AMD goes Pro with TrustZone-enabled APUs

AMD has released a Pro family of APUs and management tools targeted at business environments. These APUs hail from the Godavari and Carrizo families, and come in both mobile and desktop flavors.

According to AMD, its new Pro A12 mobile APU is "the first [HSA-compliant] commercial processor in the industry." It's also the first APU with support for ARM's TrustZone, for system-wide separation of software execution environments. The mobile Pro A12 packs in four CPU cores with a 3.4 GHz Turbo clock, alongside an R7-series GPU with 512 compute units clocked at 800 MHz. The inclusion of an HEVC decoder is also a nice bonus. A similar part exists in the Pro-series desktop APU lineup, with four cores and Turbo speeds of 4.1 GHz.

Along with the hardware, AMD has released its companion Pro Control Center software, which offers centralized system management features like system health monitoring, traffic shaping, and USB port blocking. If this whole thing sounds similar to Intel's vPro, you're probably right. Still, AMD's take has a few unique features.

AMD already has a few partners on board. HP is using Pro APUs in  its "AMD Elite" family of products, and Lenovo is building around these chips with its M79 Tower. More AMD Pro products should be coming soon.

Comments closed
    • maxxcool
    • 4 years ago

    I will STILL only buy Intel SGX enabled CPU’s because I want support and a warranty in 9 months.

    • ronch
    • 4 years ago

    I doubt many people would care. Really, it’s just another bullet point and not many people are asking for it, at least not enough to make a difference for AMD.

    There you go, Nevermind. I’m getting a little tired of commenting on AMD’s missteps though, so I MIGHT lie low for a while. I just wish they’d live long enough to let Zen out so I could at least see what they’ve been keeping themselves busy with while world+dog was wondering what will come (or won’t come) after the Bulldozer line. And hopefully Zen will be compelling enough to choose over Cabbie Lake or Ice Lake for my next CPU upgrade.

      • Nevermind
      • 4 years ago

      Hopefully Zen indeed.

    • Nevermind
    • 4 years ago

    (Also, you + are = you’re.. I know, I know, only in English…)

      • ronch
      • 4 years ago

      Also,

      It’s != its
      Their != they’re
      To != too

      Etc.

        • Nevermind
        • 4 years ago

        I’m just glad we can admit this among ourselves despite our differences.

        That’s reassuring to me.

          • ronch
          • 4 years ago

          I don’t remember taking anything against you.

            • Nevermind
            • 4 years ago

            I’m being totally sarcastic lol. A dig on someone else entirely.

            You’re alright for an intel stormtrooper. A little short..

            • ronch
            • 4 years ago

            I don’t like Intel. I like AMD but they’re being stupid.

            Not an Intel storm trooper. More like a renegade these days.

            • Nevermind
            • 4 years ago

            Well everyone’s stupid in their way, aren’t they?

            • ronch
            • 4 years ago

            AMD Stupid is a different kind of stupid. Particularly their marketing and PR department.

            • Chrispy_
            • 4 years ago

            A good product would more than compensate for utterly inept marketing and PR departments. I think that the madness we see from AMD marketing and PR is simply the inevitable result of having tried everything conventional and failed utterly, leaving only unconventional, irrational nonsense as things to try and stop the ship from sinking.

            It’s management and accountants that are stupid at AMD; We know they have good engineers but with madmen at the helm and zero budget the engineers may as well be monkeys with typewriters for all the good it’ll do them.

            • Mr Bill
            • 4 years ago

            AMD stupid somewhat resembles IBM stupid. Back when OS/2 was failing against Win95 I was thinking to myself “IBM could not market immortal life if it was an operating system”. But Microsoft would release Immortal Life with an indefinite number of purchasable service packs.

    • Laykun
    • 4 years ago

    The only reason AMD isn’t profitable any more is because they’re hell bent on creating new features for the sole purpose of enraging Chuckula. When Silver Lake first approached AMD about a 25% buyout they had no idea that THIS is what they were getting in to.

      • NovusBogus
      • 4 years ago

      I have in my possession secret documents from the Illuminati proving that they not only have a global Chuckula Task Force, but it’s a major part of their operational structure. AMD is just following orders.

    • BIF
    • 4 years ago

    Sounds interesting, but I still think AMD may not be around to celebrate the 2016 Microchip Your Babies Day. Hey, at least there will be free chips!

