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AMD's 35W Elite Performance 'Richland' APU Introduced

AMD's 35W Elite Performance 'Richland' APU Introduced - PCSTATS
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Abstract: The four mobile APUs we'll be introducing you to in this article represent the 35W mobile 'Richland' platform as it stands now. Throughout the rest of 2013, AMD has revealed it will release more power efficient 25W TDP and 17W TDP notebook processors.
Filed under: CPU / Processors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: AMD Mar 12 2013   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > CPU / Processors > AMD A-series APU

AMD's 'Richland' platform is a largely incremental upgrade to the companies mobile APU processing platform; a moderate boost to CPU clock speeds and a collection of small power saving refinements built on existing architecture. On a less important level to the consumer, this launch also marks yet another change in AMDs marketing strategy. The 'AMD Vision' branding has been officially retired in favour of a more direct and meaningful approach. With the 35W mobile Richland APUs, AMD will begin rolling out the "Elite Performance APU Platform" and re-emphasizing "brand AMD."

The four mobile APUs we'll be introducing in this article represent the 35W mobile 'Richland' platform as it stands now. Throughout the rest of 2013, AMD has revealed it will release more power efficient 25W TDP and 17W TDP notebook processors as well. Coupled with Radeon HD 8000-series graphics cores, these A-series mobile APUs should serve as good insight into AMD's anticipated refresh of the desktop APU family, too.

Architecturally speaking, 'Richland' is not much of a departure from what we witnessed with mobile 'Trinity'. AMD has improved Turbo Core by refining on-die temperature sensing; enabling bi-directional frequency scaling of the GPU and CPU which share the same physical silicon core and squeezing out what efficiencies it can. Aside from that, there's not much architecturally different going on.

In light of the pressure from always-on tablet devices, the company is putting emphasis on AMD 'Start Now' - a catch all name for wake times that are being whittled down to ~1 second from S3/S4 hibernation states. Memory support is not a whole lot different, though the flagship A10-5750M APU now supports faster DDR3-1866 memory. New software features leverage the Radeon HD 8000-series shader cores to provide first generation facial recognition and gestural control.

The four new mobile A-series APUs include the quad-core 3.5GHz A10-5750M and 3.1GHz A8-5550M, dual-core 3.5GHz A6-5350M and 3.3GHz A4-5150M processor. Let's begin with a look a the spec chart:

AMD 'Richland' Mobile Platform APUs - 1H 2013 Release

These mobile APU processors are being introduced in April 2013 and span elite, mainstream and entry level performance levels. Each APU will have a TDP of 35W. At a later date AMD have stated they will introduce low voltage 25W TDP and ultra low voltage 17W TDP chips, most likely by the end of the first half of 2013.

The four APUs in the above chart can roughly be grouped into two segments, the A4/A6 5-series APUs which are dual core and feature 1MB of L2 cache and the A8/A10 5-series APUs which feature 4MB of L2 cache and quad-cores. Processor clock speeds range from 3.1GHz to 3.5GHz in turbo mode, with base frequencies between 2.1GHz and 2.9GHz, depending on model.

The flagship AMD A10-5750M APU now supports DDR3-1866 memory. All four APUs feature a re-spun Radeon IGP-core which really isn't any different than what was integrated on previous APUs, just clocked faster and given a Radeon HD 8xxx series model number. The IGP's range from 128-shaders at the low end to 384-shaders at the top.

AMD 'Richland' Mobile Platform IGPs - 1H 2013 Release

The integrated Radeon graphics cores being paired with the above APUs are essentially a faster clocked version of the same GPU integrated onto AMD 'Piledriver' chips. Code named 'Northern Island', the HD 8-series GPUs in the 'Richland' platform are essentially respun, clocked faster and renamed. The new 'Steamroller' APU+GPU is not expected to be introduced until Q3'13.

The top-end GPU bundled with the AMD A10-5750M APU is the Radeon HD 8650G - this graphics core has 384-shaders and operates at a peak clock speed of 720MHz, the lower state frequency being 533MHz. In its briefing with PCSTATS, AMD claimed the Radeon HD 8650G IGP, which is part of the AMD A10-5750M APU, offers better performance and value than the Intel IGP of the Core i7-3520M CPU.

New Software Feature Set Launched with the AMD 'Richland' Platform

Of the six software features incorporated with the AMD 'Richland' APU platform, three are brand new - AMD Gesture Control, AMD Face Login and AMD Screen Mirror.

AMD Gesture Control is a software tool which allows a regular 720p notebook web camera to monitor a users hand gestures and translate that movement into actionable control commands in the computer - say, for scrolling through a web page or navigating previous pages of a web site. AMD is partnering with the independent software vendor I-Sight to provide the 'AMD Gesture Control' software application. Gestural Control is in the first stage of implementation, meaning this is an existing application which works with standard out of the box 2D web cameras (ie. no depth perception) and nothing at all like the infrared technology behind the Microsoft Kinect, for example.

Similarly, AMD Face Login leverages the web camera and existing facial recognition software to augment the Windows login or supplement passwords to web sites. Sounds pretty cool, but PCSTATS has yet to test this application so there's still the question of how easy software face recognition is to fool with a photo.

AMD Screen Mirror is essentially a DNLA service which quickly and easily duplicates your notebook screen on a DNLA-enabled device like a boardroom HDTV. It transmits a low latency stream of your PC monitor to any DNLA receivers (Digital Media Renderer with H.264/AAC required) on a home network. It is not to be confused with the "Mirror Cast" WiFi display standard, nor can it be used to extend the desktop onto a DNLA device - it's only good for mirroring the display.

Lastly, there is AMD Start Now. Start Now aims to provide a 1 second resume from S3/S4 hibernation state (speed is influenced by use of notebook HDD or SSD). With the broad adoption of tablet computers, there is more pressure on notebooks to achieve a similar level of 'responsiveness', according to AMD.

Next up, a quick look at the power management efficiencies AMD was able to garner via its effort to optimize existing architectures.

© 2014 PCSTATS.com Next Page >

 

Contents of Article: AMD A-series APU
 Pg 1.  — AMD's 35W Elite Performance 'Richland' APU Introduced
 Pg 2.  Power Management Improved
 Pg 3.  Brand: AMD

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