More Details from Lisa Su
The executives at AMD like to break their own NDAs. Then again, they are the ones typically setting these NDA dates, so it isn’t a big deal. It is no secret that Kaveri has been in the pipeline for some time. We knew a lot of the basic details of the product, but there were certainly things that were missing. Lisu Su went up onstage and shared a few new details with us.
Kaveri will be made up of 4 “Steamroller” cores, which are enhanced versions of the previous Bulldozer/Trinity/Vishera families of products. Nearly everything in the processor is doubled. It now has dual decode, more cache, larger TLBs, and a host of other smaller features that all add up to greater single thread performance and better multi-threaded handling and performance. Integer performance will be improved, and the FPU/MMX/SSE unit now features 2 x 128 bit FMAC units which can “fuse” and support AVX 256.
However, there was no mention of the fabled 6 core Kaveri. At this time, it is unlikely that particular product will be launched anytime soon.
Retiring the Workhorses
There is an inevitable shift coming. Honestly, this has been quite obvious for some time, but it has just taken AMD a bit longer to get here than many have expected. Some years back we saw AMD release their new motto, “The Future is Fusion”. While many thought it somewhat interesting and trite, it actually foreshadowed the massive shift from monolithic CPU cores to their APUs. Right now AMD’s APUs are doing “ok” in desktops and are gaining traction in mobile applications. What most people do not realize is that AMD will be going all APU all the time in the very near future.
We can look over the past few years and see that AMD has been headed in this direction for some time, but they simply have not had all the materials in place to make this dramatic shift. To get a better understanding of where AMD is heading, how they plan to address multiple markets, and what kind of pressures they are under, we have to look at the two major non-APU markets that AMD is currently hanging onto by a thread. In some ways, timing has been against AMD, not to mention available process technologies.
Subject: Processors | July 31, 2013 - 12:59 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Kaveri, fm2, carrizo, APU, amd radeon, amd
Rumors recently surfaced via VR-Zone china that AMD’s Kaveri APU successor will be code-named Carrizo, and it will be compatible with the upcoming FM2+ socket and AMD A88X chipset that Kaveri will use.
AMD’s Carrizo APUs will reportedly be available in TDPs up to 65W and will feature Excavator CPU cores along with a next generation Radeon GPU. Much like Kaveri, Carrizo will be fully HSA compliant. The chips will also include support for DDR4.
Carrizo will allegedly begin sampling in August 2014 with mass production starting around December. That means Carrizo will be available for purchase within the first half of 2015.
FM2+ boards like the ASUS A55BM-A/USB3 are rumored to support AMD's Carrizo APUs (the successor to Kaveri).
The rumors also suggest that Carrizo will be joined by a low power “Beema” System on a Chip (SoC) and a BGA-based Nolan APU for embedded systems. Details on these complementary chips are scarce, however. Perhaps most telling is last bit of the article that suggests that AMD will not be releasing a AM3+ Vishera CPU-only processor successor. It seems AMD is going all in as an APU company after all.
I have been looking forward to the launh of AMD's Kaveri since AFDS 2012, and Carrizo appears to be a refinement of that chip. It should be more power efficient and faster thanks to architecture tweaks and process shrinks. I think that AMDs architecture and HSA approach has potential, and I'm excited to see what these upcoming chips can do with regards to performance.
Subject: Motherboards | July 28, 2013 - 04:40 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: hUMA, Kaveri, hsa, fm2, asus, APU, A88X, A55, PCI-E 3.0, mATX
ASUS recently announced two new socket FM2+ motherboards that are compatible with AMD’s upcoming “Kaveri” Accelerated Processing Units (APUs). The new boards are the A88XMA and A55BM-A/USB3 and use the A88X and A55 AMD chipsets respectively. Pricing and availability have not yet been released, but the new boards confirm that users will need new motherboards in order to take advantage of AMD’s next generation APUs (though the new FM2+ boards are backwards compatible with the existing APUs, it will not work the other way around). Both motherboards should be available around the time of the Kaveri processor launch (2H 2013).
The AMD A88XMA FM2+ Motherboard.
Both the ASUS A88XMA and A55BM-A/USB3 motherboards come in the mATX form factor. The boards both have FM2+ processor sockets and expansion slots including a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, one PCI-E 2.0 x1 slot, and one legacy PCI slot. The support for PCI-E 3.0 is new for AMD motherboards, and the extra bandwidth may prove useful for as graphics cards get faster and AMD works on its hUMA and HSA architectures to create a layer of virtual memory that can be simultaneously addressed by CPUs and GPUs. There will still be latency to deal with over the PCI-E bus, but more data can be moved back and forth in the same amount of time.
The two ASUS FM2+ motherboards also share the same rear IO options, which include:
- 2 x PS/2
3 x Video outputs:
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x DVI
- 1 x VGA
- 2 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
- 3 x Analog audio jacks
The RJ45 jacks are backed by a Realtek 8111G Gigabit Ethernet controller and the audio jacks are handled by a Realtek ALC887-VD chipset. Finally, they also have UEFI BIOSes in common, but from there the two boards diverge in hardware capabilities.