    • cygnus1
    • 4 years ago

    4 real cores or 2 modules?

      • ronch
      • 4 years ago

      4 REAL cores, unlike Intel’s 2 real cores and 2 virtual cores.

      (I’m being a bit sarcastic with regards to both AMD and how some people understand SMT.)

        • cygnus1
        • 4 years ago

        Yeah, I get the sarcasm, but AMD shouldn’t get to use the term core anymore with the Bulldozer designs. Intel chips tend to get labeled x cores / y threads, AMD hardware should be labeled x modules / y threads.

        For others that don’t know, AMD’s “dual core” modules aren’t 2 real cores, same as an Intel core with hyper threading. Yeah, they can both process 2 threads, but not at 100% performance for both. While the AMD module has enough integer hardware available for two cores the “cores” do not fully duplicate all hardware, specifically FPU hardware is shared between the two threads. That is why I asked if this was 2 modules or 4 real cores. Bruno should know better writing it up like that on this site.

          • ronch
          • 4 years ago

          AMD’s CMT is in a class all its own. It’s fun to think my 8350 is an 8-core CPU but I just take it for what it is and while I tell folks that it is an 8-core, I always insert a disclaimer. The day I own an actual 8-core Intel EP series chip or an 8-core Zen (presumably full cores as churned out by the rumor mill) will be the day I can finally say that I have an 8-core with no need for further explanation.

    • Nevermind
    • 4 years ago

    Partisanship is pointless. The devil is always in the details, not brand marketing..

    • Kurotetsu
    • 4 years ago

    I wonder if Chuckula will ever be mature enough to not troll every single AMD-related article he comes across.

    Nah, I’m just kidding. I know he won’t.

    (AMD shill accusations in 3…2…1….)

      • Nevermind
      • 4 years ago

      Hey, what is Ronch, chopped liver?

        • ronch
        • 4 years ago

        Oh I haven’t begun yet. Just wait.

          • Nevermind
          • 4 years ago

          Fresh broadsides! Bring her around to bear!

      • cavedog
      • 4 years ago

      Please don’t ruin this for me. I come to Tech Report just for this.
      BTW has anyone seen PRIME1?
      I miss him the most.

        • bittermann
        • 4 years ago

        I hope they finally banned his ass for good. This used to be one of my favorite sites to visit and read the article comments until it became crap on everything AMD posting. Why do they let fan boys go full retard before warning them or doing something?

          • puppetworx
          • 4 years ago

          [spoiler<]He donates.[/spoiler<] You have to admit his militancy is bloody impressive. Before the comments section is vacated he'll probably have typed three times the word count of the article complaining about fanboys and have posted about 4 times more comments than the average commenter . The best part: he doesn't see the irony!

            • raddude9
            • 4 years ago

            He doesn’t see the hypocrisy either.

          • Klimax
          • 4 years ago

          If he were to be banned, number of other posters, would be gone first. Fanboys of AMD camp would be first to go… (Usually far worse then Chuckula)

        • cegras
        • 4 years ago

        Silus is another gold mine. RED ROOSTER RED ROOSTER

      • Klimax
      • 4 years ago

      Just because people dislike his posts doesn’t mean he is trolling. And some people should look into mirror first…

      ETA: Or in other way, if that would be used as definition of trolling, then every post is trolling…

        • bittermann
        • 4 years ago

        “Fanboys of AMD camp would be first to go… (Usually far worse then Chuckula)”

        That says it all right there. Please get yourself into the “GTFO” line of fan boys…every one of you from whatever twisted allegiance side whether its green, red or blue need’s to just shut the “F” up already. Is that clear enough? You add nothing but negativity and call it an “opinion”.

          • Klimax
          • 4 years ago

          Nope. AMD fanboys create far more nonsensical noise then most other posters. And it even doesn’t matter what topic is. They often surpass other groups…

          And you might want to take your own advice…

            • bittermann
            • 4 years ago

            My own advice? Just go back and read your post. You have a serious problem. Stop worrying about other fan boys.

            • Chrispy_
            • 4 years ago

            More to the point, everyone needs to stop being a ‘fanboy’.

            No matter how much you love or hate a company, the company doesn’t care; your loyalty will be rewarded with blank indifference. Companies care only about profits and shareholders.

            If your (ir)rational arguments and opinions don’t affect their bottom line, everything you say, think or type is just white noise to them.

