AMD preparing Brazos-T platform for Windows 8 tablets
DonanimHaber has uncovered AMD's next evolution to the recently released Z-series APUs, the Hondo APU on the Brazos-T platform. The first Z-APU, Z-01, is basically a power optimized C-50, bringing down TDP to 6W. However, Z-01 still used the Hudson M1 FCH, designed primarily for notebooks/nettops. AMD's focus for the Brazos-T platform is a FCH more suitable for tablets, cutting down redundant features and saving power.
The Hondo APU is largely similar to the Desna Z-01 APU – 2 Bobcat cores at 1.0 GHz and a Radeon HD 6250 GPU. However, Hondo does away with a PCIe interface – redundant for tablets as they don't feature discrete GPUs. Also, the VGA interface is removed, to leave 2 digital video outs in form of DP, eDP or HDMI. In addition to further tweaks, the result is a reduction in TDP from 5.9W to 4.5W for the APU.
However, it is the new Hudson M2T FCH which undergoes most changes compared to the Hudson M1 used with Z-01 APU. The package dimensions are reduced to 19x19mm, a single 3 GB/s SATA port is featured and USB 2.0 controllers is cut down to 8. As with the APU, PCIe has been excised completely, and there are no legacy USB1 controllers. An addition is a Secure Digital IO for improved WiFi. The result is a major cut in power consumption for what AMD calls "app power" – or typical power consumptions while running typical tablet apps. The "app power" for the entire Brazos-T platform is an impressive 2W only, which is half that of Desna+Hudson M1. Of course, the TDP will be higher.
The Brazos-T platform is set to be in production by Q2 2012, well in time for the Windows 8 release – which is optimized for tablets as well. In 2013, AMD will transition to Samara, and surely 28nm, offering further reduction in power consumption and next gen graphics. It is important to note that Windows 8 will run on ARM systems as well, so AMD's primary competition will be ARM. Intel is not standing still either, with Atom-based Medfield SoCs due to release in Q1 2012.