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AMD Temash chips promise proper tablet gaming - hands-on

  • AMD Temarsh
  • AMD Temarsh

AMD was showing off a selection of prototype tablets at MWC containing its new "Temash" tablet processors.

The chips are designed to bring proper application and gaming performance to Windows 8 tablets, while still being able to be passively-cooled and have low power consumption.

We were highly impressed with the AMD Trinity mobile processors, which combined strong gaming performance with long battery life, so we had few doubts AMD could pull off the same trick with its tablet chips.

AMD Temarsh
Modern Action RPG gaming on your Windows 8 tablet is a reality

AMD was demonstrating two prototype Temash-powered tablets at MWC; one dual-core and one quad-core model. AMD stated that both had the same graphics chipset, so any difference in gaming performance will depend on how much a particular title depends on the CPU rather than the graphics chipset.

One quad-core Temash tablet was running the DirectX 11 Torchlight 2 RPG, and it was reasonably smooth; we'd take a guess at between 20 and 25fps, which is enough for action RPGs such as Torchlight, but not for your average twitch-heavy first-person shooter.

AMD had helpfully provided an Intel Atom Z2760-powered Windows 8 tablet for comparative purposes. This was barely managing 5fps – as with laptop chips, AMD's tablet processors seem to be ahead for games.

Of course, Intel has long held the lead for 2D application performance in laptops. In an attempt to prove that its new chips could cut it away from the land of shaders and bump mapping, AMD had also set up another benchmark, using the Fishbowl HTML5 benchmark. This animates goldfish swimming around a bowl, and keeps adding fish until the device can no longer render the scene at 60fps.

In this test, again side-by-side with an Atom tablet, the AMD tablet had 95 fish swimming around at 60fps, while the Atom tablet only had one, and could only manage 45fps.

AMD Temarsh
Playing Guns 4 Hire on a tablet while watching Sintel. Why? Because we can

AMD had one more trick up its sleeve; it revealed that its tablets will be even faster when plugged into a keyboard dock. When provided with some extra power from the dock, the tablet will be able to ramp up its processor clock speed. AMD even mentioned that some keyboard docks may even have built-in fans to help with cooling, so letting the processors run even faster. When plugged into the dock, the AMD tablet gained another 45 fish.

We were impressed, but the new tablets won't be available until the second half of this year, by which time Intel's new Clover Trail+ patform will be available, with significant performance and graphics improvements. In the meantime, we look forward to getting our hands on our first AMD-powered Windows 8 tablet to put it through our own benchmarks.

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