The ASUS A88XMA is the higher-end of the two boards, and features a FM2+ socket, four DDR3 DIMM slots, and six SATA 3 6Gbps ports. It utilizes the AMD A88X chipset which is aimed at enthusiast platforms.
ASUS' A55BM-A/USB3 budget motherboard.
On the other hand, the A55BM-A/USB3 motherboard uses the cheaper A55 chipset. That motherboard features an FM2+ socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots, and six right angle SATA 2 3Gpbs ports. The A55Bm-A/USB3 should be significantly cheaper as a result of the A55 chipset and resulting hardware reductions. In most other respects, ASUS has managed to make the two baords remarkably similar, including aesthetics and basic board layout.
According to Bit-Tech, the two boards are are part of a larger family of boards with the new FM2+ sockets. As such, we should see additional ASUS boards that fill in the gaps between the two models closer to AMD's Kaveri launch. As noted above, ASUS has not provided official pricing or release date information yet.
Subject: Processors | June 5, 2013 - 01:25 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: VLIW4, trinity, Richland, piledriver, fm2, APU, amd, a10, 6800K, 6700
Richland is here, in the form of the A10-6800K with a 4.1GHz base clock and 4.4GHz Turbo clock, support for DDR3-2133 and an improved GPU called the 8670D with 384 shaders and a 844MHz clock speed ... all for $142! Computationally you can compare it to a Core i3 or a slower Core i5 but graphically this CPU is head and shoulders above the competition as you can see in X-Bit Labs' testing. You really need to keep the price in mind, as it may not provide as much power as a Core-i5 it costs about half as much which can mean a lot to someone on a tight budget, especially when they can skip purchasing a discrete GPU altogether.
Make sure to check out Josh's reivew where he contrasts the last few generations of AMD chips.
"AMD decided to refresh their Socket FM2 platform and release a new generation of hybrid processors for it based on Richland design. This is exactly the one that earned the “Elite Performance APU Platform” title in the mobile segment."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- AMD Elite A-Series A10-6800K APU (Socket FM2) @ techPowerUp
- AMD A10-6800K & A10-6700 APU Review @ Neoseeker
- AMD A10-6800K and A10-6700 Richland APU Reviews @ Legit Reviews
- AMD A10-6800K & A10-6700 Richland APU Review @ OCC
- AMD A10-6800K / A10-6700 @ Hardware.info
- AMD A10-6800K and 6700 A-Series "Richland" Processor Review @ HiTech Legion
- AMD A10-6800K APU Richland Processor @ Benchmark Reviews
- AMD Richland APU - Release Day Coverage @ Overclockers.com
- AMD Richland Desktop Review; A10-6800K & A10-6700 Benchmarked @ Hardware Canucks
- AMD A10-6800K and A4-4000 Richland APU @ TechSpot
- Intel Core i7-4770K @ Legion Hardware
- Choosing a Gaming CPU at 1440p: Adding in Haswell @ AnandTech
- Intel Core i7-4770K CPU Review. Intel Haswell for Desktops: Ruin of Our Hopes? @ X-bit Labs
Trinity... but Better!
Richland. We have been hearing this name for a solid nine months. Originally Richland was going to be a low end Trinity model that was budget oriented (or at least that was the context we heard it in). Turns out Richland is something quite different, though the product group does extend all the way from the budget products up to mainstream prices. We have seen both AMD and Intel make speed bin updates throughout the years with their products, but that seems like it is becoming a thing of the past. Instead, AMD is refreshing their Trinity product in a pretty significant matter. It is not simply a matter of binning these chips up a notch.
Trinity was released last Fall and it was a solid product in terms of overall performance and capabilities. It was well worth the price that AMD charged, especially when compared to Intel processors that would often be significantly slower in terms of graphics. The “Piledriver” architecture powers both Trinity and Richland, and it is an improved version of the original “Bulldozer” architecture. Piledriver included some small IPC gains, but the biggest advantage given was in terms of power. It is a much more power efficient architecture that can be clocked higher than the original Bulldozer parts. Trinity turned out to be a power sipping part for both mobile and desktop. In ways, it helped to really keep AMD afloat.
It turns out there were still some surprises in store from Trinity, and they have only been exposed by the latest Richland parts. AMD is hoping to keep in front of Intel in terms of graphics performance and compatibility, even in the face of the latest Haswell parts. While AMD has not ported over GCN to the Trinity/Richland lineup, the VLIW4 unit present in the current parts is still very competitive. What is perhaps more important, the software support for both 3D applications and GPGPU is outstanding.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 10, 2013 - 03:53 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: slimhero, hsf, Gelid, fm2, cpu cooler, 1155
Hong Kong-based PC cooling company GELID Solutions launched a new low-profile CPU cooler yesterday called the SlimHero. The new SlimHero cooler joins the existing Silent HSF series, and is a mere 59mm high.
