better thermal paths to take heat away from the places where
it is being generated will allow the chip to be driven harder, simply because the thermal design will keep chip temperatures lower for any specified power dissipation. What I can't see explained is how this makes a chip more power-efficient. Efficiency is, in this context, a function of how much of the chip's electrical power consumption is
turned into "number crunching", and how much is wasted doing nothing more than coming out as heat - very much as is understood for light-bulbs where the balance is between light output and heat.

If these new AMD chips are to be so much more efficient than existing designs, there would be *less* need to dissipate wasted heat, and that would then surely be a side-line of the real story which would be about architecture or silicon design?

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