The prerelease code names of AMD's new low-power and mainstream CPUs, Temash, Kabini, and Richland, may not mean much to laptop shoppers, but these components aim to give ultrathin laptops, tablets, and other PCs better value and battery life.
For the past several years, AMD has actually named its processors APUs rather than CPUs, which stands for accelerated processing unit, and combines a CPU and integrated graphics into a single part. The new chips follow that model, and take aim at where a lot of the action in tablet, hybrids, and laptops is right now, at the low-to-middle part of the price scale.
The new parts carry on the existing series names from AMD's previous chips (A4, A6, A8, and so on), much as Intel has done with the Core i-series, which may cause some confusion for shoppers. This breakdown should help clear that up.
The AMD Elite Mobility APU (code-named Temash) is an ambitious 28nm dual-core and quad-core system-on-chip, meant for touch-screen laptops, hybrids, and tablets, with 13-inch or smaller screens. These will now be called the AMD A4 (dual-core) and AMD A6 (quad-core), and include built-in AMD Radeon 8000-series graphics.
Despite being a very low-power chip, AMD promises support for 1080p touch displays, and greatly improved CPU and graphics performance than the previous generation.
The AMD Mainstream APU (code-named Kabini) is a mainstream dual/quad-core part for midsize entry level laptops and, with the same Radeon 8000 graphics and a promise of "all-day battery life." The dual-core version will be called the E1 and E2, while the quad-core version also uses the A4 and A6 model names.
On the higher end, the AMD Elite Performance APU (code-named Richland) is targeted at premium ultrathin laptops, and promises best-in-class graphics performance. These chips will use the A8 and A10 designations, and AMd says they have made great improvements in areas such as power efficiency during HD video playback.
The two Elite series also include new software features, including Webcam-based gesture controls, facial recognition log-in, and a screencasting feature called AMD Screen Mirror, although that would require a specially supported external TV or display.
You'll most likely find the new AMD A4, A6, A8, and A10 chips in upcoming systems from Acer, HP, and others in roughly the same time frame as, but offering welcome options for the budget- and midpriced-PC shopper.