AMD CES 2014 Presentation: Kaveri Goes Official

Subject: Processors | January 7, 2014 - 04:52 AM |
Tagged: amd, CES, 2014, Kaveri, A10 7850K, A10 7700K, APU, firepro, hsa

This year’s AMD CES was actually more interesting than I was expecting.  The details of the event were well known, as most Kaveri details have been revealed over the past few months.  I was unsure what Lisa Su and the gang would go over, but it was actually more interesting than I was expecting.

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This past year has been a big one for AMD.  They seem to be doing a lot better than others expected them to, especially with all of the delayed product launches on the CPU side for quite a few years.  This year saw the APU take a pretty prominent place in the industry with the launch of the latest generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft.  AMD made inroads with mobile form factors with a variety of APUs.  The HSA Foundation members have grown and HSA members ship two out of every three connected, smart devices.  Apple also includes Firepro graphics cards with all of their new Mac Pros.

Kaveri is of course the big news here.  AMD feels that this is the best APU yet.  The combination of Steamroller CPU cores, GCN graphics compute cores, HSA, hUMA, HQ, TrueAudio, Mantle support, PCI-E 3.0 support, and a configurable TDP makes for a pretty compelling product.  AMD has shuffled some nomenclature about by saying that Kaveri, at the top end, is comprised of 12 compute cores.  These include 4 Steamroller cores and 8 GCN compute clusters.  Each compute cluster matches the historical definition of a core, but of course it looks quite a bit different than a traditional x86 core.

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We have gone over Kaveri pretty extensively in the past.  The CPU is clocked at 3.7 GHz with a 4 GHz boost.  The graphics portion clocks in at 720 MHz.  It can support up to DDR-3 2400 MHz memory, which is really needed to extract as much performance out of this new APU.  Benchmarks provided by AMD show this product to be a big jump from the previous Richland, and in these particular benchmarks are quite a bit faster than the competing i5 4670K.

Gaming performance is also improved.  This APU can run most current applications at 1080P resolutions with low to medium quality settings.  Older titles can be run at 1080P with Medium to High/Extreme settings.  While this processor is rated at around 867 GFLOPS, which is around 110 GFLOPS greater than the previous top end Richland, it is more efficient at delivering that theoretical performance.  It looks to be a significant improvement all around.

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Software support is improving with applications from companies like Adobe, The Document Foundation, and Nuance.  These cover HSA applications and in Nuance’s case, using the TrueAudio portion to clean up and accelerate voice recognition.  TrueAudio is also being supported in five upcoming games.  This is not a huge amount, but it is a decent start for this new technology.

Mantle is gaining a lot more momentum with support from 3 engines, 5 developers, and 20+ games in development.  They showed off Battlefied 4 running Mantle on a Kaveri APU for the first time publicly.  They mentioned that it ran 45% faster than Direct3D at the same quality levels on the same hardware.  The display showed frame rates up in the low 50 fps area.

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AMD is continuing to move forward on their low power offerings based on Beema and Mullins.  Lisa claims that these parts are outperforming the Intel Baytrail offerings in both CPU performance and graphics.  Unfortunately, she mentioned noting about the power consumption associated with these results.  They showed off the Discovery tablet as well as a fully functional PC that was the size of a large cellphone.

They closed up the even by talking about the Surround House 2.  This demo looks significantly better than the previous iteration we saw last year.  This features something like a 34.2 speaker setup in a projected dome.  It is much more complex than the House from last year, but the hardware running it all is rather common.  A single high end Firepro card running on a single A10 7850K.  The demo is also one of the first shows of a 360 degree gesture recognition setup.

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AMD has come a long way since hitting rock bottom a few years back.  They continue to claw their way back to relevance, and they hope that Kaveri will help them regain a foothold in the computing market.  They are certainly doing well in the graphics market, but the introduction of Kaveri should help them gain more momentum in the CPU/APU market.  We have yet to test Kaveri on our own, but initial results look promising.  It is a better APU, but we just don’t know how much better so far.

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Source: AMD

January 7, 2014 | 09:45 AM - Posted by Anon (not verified)

Since DDR3 is such a bottleneck for APU's, why not use GDDR5 along the APU inside the packaging ? There are talks about stacking DRAM dies on top of the other, why not on top of the APU ? Only 8 GCN clusters is quite weak to game at 1080p.
We could imagine a product with 2 Steamroller modules (4 x86 cores) and 18 GCN clusters paired with 2GB of GDDR5. The system DDR3 would be used as typical system memory while HSA-enabled tasks could leverage the CPU+GPU architecture and the faster GDDR5 memory.

January 7, 2014 | 10:56 AM - Posted by JohnGR (not verified)

The chip would be extremely big and expensive.

January 7, 2014 | 01:25 PM - Posted by Anon (not verified)

A 290X features 44 CU's and 6+ billion transistors at 28nm so I think this would be doable. 20nm is coming too

January 7, 2014 | 05:17 PM - Posted by biohazard918

It would draw to much power most CPU's are under 130 watts plus it would be VERY nich a discrete gpu makes much more sense at that point. Plus stacking ram on top of the apu? are you nuts that would place it between the chip and the cooling and something with that kind of hardware is going to be using 200 plus watts. More importantly who would buy it I don't want to have to replace my cpu to upgrade my gpu.

Edit: Kaveri also features an improved memory controller design so it should be able to get better performance out of the same ddr3 then richland plus what ever comes after Kaveri will likely use ddr4.

January 7, 2014 | 07:24 PM - Posted by joshontech

I love this idea of the APU's getting more and more powerful but I am really missing the steamroller FX CPU right now. I currently have a FX 8150 and was so bummed out that AMD had no plans to continue or make a new line of high end CPU's. I am hoping by some chance of luck this new A-10 7850k will blow the 8150 out of the water for CPU power but we all know that is not gonna happen. I mean the 7850k might be slightly more powerful than the 8150 but not worth an upgrade. I am just trying not to abandon AMD altogether right now because I have always liked them and want to support their efforts.

January 10, 2014 | 08:59 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

There was just not enough money for them to be made in the high end CPU area. Not profitable enough.

January 14, 2014 | 05:31 AM - Posted by beyondlogic (not verified)

Theres always piledriver fx 6300 which preforms better then the fx 8150 and uses overall less power

I dont think we will see anything new this year in 2014-2015 from what i did see though we may see more piledrivers tweaked with less wattage etc overall a revision of piledriver to tighten it up a bit better

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