The low profile cooler measures 131 x 123 x 59mm including the fan and weighs 352g. The SlimHero cooler features four copper heatpipes connecting a copper block to a horizontal aluminum fin array. A 120mm fan is then mounted on top of the heatsink to push cool air over the fins and VRM area surrounding the processor. It is rated to cool processors up to 136 TDPs and is compatible with all of Intel and AMD's latest consumer sockets. On the AMD side, the cooler can be mounted in one of four directions on AM2, AM2, AM3, AM3+, FM1, and FM2.Further, it is compatible with Intel's LGA 775, 1156, 1366, and 1155 sockets.
The heatsink comes bundled with a 120mm fan and GC-2 thermal compound. The fan is PWM controlled and can spin at anywhere between 750 and 1600 RPM. GELID rates the 120mm fan at 52.4 CFM and 12-25.4 dBA.
The new cooler is designed to work with small form factor systems without getting in the way of RAM or VRM heat-spreaders. It comes with a 5 year warranty and is available now for an MSRP of $32 USD (25 EUR).
Define an Enthusiast CPU...
FM2 poses an interesting quandary for motherboard manufacturers. AMD provides a very robust and full featured chip for use with their processors (A85X) that would lend itself well to midrange and enthusiast class motherboards. Unfortunately, AMD does not provide a similarly high end CPU as compared to the competition at price ranges that would make sense for a motherboard that would cost between $140 and $250 on the FM2 platform.
So these manufacturers are constrained on price to offer fully featured motherboards that take advantage of all aspects of the A85X FCH (Fusion Controller Hub). Until AMD can deliver a more competitive CPU on the FM2 platform, motherboard manufacturers will be forced to design offerings that can really go no higher than $129 (the current price of the fastest A10 processor from AMD). This is not necessarily a bad thing though, as it has forced these manufacturers to really rethink their designs and to focus their energies on getting the greatest bang-for-the-buck. AMD is selling a decent number of these processors, but the market is constrained as compared to the Intel offerings utilizing the 1155 BGA infrastructure.
Gigabyte has taken this particular bull by the horns and have applied a very unique (so far) technology to the board. This is on top of all the other marketing and engineering terms that we are quite familiar with. The company itself is one of the top three manufacturers of motherboards in the world, and they typically trail Asus in terms of shipments but are still ahead of MSI. As with any motherboard manufacturer, the quality of Gigabyte products has seen peaks and valleys through the years. From what I have seen for the past few years though, Gigabyte is doing very well in terms of overall quality and value.
We are Still Among the Living
The day after the official AMD presentation we were able to sit down with Leslie Sobon for a good hour and really dig into the products we are expecting throughout this next year. AMD did not officially announce any products, but they revealed more details about products on their roadmaps.
To say that AMD is in a somewhat precarious situation is an understatement. This does not necessarily mean that they won’t survive for some years. This was never mentioned to us by AMD, but we can assume that it is not in ATIC’s best interest to let AMD flounder too much. AMD is still GLOBALFOUNDRIES largest customer, and ATIC believes that they can become a fabrication giant in the next few years. So, while AMD is hitting some hard times, they will be around for some time to come in spite of their issues.
Believe it or not, AMD is still a CPU company with some relevant producxts. While Intel has the advantage in x86 performance and process technology, AMD has a distinct advantage in the integrated graphics portion. While Trinity was a big step in the right direction in terms of performance and power consumption, it was not enough to boost their flagging marketshare. Throughout the 2013 they are working on several products that will help to change their fortunes.
The first product that we will likely see is the Jaguar core based Kabini APUs. These are the next generation, low power APUs which will replace the Brazos 2.0 products that we currently are seeing. These quad core and dual core parts are manufactured by TSMC on their 28 nm process. Kabini will be the first APU to include the new GCN architecture that we currently see in the HD 7700 series and above. AMD will be breaking new ground in offering a true quad core part at price points unseen so far.
Subject: Motherboards | January 9, 2013 - 05:21 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: msi, fm2, ces 2013, CES, atx, APU, a85xma-e35
MSI has launched another micro ATX motherboard for AMD APUs using the FM2 socket called the A85XMA-E35. Measuring 24.4 x 22.8 cm, the motherboard packs a number of MSI technologies including the company’s ClickBIOS II UEFI BIOS and OC Genie II auto-overclocking software.
The micro ATX board features the FM2 socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots (16GB max), six SATA 6 Gbps ports, the Realtek ALC887 audio chip, a TPM module, PCI slot, two PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 expansion slot.
Rear IO on the A85XMA-E35 board includes one PS/2 port, six USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, one Gigabit Ethernet port, six analog audio jacks, and VGA, DVI, and HDMI video outputs.
In the end, the A85XMA-E35 board is very similar to the A85XMA-P33 motherboard covered earlier today. MSI has added beefier heatsinks, additional expansion slots, and HDMI output so it should carry a small premium over the other board. MSI has not released official pricing for the board yet, however.
You can find more specifications and photos of the FM2-A85XMA-E35 on company's product page.
Read more about micro ATX motherboards at PC Perspective.
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