AMD has been putting the word out that it recently slashed prices for select A-Series desktop Accelerated Processor Units (APUs). Some of them are fairly significant reductions in price, and they're not just for Kaveri-based APUs, either -- they also include savings for a few Richland and Trinity chips. While Intel's Haswell architecture might have the upper hand in performance, the price cuts combined with superior integrated graphics help AMD stay in the game. Let's have a look.
AMD’s “Dual Graphics” aka Hybrid CrossFire lets you pair an APU with a GPU for improved performance, so we took it for a spin with a Kaveri APU and a budget GPU
We’ve already written quite a bit about AMD’s third-generation APU family, known as Kaveri. It’s a CPU with an integrated GPU, just like with Intel’s Core i7 parts that contain HD Graphics. The difference is that in the past, AMD paired a relatively weak GPU with the CPU, for predictably lame results. This time around, however, AMD has stepped it up a notch, and put the GPU on equal footing with the CPU, sticking an R7-series GPU inside the package, which is a bit more powerful than anything Intel has to on tap these days (on the GPU side, that is). Also, since AMD makes both CPUs and GPUs, it can one-up Intel by letting both pieces of silicon work together in a partnership dubbed Dual Graphics, which used to be known as Hybrid CrossFire. It’s a dual-GPU setup combining integrated and discrete graphics, and it could be a good way to give your integrated graphics a healthy boost, or it could be a total waste of money. This month, we decided to build a budget-oriented gaming machine to find out for ourselves what Dual Graphics is all about, and to see whether it’s actually useful, or just marketing BS.
Note: This article was originally featured in the June 2014 issue of the magazine.
We're always hearing about Intel and Microsoft working with system vendors to promote cheaper systems, but what about AMD? Well, if the chatty heads entrenched in the upstream supply chain know what they're talking about, then AMD and Asus are fast becoming BFFs in the desktop space. AMD is even said to be using the name "Zen" for its next-generation desktop APU platform.
We now have our answer to a Twitter picture teasing a new AMD A-Series APU launch that made the rounds last week. The picture showed a dozen robots on the side of a semi-truck, leading to speculation that AMD might release a 12-core APU. In a sense, that's what AMD launched today, though not in the way you might think. AMD's updated Kaveri parts released today include the A10-7800 and A6-7600 APUs, the former with 12 Compute Cores (4 CPU and 8 GPU) and the latter with 10 Compute Cores (4 CPU and 6 GPU).
Things have been almost sepulchrally quiet ever since AMD officially launched its new Mullins APU nearly three months ago, with no sign of actual devices. Well, the wait is now over as a Mullins-powered device from a top vendor has finally hit the market.
A picture making the rounds on Twitter and elsewhere has AMD fans crossing their fingers that it means what it looks like it means. And just what would that be? A 12-core chip! Bear in mind that nothing has been confirmed, and furthermore, there are some alternate explanations as to what the picture actually depicts. Disclaimer aside, the image appears to hint that a 12-core AMD A-Series APU is around the corner.
Sees Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) improvements as key to achieving target “25x20”
Advanced Micro Devices earlier this year got slapped with a shareholder class action lawsuit for allegedly overstating the sales prospects of its first generation Llano APUs (Accelerated Processing Units) — chips that house the GPU and CPU on the same die —between October 27, 2011 and October 18, 2012. However, the company, which is confident that it did not commit any violations of Federal Securities Laws in making those statements, does not plan to abandon the practice of making positive statements about the future of its APUs anytime soon. The company is now saying its APUs could end up becoming 25x more power efficient than they currently are by 2020.
Future APUs will feature a "dramatic" improvement in energy efficiency
According to AMD, there are 3 billion PCs and 30 million computer servers that use more than 2.5 percent of all energy consumed. With that in mind, AMD today went public with a goal to deliver a 25x improvement in the energy efficiency of its Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) by 2020. If AMD is able to reach its goal, it would represent a significant improvement over the 10x gain in energy efficiency it achieved during the past 6 years.
Today's a big day for AMD, and perhaps the start of a new era. That's because AMD just introduced the world to its new 2014 lineup of performance mobile APUs, codenamed Kaveri, which will slip into power efficient laptops and high-end notebooks. The new mobile APUs also represent the debut of AMD's Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) features and Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture for mobile devices.