Tuesday, 24 January 2012 07:30

AMD talks Smart TVs, Next Gen APUs, and 7 Series Mobile at CES 2012

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i_heart_apu_stackedCES 2012 Las Vegas, Nevada – Just when you thought our CES coverage was over we bring you our coverage of AMD and a few of the products that they wanted to show off during CES. AMD’s booth this year was somewhat out of the way. Although many companies choose to be on the main floor of the show AMD was up in what almost seemed like a back corner in the meeting room area. This did not mean that they did not bring out some cool stuff. It just seemed like they really were not looking to deal with the madness of the show floor.

Our appointment was with the Graphics team, but it quickly turned into a general meeting while we waited for our contact to arrive. One of the first new items that we were treated too was wireless video. Although this is nothing really new, there have been products that take a video signal and turn it into wireless data and stream it to a remote display, the implementation and requirements are changing somewhat. AMD showed off a first generation product that does not require an external device to convert the video stream for wireless transmission. As you can see in the video below the laptop streaming the video to the display is not connected by any cables. This is pretty cool to see in action.


Now before you get all excited about wireless gaming let me warn you that there is something of a lag in transmission. AMD even stated that they know about this lag and are working on it in their next generation product. We also noted that the wireless signal had to be very clean or there were issues in rendering. This is something to bear in mind as neighborhoods are getting cluttered with wireless networks all competing on the same frequencies.

The next item that we were shown was what AMD called a truly smart TV. This is a TV that uses the Brazos platform. AMD showed us just how powerful this type of system could be when the right software is included in the package. We did ask them if they were working with any manufacturers that were going to implement modular upgrades, but none of the people we spoke to from AMD had an answer to that.


After the smart TV demo we took a look at look at AMD’s next generation APU. This demo was rather impressive as it showed a simple notebook APU playing Dirt 3, transcoding video streams, and watching HD video all at the same time. Now, again we asked what we thought was a simple question; “will this new APU deal with some of the memory bandwidth issues that AMD has had?” Our answer was a smile and the comment that they were not going to try and build any hype around this new product. At a guess I would say that the memory and caching issues are still present, but that the graphical performance will make up for that to many consumers.


We took a look around at a few other demos that AMD had on display including one with some impressive positional audio. This was a multi-display demo where they have a game (Hawx) playing on three monitors and two additional monitors had video conferencing. The audio from each came from the proper location which is something relatively new in the market.  

After these demos we went to talk about AMD’s launch of the 7 series GPUs for the mobile market. AMD told us that they will be launching the 7 series in two phases. First will be a 40nm part in the form of the 7600M, the 7500M and the 7400M. As you can see from the image below these part will be fairly decent as far as mobile graphics go. One thing that you will see is, with the exception of the top end 76000M AMD has removed half of the memory bus. This, according to AMD, will help reduce the amount of space the GPU takes up which helps reduce power and heat generation.  It was move designed to help make more power and heat efficient products in the mobile space.
After the launch of the 40nm parts there will be a full launch of real 7 series parts using AMD’s new Graphics Core Next. These were not completely detailed, but they will be 28nm parts and will have all of the advantages of the AMD’s new microarchitecture. Unfortunately we were not able to talk much about Bulldozer or Piledriver, but as we move forward into 2012 we hope to rebuild our relationship with AMD and work more closely with them. One interesting item of note; when we asked the question about AMD building an x86 SoC (complete package) we only received a smile and no other comment. Make of that what you will, but with the direction of the products we saw I think we are very close to the mark.

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