    • chuckula
    • 4 years ago

    [quote<] It's also the first APU with support for ARM's TrustZone, for system-wide separation of software execution environments.[/quote<] [quote<]If this whole thing sounds similar to Intel's vPro, you're probably right. [/quote<] I wonder if the same people who scream about the "backdoors" in Intel processors will have the moral fortitude to apply the same standards to AMD that they do to Intel. Nah, I'm just kidding. I know they won't.

      • Nevermind
      • 4 years ago

      Do you think this virtual hypervisor system is exactly the same as the Intel Management Engine in terms of backdoor capabilities?

      Yes or no.

        • chuckula
        • 4 years ago

        Yeah pretty much except that AMD copied the features from ARM. TrustZone is an ARM technology that AMD licensed BTW, it’s not AMD’s own technology.

        There’s a dedicated ARM core in these AMD parts that is only there to perform the out of band “security functions.” It’s completely inaccessible and unauditable by regular system software. It provides out of band management capabilities, which when introduced earlier in Intel parts were referred to as the “NSA backdoors” by the same people falling over themselves to congratulate AMD now.

          • Nevermind
          • 4 years ago

          Any details or acronyms I can google to learn more?

          I didn’t see anything on out of band security functions though I’m sure they exist.
          The question is if they’re remotely exploitable or require machine specific keys.

          ” It provides out of band management capabilities, which when introduced earlier in Intel parts were referred to as the “NSA backdoors” :

          -Not all management capabilities are accessed the same way. Not all capabilities = *.*

            • chuckula
            • 4 years ago

            [url<]http://www.arm.com/products/processors/technologies/trustzone/[/url<] That's the basic marketing drivel. A bunch of the information isn't publicly disseminated This book has more information: [url<]https://books.google.com/books?id=giZIBAAAQBAJ&lpg=PA242&dq=trustzone%20vs.%20Vpro&pg=PA54#v=onepage&q=trustzone%20vs.%20Vpro&f=false[/url<] The main difference is that TrustZone in a native-ARM system is a special operating mode of a regular core since, to be cheap, ARM doesn't want to have to require a special security core on a low-cost SoC. However, in the AMD chips the ARM core is always operating in the "TrustZone" mode so aside from the fact that AMD didn't develop the technology, there's basically no difference between the embedded ARM core and another dedicated security coprocessor.

            • Nevermind
            • 4 years ago

            No idea who is thumbing you down for linking to info… geesh.

          • Nevermind
          • 4 years ago

          Also one MIGHT note, these are “business” processors specifically.

          For what that’s worth. Would I want such capabilities on a home machine?
          No. Would a virtualized software business possibly? Yes maybe.

          With the intel ME, it’s in ALL the consumer and business products, right?
          A minor point.

            • chuckula
            • 4 years ago

            [quote<]With the intel ME, it's in ALL the consumer and business products, right? [/quote<] No. That's flat-out wrong, and frankly I'm getting bored of walking you through this stuff.

            • Nevermind
            • 4 years ago

            Uh, correct me? It’s in all current-gen i-core products unless I’m wrong.

            • srg86
            • 4 years ago

            Yes – The ME is always enabled on all Intel products. It may go by different names, but it’s always there.

            No – The vPro features, which include the side band management stuff is not on all products. On consumery type processors, the ME does a lot less.

            • Nevermind
            • 4 years ago

            Intel AMT (active management) is part of what I was referring to also,
            I’m not sure if that’s been replaced or merged with IME.. or if it’s 100% separate.

            ” Out-of-band system access ”

            “With built-in manageability, Intel AMT allows IT to discover assets even while platforms are powered off.” – it goes on from there.

            “Intel AMT is available in desktop PCs with Intel Core 2 processor with Intel vPro technology and available in laptop PCs with Centrino or Centrino 2 platform”

            Even as far back as the Core2 the AMT was present, whether/not the OS ‘activates’ it.
            That’s my 10 minute understanding anyway. These marketing-speak feature pages are hard to parse after a few lines.

            I was confusing AMT and IME, but they seem to do similar things.

            • Nevermind
            • 4 years ago

            “Intel AMT relies on a hardware-based out-of-band (OOB) communication channel that operates below the OS level, the channel is independent of the state of the OS (present, missing, corrupted, down). The communication channel is also independent of the PC’s power state, the presence of a management agent, and the state of many hardware components (such as hard disk drives and memory).”

