Mainstream and Low-Power APUs create two virtual processors to protect sensitive data

AMD announces first-ever x86 processors to feature ARM security

AMD has announced its new range of mobile processors, which it claims are the first x86 processors to feature an ARM core for security.

The 2014 AMD ‘Mainstream’ and ‘Low-Power’ mobile APUs (Advanced Processing Units), which were formerly codenamed ‘Beema’ and ‘Mullins’ respectively, feature up to four x86 cores with updated AMD Radeon graphics and hardware-level security based on the ARM Cortex-A5.

The system-on-chip (SoC) APUs are already present in products announced by Lenovo and Samsung, with more due to hit shelves in time for the 2014 back-to-school season, AMD said.

"When designing our 2014 Mainstream and Low-Power APUs, we were determined to once again set the standard in graphics and total compute performance in fanless form factor categories — and we’ve done just that," said Bernd Lienhard, corporate VP and GM for client products at AMD.

"These processors combine the latest core technologies – including the first-ever ARM-based security solution on an x86 processor – with user experiences that will delight consumer and commercial buyers alike in a package that’s impressively energy efficient."

Both APUs feature a customised version of the BlueStacks software, which allows users to experience an Android operating system on Windows PCs.

The Mainstream and Low-Power APUs are primarily designed for consumer and commercial mobile devices, including tablets, two-in-ones like detachable and convertible notebooks and small-screen and ultrathin laptops.

The APUs mark AMD’s first use of ARM-based technology into processors designed for consumer and commercial client devices, with the ARM Cortex-A5 featuring ARM TrustZone technology for data security.

AMD claims that the APUs are the first and only x86 processors available that integrate such an ARM core for security.

The technology partitions the new processors into two virtual processors – a ‘secure world’ and a ‘normal world’ based on the type of data being processed – meaning sensitive data can be separated and protected.

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