CES 2013: AMD Talks Up Surround Computing Strategy

Paul Lilly

AMD sounded energitic and optimistic during its press conference at CES.

Hours after Intel took to the stage at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to talk about its ambitious mobile strategy, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) followed suit with a press conference of its own, only it didn't talk about entry-level smartphones for emerging markets. AMD came out reiterating its Surround Computing strategy , a topic it's brought up before. Somewhat spunky and confident, this wasn't an AMD that sounded like it's about to roll over and play dead. Let's have a look at some of the highlights.

AMD kicked things off by reflecting on its achievements in graphics over the past year. Looking ahead, AMD acknowledged that discrete graphics is an important area of focus, calling it a "massive market opportunity" that it fully intends to continue serving. On the mobile side, AMD unveiled its Radeon HD 8000M Series with improved performance and better power management. Radeon HD 8500M, 8600M, and 8800M GPUs are all forthcoming.

On a related note, AMD talked about its vision to lead in the "four corners of gaming," which are Cloud, Console, Client, and Content.

AMD then switched gears to its APU products , talking first about Kabini, a low power architecture that integrates the Fusion Controller Hub (FCH, or South Bridge), making for a true single-chip design. By going this route, AMD claims better power management. You can also expect 50 percent or greater performance compared to Brazos 2.0. AMD is so confident in the performance of Kabini that it pitted a Sleekbook running the APU against an Ultrabook configured with an Intel Core i3 3217U processor to demonstrate how much better Kabini is at handling OpenCL image processing chores.

Look for Kabini shipments to begin in the first half of 2013.

On the tablet side, AMD talked about Temash, which will offer up to 100 percent more graphics performance than Hondo. It's supposedly the fastest x86 SoC for tablets, and it boasts full Microsoft Windows 8 compatibility. There will be dual- and quad-core Temash chips available.

While on the topic of APUs, AMD was rather exicted to tout gesture control in its Richland and Temash products. Using technology from Israeli gesture control company eyeSight, tablets and desktops will offer touch-free control, a feature that could come in handy if you're in the kitchen following a recipe on a website and have your hands dirty, among other scenarios.

"Working with AMD to bring gesture control to their 2013 APUs in this way is really significant. It validates growing consumer demand, and identifies gesture recognition as essential for digital devices," commented Gideon Shmuel, CEO, eyeSight. "And pre-integration makes perfect sense: the 'Richland' and 'Temash' APUs carry out gesture operations that are usually more CPU-intensive with an extremely low impact on the processing load of the system, making for a smooth overall experience. AMD’s solution will clearly be a very attractive option for any OEM looking to build a PC, laptop or tablet with gesture control functionality."

It was a fairly short presentation that didn't discuss anything particularly groundbreaking, nor did AMD surprise the audience with an Ivy Bridge killer or anything of that sort. On the flips side, AMD's press conference was largely devoid of fluff and gimmicky products and services. And heck, after the way 2012 ended , we're just happy to see AMD at all .

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