            • Nevermind
            • 4 years ago

            Someone tell me I’m not going crazy with tinfoil! 😀

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 4 years ago

            Have you never worked in real IT? Out of band management/IPMI cards are super common and not really something to be scared of unless you’re horrible at network security and updates.

            • ronch
            • 4 years ago

            If these are business chips, they should be branded Business class.
            😀

            • Nevermind
            • 4 years ago

            Business-class backdoors.

            EDIT: Are they not branded business class?

            • ronch
            • 4 years ago

            Pro != Business Class

            And in a business environment, no one should use anything less than AMD Business Class processors. /s

            • Nevermind
            • 4 years ago

            “AMD has released a Pro family of APUs and management tools targeted at business environments”

            That’s where I got that.

      • raddude9
      • 4 years ago

      Nice trolling 🙂
      AMD adds new features and you turn it into a “Bad Thing” while simultaneously questioning the morals of the remaining few AMD fanbois. I’m guessing you’ve done this before.

        • DancinJack
        • 4 years ago

        To be fair, he has a point.

          • Nevermind
          • 4 years ago

          Well it’s kind of a point anyway. The question is, ARE they the same?

          • raddude9
          • 4 years ago

          Which is what exactly?

            • chuckula
            • 4 years ago

            That people like you will twist yourselves into pretzels to justify anything and everything that AMD does while attacking Intel for doing [b<]the same thing.[/b<] In this case the stench of hypocrisy is even stronger since AMD is apparently copying features from Intel parts. One hallmark of a fanboy is that he has a moral system that revolves primarily around figuring out who performed action "X" or who made product "X" before deciding if "X" is bad or good. The actual nature of "X" is completely irrelevant to the outcome. You'll note that at no point have I devolved into the same idiotic conspiracy nut drivel about AMD that the AMD fanboys regularly and un-ironically spew in the opposite direction. I'm just pointing out hypocrisy, I'm not actively engaging in it.

            • Nevermind
            • 4 years ago

            ARE they the same here?

            Let’s drop the fanboy rapiers for a moment, shall we?

            EDIT: There’s really no need to get upset about this, right?

            • chuckula
            • 4 years ago

            [quote<]You have yet to answer though, ARE they the same here?[/quote<] Already answered.

            • Nevermind
            • 4 years ago

            Well you had not when I wrote that.

            I noticed my +2 went to -1 instantly also when you did… hm.

            Edit : I have yet to thumb anyone down on this page.

            • Nevermind
            • 4 years ago

            -3, I guess 3 people want to get upset about this. Shame on me for trying.

            Edit : also shame on me for crying, lol, thumbs.

            FSCHECK the byters.

            • raddude9
            • 4 years ago

            [quote<] like you[/quote<] Like Me! F U. Can you find even one example of such hypocrisy on my part. I don't do that, therefore people like me don't do that either. [quote<]One hallmark of a fanboy is...[/quote<] I notice that your "hallmark" doesn't include you! You post multiple comments on every AMD and Intel article always promoting a pro-intel agenda. [quote<]I'm just pointing out hypocrisy, I'm not actively engaging in it.[/quote<] If you think you're not a fanboi then you are a hypocrite.

        • chuckula
        • 4 years ago

        AMD copies features from Intel parts that you attacked as being OMG NSA CONSPIRACY ILLUMINATI REPTILIANS!

        There’s nothing “new” here.

          • raddude9
          • 4 years ago

          You’re right. Your comments as usual add nothing new.

            • Klimax
            • 4 years ago

            Hypocrisy is bad thing you know…

      • Duct Tape Dude
      • 4 years ago

      You don’t need moral fortitude to see that “Intel” is an anagram for “Let In.”

      Applying similar standards, if you look closely at “AMD”, you’ll notice on a keyboard that M is next to N and D is next to S.
      Substituting yields “ANS”, which is an anagram for [b<]NSA[/b<]. Checkmate, chuckula. /s

        • chuckula
        • 4 years ago

        OMG YOU ARE RIGHT!
        IT’S ALL SO CLEAR TO ME NOW!

        • Nevermind
        • 4 years ago

        Haha, awesome. Got to get up PRETTY EARLY in the morning..

        • BIF
        • 4 years ago

        Artfully done. +3 is all I have to give.

        • geniekid
        • 4 years ago

        Half Life 3 confirmed.

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