AMD Announces Carrizo and Carrizo-L SOCs

Subject: Processors | November 20, 2014 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: amd, APU, carrizo, Carrizo-L, Kaveri, Excavator, Steamroller, SoC, Intel, mobile

AMD has certainly gone about doing things in a slightly different manner than we are used to.  Today they announced their two latest APUs which will begin shipping in the first half of 2015.  These APUs are running at AMD and are being validated as we speak.  AMD did not release many details on these products, but what we do know is pretty interesting.

Carrizo is based on the latest iteration of AMD’s CPU technology.  Excavator is the codename for these latest CPU cores, and they promise to be smaller and more efficient than the previous Steamroller core which powers the latest Kaveri based APUs.  Carrizo-L is the lower power variant which will be based on the Puma+ core.  The current Beema APU is based on the Puma architecture.

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Roadmaps show that the Carrizo APUs will be 28 nm products, presumably fabricated by GLOBALFOUNDRIES.  Many were hoping that AMD would make the jump to 20 nm with this generation of products, but that does not seem to be the case.  This is not surprising due to the limitations of that particular process when dealing with large designs that require a lot of current.  AMD will likely be pushing for 16 nm FinFET for the generation of products after Carrizo.

The big Carrizo supposedly has a next generation GCN unit.  My guess here is that it will use the same design as we saw with the R9 285.  That particular product is a next generation unit that has improved efficiency.  AMD did not release how many GCN cores will be present in Carizzo, but it will be very similar to what we see now with Kaveri.  Carrizo-L will use the same GCN units as the previous generation Beema based products.

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I believe AMD has spent a lot more time hand tuning Excavator instead of relying on a lot of automated place and route.  This should allow them to retain much of the performance of the part, all the while cutting down on transistor count dramatically.  Some rumors that I have seen point to each Excavator module being 40% smaller than Steamroller.  I am not entirely sure they have achieved that type of improvement, but more hand layout does typically mean greater efficiency and less waste.  The downside to hand layout is that it is extremely time and manpower intensive.  Intel can afford this type of design while AMD has to rely more on automated place and route.

Carrizo will be the first HSA 1.0 compliant SOC.  It is in fact an SOC as it integrates the southbridge functions that previously had been handled by external chips like the A88X that supports the current Kaveri desktop APUs.  Carrizo and Carrizo-L will also share the same infrastructure.  This means that motherboards that these APUs will be soldered onto are interchangeable.  One motherboard from the partner OEMs will be able to address multiple markets that will see products range from 4 watts TDP up to 35 watts.

Finally, both APUs feature the security processor that allows them access to the ARM TrustZone technology.  This is a very small ARM processor that handles the secure boot partition and handles the security requests.  This puts AMD on par with Intel and their secure computing solution (vPro).

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These products will be aimed only at the mobile market.  So far AMD has not announced Carrizo for the desktop market, but when they do I would imagine that they will hit a max TDP of around 65 watts.  AMD claims that Carrizo is one of the biggest jumps for them in terms of power efficiency.  A lot of different pieces of technology have all come together with this product to make them more competitive with Intel and their process advantage.  Time will tell if this is the case, but for now AMD is staying relevant and pushing their product releases so that they are more consistently ontime.

Source: AMD

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November 20, 2014 | 05:30 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

So we don't get a new manufacturing process and we don't get HBM?
Hearing from AMD is just sad now. They look more and more as this husk of a company being kept around just so that Intel couldn't be declared a monopoly.

November 20, 2014 | 06:01 PM - Posted by Edmond (not verified)

Go fuck yourself :)

November 20, 2014 | 06:24 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It's not like I hate them, I want competition and options for the consumer.
But AMD needed Excavator on the market a year ago, not a few months from now.

December 17, 2014 | 12:34 PM - Posted by Anonymous "retail clerk" (not verified)

Usual competition rhehtoric so your war mongering sintel chips could go down I see.


Hey jethy hows the wifey doing?

November 20, 2014 | 08:05 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Yeah, it is hard to see how they are going to be able to turn things around. They have a relatively small amount to invest in R & D, and R & D is needed to become or stay competitive in all the markets in which they compete: discrete gpu's, apu's, very low power mobile for phones, server chips, for instance.

I am kind of hoping they ditch the whole x86 and ARM thing and focus completely on discrete graphics. Basically, I am suggesting they get rid of everything other than the business they acquired from ATI. Then they could put all their resources into discrete graphics and have a shot at being competitive with at least NVIDIA. Forget about competing with Intel in the x86 market and qualcom in the smartphone market. They just do not have the resources to do either. Maybe they could even get free sync out before March.

November 21, 2014 | 02:52 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I was under the impression that they're only making ARM chips for servers, not to compete with Qualcom in smartphones.

November 21, 2014 | 10:19 AM - Posted by JohnB (not verified)

APUs are the future. You are to high end gaming biased.

Discreet graphics and cpus will be very uncommon in 10 years.

November 21, 2014 | 11:55 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

When it's used to mean 'standalone', it's spelled 'discrete', Mr Byrne.

November 25, 2014 | 02:48 PM - Posted by Roy (not verified)

Perhaps he means that CPUs will be replaced by APUs (for the light lifting) and user's will have indiscreet (or ostentatious) Graphics Cards that have up to 4 GPUs each, to do the heavy lifting.

If that is what he means then I suspect he is correct.

If he expects SuperComputers to run on APUs or for younger User's to settle for sluggish performance while playing a Video Game he was not born long ago.

November 21, 2014 | 12:38 PM - Posted by Edmond (not verified)

Once they make a processor with integrated graphics as fast as a radeon 260 or geforce 750 of the latest generation its CURTAINS for the discrete gpu market! ^^

or it will slash it in half at least...i cant wait !

November 22, 2014 | 01:20 PM - Posted by JohnGR

HBM was too good to be true, or just too early.
Color compression on the other hand, will help.

November 21, 2014 | 12:39 PM - Posted by Prodeous II (not verified)

I have to say, initially the 40% reduction in size for the module is imprssive. Wonder if they skimped on L1/L2 caches to reduce size.

Still at 40% reduction per module, hey can make a 10thread for same die size.

I just hope they also brought some performance improvements and more importantly, they will release the darn thing for AM3+ (a farewell to the platform).

If they stuck with hand layout indeed, then it brings back the good old design thinking for which AMD was actaully good at.

Still all they provided is text without any proof, so time will tell if it is another flop or not.

November 22, 2014 | 08:34 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I just wish that AMD would release a new fx line of processors instead of focusing solely on apus.

November 25, 2014 | 04:07 PM - Posted by Roy (not verified)

New Processors with the "FX" Brand are APUs. Example:

"AMD FX-7500 APU with Radeon™ R7 graphics and 10 compute cores (4 CPU + 6 GPU)".

The (formerly OEM) "FX 9590" (5 GHz Turbo) CPU has been given a huge price reduction and is available for Consumers with Water Cooling for less than a third it's former price.

Source 1:

Source 2:

So the choice for "FX", is "what you mean, but not a new Chip, an old one for a far lower price" OR "not what you mean", an APU which is Branded with "FX" to show it is in the NEW Lineup of the most powerful APUs.

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