We’ve been hearing a lot about the new processor families AMD is readying for tablets and notebooks, codenamed Temash and Kabini. At MWC 2013 in conjunction with Compal and Wistron, the company demonstrated some of their products and Temash showed how long its legs really are, with a live demo of Torchlight 2 optimised for touch screens. Hit the jump if you’re ready for some drool today.
Winstron’s tablet is a convertable design, similar to the one Intel made a few years back called Letexo. The Wistron will ship with a magnetised keyboard dock that flips around the tablet to protect it while also providing a kickstand at the back, although this isn’t anything like the design Microsoft’s Surface uses. The screen looks to be around 13 inches in size and supports resolutions up to 1080p. As a bonus, it also played Torchlight 2 reasonably well and as far as things go for a x86 tablet, probably a cheap one at that, it’s a big change from what we’re used to. Seeing as Temash is a x86 processor as well, it’s not limited to any online store, unlike the Windows 8 ARM-based tablets.
Early on in the video, there’s also the Compal reference design which featured a dock that AMD’s been working on to help cool the APU when in gaming or desktop mode. The dock includes a high-speed fan and directs cool air into the vents of the tablet, which also confirms that any Temash-based tablets will be fanless. In the demo there’s a very cool hardware shortcut that dims the screen as well, which you activate by covering the light sensor with your finger and draw it away, popping up a slider to control the brightness setting. Once the tablet is out of its dock it adjusts the power profile and clock speed of the CPU and APU accordingly and you can see how quickly Microsoft’s Fishbowl benchmark adjusts the number of fish to the available performance. AMD has been working on fine-tuning the power controls to help its processors shift between various power profiles to improve efficiency.
In addition the Compal prototype really looks like an Ultrabook. Many thin-and-light designs featuring AMD hardware haven’t been as flattering and attractive as their Intel counterparts and that’s probably down to the fact that Intel’s Ultrabook campaign gives money and advertising heft to the companies who make Ultrabooks and make them look good. AMD is not in a secure enough financial position to do that, but things may change in the near future. As these are only reference designs, there’s no way of knowing which other brands have products based on Temash and Kabini lined up.
Either way, in terms of graphics performance a quad-core Temash-based APU kicks the snot out of the Intel Atom tablet next to it, but it’ll probably come under heat from the GT3 hardware in Intel’s mobile Haswell-based family when it launches in June this year (Haswell, not Temash).