AMD's new A-series processors; why didn't they tell anyone?

Subject: General Tech | December 21, 2011 - 03:39 PM |
Tagged: llano, APU, amd, a-series

From DigiTimes we have some news that AMD has been keeping a very tight lid on for some reason.   The secret was not a brand new product line or surprising advance that won't see the light of day for a long time to come, instead it was the arrival of updated A-series APUs to the market.  With absolutely no press build up or even a review of these processors in sight it came as a bit of a surprise, albeit a good one.  We have a pair of new A-8 and A-6 processors and a single A-4 on the desktop side, with an addional "K" in the name of two.  That "K", which you will remember from Intel processors, does indeed seem to replace the Black Edition name AMD previously used to identify unlocked processors.  For the notebooks are a few more chips, two of each of the A-8 and A-6, three A-4 processors and an E2 as well.  The naming scheme here is concerned with the TDP of the chip, an M part is 35W and the MX is 45W.  

Perhaps AMD let a few too many of their marketers go as they are not only not telling anyone about their new parts they had to borrow a naming scheme from the competition.  Catch all of DigiTimes coverage here.

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"AMD has updated its A-series lineup of desktop and notebook accelerated processing units (APUs), further improving its family of dual- and quad-core APUs. Along with speed and performance improvements, AMD Steady Video update make this unique feature more compelling. For desktop users, AMD extends its overclocking pedigree to the APU; for the first time users can tune both x86 and graphics settings in a single processor for boosted performance.

The updated AMD A-series APUs combine up to four x86 CPU cores with up to 400 Radeon cores, delivering powerful DirectX 11-capable, discrete-level graphics and dedicated HD video processing on a single chip. These new APUs increase performance and deliver a richer feature set than existing AMD A-series APUs. Plus, only AMD APUs offer AMD Dual Graphics for an up to 144% visual performance boost when a select APU is paired with a select AMD Radeon HD 6500 Series graphics card.

The AMD A-series family of APUs also features AMD Steady Video, designed to stabilize videos during playback. On select systems using AMD A-series APUs, Internet Explorer 9 will include an AMD Steady Video plugin, unlocking one-click control to simplify access to the premium AMD Steady Video feature for video stabilization.

All AMD A-series processors are powered by AMD VISION Engine Software, a suite of software that provides end-users with regular updates designed to improve system performance and stability, and can add new software enhancements."

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Source: DigiTimes
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Speed Bumps and Unlocked Processors

AMD has announced the latest members of their fairly successful APU series for both the desktop and the mobile markets.  The original release in June of this year saw the first fully integrated 32 nm APUs from AMD.  These proved to be quite popular with their decent CPU performance and outstanding integrated graphics speed and quality.  The launch was not entirely smooth for AMD though, even though the company had been shipping products to partners and OEMs for some months.

The desktop saw limited SKUs, and the availability of the top end parts was disappointing to say the least.  AMD and their partners at GLOBALFOUNDRIES were not able to produce enough usable chips to supply demand.  Quantities were tight throughout the summer, and the mobile market did not see as big of a boost for AMD as was hoped.  AMD did get a lot of new business though, as the thermal and power envelopes of these A-series chips were able to match that of Intel.

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Continue reading our analysis of the new AMD APU releases, both notebook and desktop!

Video Perspective: AMD A-series APU Overclocking and Gaming Performance

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Processors | July 6, 2011 - 08:15 PM |
Tagged: amd, llano, APU, a-series, a8, a8-3850, overclocking

We have spent quite a bit of time with AMD's latest processor, the A-series of APUs previously known as Llano, but something we didn't cover in the initial review was how overclocking the A8-3850 APU affected gaming performance for the budget-minded gamer.  Wonder no more!

In this short video we took the A8-3850 and pushed the base clock frequency from 100 MHz to 133 MHz and overclocked the CPU clock rate from 2.9 GHz to 3.6 GHz while also pushing the GPU frequency from 600 MHz up to 798 MHz.  All of the clock rates (including CPU, GPU, memory and north bridge) are based on that base frequency so overclocking on the AMD A-series can be pretty simple provided the motherboard vendors provide the multiplier options to go with it.  We tested a system based on a Gigabyte and an ASRock motherboard both with very good results to say the least.  

We tested 3DMark11, Bad Company 2, Lost Planet 2, Left 4 Dead 2 and Dirt 3 to give us a quick overall view of performance increases.  We ran the games at 1680x1050 resolutions and "Medium"-ish quality settings to find a base frame rate on the APU of about 30 FPS.  Then we applied our overclocked settings to see what gains we got.  Honestly, I was surprised by the results.

While overclocking a Llano-based gaming rig won't make it compete against $200 graphics cards, getting a nice 30% boost in performance for a budget minded gamer is basically a no-brainer if you are any kind of self respecting PC enthusiast. 

Source: AMD