One part Piledriver and one part Radeon HD 8000 Series graphics.
System builders have no shortage of new processors to choose from this week. Counter-punching the launch of Haswell, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) on Wednesday rolled out the red carpet for its 2013 Elite A-Series of Accelerated Processing Units (APUs), otherwise known as "Richland," which supposedly offer discrete-level graphics and an easy upgrade infrastructure.
Do you hear that noise? If it sounds like a "Tock!," that's because Intel's 22nm Haswell refresh is here, though calling it a refresh may not do justice to the new microarchitecture. Haswell is a Tock in Intel's "Tick-Tock" cycle, meaning it's a major new microarchitecture that will set the foundation for new and upcoming desktop processors. Several Haswell chips are now available to order, including the high end Core i7 4770K part, which you can snag for just $280 if you happen to live near a Micro Center.
AMD sticks its hands in the next generation console cookie jar.
Make no mistake, AMD is a survivor. Save for the short-lived glory days of the Athlon 64, it seems AMD has always been a step or three behind Intel in performance, and there haven't been many quarterly financial reports to get excited about. Yet AMD keeps grinding, finding ways to survive in a cutthroat industry in part by branching out into side markets, like graphics and consoles. In terms of the latter, AMD's multi-year deal with Microsoft to supply APUs for the upcoming Xbox One console is believed to be in the neighborhood of $3 billion.
The rapid shift to mobile seems to have caught x86 chip makers off guard, but on the bright side for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), this tectonic shift in technology represents a new opportunity to perhaps do things differently than before. Maybe the outcome will be different, maybe not, but either way, we have an early look at AMD's agenda for the changing market place, and it starts with "Temash."
When's the last time you saw a tablet or smartphone overclocked to 5GHz and beyond? The answer is "never" and it probably won't happen for a long, long time yet. On the desktop, well, that's an entirely different story. Not only are high overclocks common, but early looks at overclocking results on Intel's Haswell parts would indicate that the fun is just beginning, and you don't even need exotic cooling to participate.
Small form factor (SFF) computing meets up with Ivy Bridge.
When you stop and think about it, the amount of power in some of today's mini PC systems is pretty amazing. Enter Zotac, a company that lives and breathes small form factor (SFF) systems under its Zbox line, which today it infused with an Intel Core i5 3470T processor. It's a respectable desktop part built around Intel's Ivy Bridge architecture with two processing cores clocked at 2.9GHz (3.6GHz via Turbo), 3MB of cache, and a rated max TDP of 35W -- plenty powerful enough for general purpose computing.
Atom parts have long been the butt of our jokes for being the anti-performance parts that inspired the Netbook but anyone who ever tried to drive a Netbook for anything beyond browsing knows how much Atom’s sucked in performance. A dual-core, Hyper-Threaded 1.6Ghz Atom N2600 gives up a Cinebench 11.5 score of 0.47. That’s just barely faster than a single-core Athlon 64 3200’s score of 0.42. For reference, a Core i7-2600K gives up about 8.1 and a 3.2GHz Core 2 Duo E8200 gives you about 1.91. The actual performance isn’t known, but the new “Silvermont” version of Atom should offer far more performance than we've ever seen before.
Click the "Read More" button for nine other things you need to know about Intel's new Atom CPU.
Silvermont is significantly different from Atom architectures that have preceded it.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Silvermont, the codename for the next generation of Intel's Atom line and the first in a family of yearly refreshes. Oh, and forget any preconceived notions you have about Atom, Silvermont is far different from the architecture found in your first or second generation notebook. It's a brand new design using Intel's 22nm 3D Tri-Gate SoC (System-on-Chip), which Intel claims will deliver "significant increases in performance and energy efficiency."
AMD recently launched a pair of FX-Series Piledriver processors, FX-4350 and FX-6350, and hot on heels of those new chips is a round of price cuts to some older parts. The Sunnyvale chip designer slashed the price of 10 chips in all, most of which received a double-digit percentage discount. In fact, the smallest price cut was 9.5 percent, and the two others that technically don't qualify as double digits were both dropped by 9.9 percent.