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If accurate, Microsoft is planning an ambitious upgrade for its colorful hardware

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer boasted about how his company was going to set a "new standard" for first-party hardware.  That certainly appears to be the case if its rumored Surface tablet hardware upgrade proves true.

According regular Microsoft leaker MS_Nerd, whose Twitter post was picked up by NeoWin, Microsoft is planning to upgrade the Surface family as follows:

Surface RT 2:
+ 8.6-inch display
+ Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) SoC/chipset (likely Snapdragon 5)

Surface Pro
+11.6-inch display
+ Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMDTemash chip (reportedly a 28 nm successor to Hondo)

Surface Book
+14.6-inch display
+Intel Corp. (INTC) 22 nm Haswell chip

Surface RT (gen. 1)

Both Haswell and Temash are slated to launch around mid-2013.  Given that and the fact that the Surface Pro (first-generation) still hasn't launched, it sounds like Microsoft is not planning to roll out this upgrade for at least another year.  However, if it does embrace this ambitious upgrade, it could definitely live up to its lofty self-set goals hardware wise.

Sources: MS Nerd on Twitter, NeoWin

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By MadMan007 on 11/30/2012 8:29:41 PM , Rating: 2
If Temash can keep the same performance as dual core Brazos it will make a nice low-power x86 tablet chip.

RE: Temash
By Alexvrb on 12/2/2012 3:23:38 PM , Rating: 2
It will actually significantly improve performance over Hondo, so yes it might bring it up to the performance level of higher-clocked Brazos chips. For example, a 1.1Ghz Temash matching the speed of a 1.4/1.5Ghz Brazos. It's being built on the 28nm node, while Brazos/Hondo is 40nm. They're improving on their older designs in just about every aspect. For starters, Jaguar will have slightly higher clocks than Bobcat, and higher IPC. It has 4 times the L2 cache, a bunch of new instructions, better power gating, an integrated FCH (better overall power), and improved FPU.

More than likely it will also be updated to VLIW4 graphics. GCN won't come to the low power chips (like Temash and Kabini) yet. The first APUs with GCN will be the higher-performance Trinity replacement Kaveri. But in the generation after that GCN designs should trickle down in a more power-optimized form. However, the shift to VLIW4 will have the same kind of impact on graphics as we saw in the higher-power APUs going from Llano to Trinity.

So if they can meet power targets on their 2-core Temash tablet chip, it will be a vast improvement over the current Hondo-based Z-series chips. In fact, on the graphics side it may actually beat even the fastest Brazos 2.0 chips, despite the GPU clock increases Brazos 2.0 saw (in particular turbo clocks). Let alone slower clocked Hondo graphics.

For larger devices like an Ultrathin, I'd be very curious to see what a low-priced quad-core Kabini can do in comparison to current 17W/25W Trinity models. Not all Kabini chips will be 4 cores, of course. Some will be 2 core like their lower-power tablet Temash brethren.

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