AMD’s New Desktop APUs Are Here!

Posted by at 12:05 am on June 5, 2013

Today at Computex Taipei AMD announced it’s new line of APUs aimed at the desktop PC market. These new dual and quad core APU’s, known by the codename Richland, offer up to a 21 per cent graphics performance hike compared to Trinity APU’s according to AMD’s own testing. We will be having a review, including a ground up system build by Laura soon.

APU road map

As in the past AMD uses the A4, A6, A8 and A10 prefixes to market these APUs. All the Richland APUs follow this prefix with a -6 (so you can “easily” see they are not Trinity parts, which follow the prefix with a -5). The CPU and GPUs combos sport Radeon HD8XXX GPU components this time round.

Richland APU Line

AMD Has Rewarded Trinity Owners by Saving Them Money and Time

The new Richland APUs are compatible with AMD’s FM2 socket motherboards, which were used for the Trinity line, and during our call with AMD’s Adam Kozak he indicated that the FM2 socket will be used for new chips coming out in 2014, giving AMD an upgrade path that Intel hasn’t matched. So there is still long life in those A55, A75, and A85X chipset motheboards. New features such as DDR3-2133 support and enhanced Turbo Core clock throttling technology have been added by AMD.

In most cases a bios update is all that is needed to replace your Trinity APU with a a new more powerful Richland APU. This is a much cheaper and more straightforward upgrade path than what is required moving to a Intel Haswell processor (Intel 4th Gen iCore Series). Moving to that that system requires a new motherboard board at the very least and if you want all the new low power states, you may even need to buy a new power supply. In short AMD has rewarded Tritiny APU owners with an upgrade path that saves them a real amount of money and a lot of time upgrading their systems.

Graphics Power

On the GPU front, the Richland APUs are likewise clocked 5-11% higher (the only 11% gap being the A10-6700 vs. the A10-5700; the rest are 5%).

AMD  touts its APUs against Intel’s mainstream i3 and i5 processor. They even bench marked them against Intel integrated graphics, supplemented by an Nvidia GT630 graphics card. The graphic below has the AMD A10-6800K consistently beating an Intel Core i5 4670K (Haswell) with and without support of a dedicated graphics card.  AMD has a great track record when it comes to delivering good GPU power with in the APU, and to be blunt the the Haswell chips might be the first time Intel is really even in the game when comes to GPU on the chip graphics for even the mild gamer.

The tactics used to make the APU is what will be powering the Xbox One and Sony PlayStation Four. That is right AMD is powering those machines.  Consoles have at least a five year, the last gen more like seven year,  useful life.  So they need to have a strong vision and great hardware from the start to let devs make powerful games  for them during their whole product cycle.

AMd Gaming

How We Use Computers Has Changed, So Has How Apps Are Written

Today we use computers differently we just 10 years ago.  We’re using more graphics even if you are not a gamer.  We edit photos, videos, watch movies much more now, even in business.

In the past to make computers faster the designers pushed up the clock speeds of the CPU and/or GPU, then they  started adding more cores AKA more than one CPU in a chip.  We are now moving more in the direction of system on a chip or system on chip (SoC or SOC) is an integrated circuit (IC).  The APU design is about whole system being greater than the sum of the parts inside the APU.
But programmers need to change how they program and use need standards such as OpenCL and Microsoft DirectCompute.

Some people call this GPU computing .  It offers greater application performance by offloading compute-intensive portions of the application to the GPU, while the remainder of the code still runs on the CPU.

AMD saw this shift coming years ago, it was one of the reasons why they bought ATI. They wanted to be marry Radeon GPUS with their X86 CPUs AKA the APUS of today.

Now if this was too much busy for you, here is the user’s take away —  modern applications using this tactics just simply run significantly faster and AMD APUs support these tactics.  Programs such Adobe photoshop CC, Premiere CC, Win Zip, Sony Vegas Pro used.



Is An APU Right for Me?

AMD believes the APU will provide the  great experience for the main stream computer user.  AMD likes to say the “A-Series platform is not a CPU, nor a GPU, it is a complete compute solution”.  By building on the strengths of the ‘Trinity” design, they hope that sweet spot of computer users.  When come to price they seem to have dowe.

The fastest AMD A10-6800K costs $40 less than the least expensive Core i5 Haswell CPU, and in fact it’s still $30-$40 less than Core i5 Ivy Bridge. Intel competes against the A10-6800K with their Core i3 CPUs, which on the desktop remain Ivy Bridge for now.   Plus FM2 mother boards are running much lower in price as well.  In short the APU line is less costly.

Now the new APUs doesn’t take on the iCore 7 line.  We will need to wait to see the new FX line, Aka Steamroller,  which are due out later this year to make that call. Most people are not hardcore gamers, high-end video editors, database gods, etc.   If you fall into that rest of us category, you owe it to yourself to see are upcoming review of the APU and to see if AMD has a product for you.

It the review we will touch on overclocking, AMD Radeon Dual Graphics, Miracast Support (AMD Wireless Display) and all the numbers you can eat.  But we won’t just talk talk about numbers, we will also talk about feeling part of performance.

Plus, Laura is going have a series of build videos for you. She is going to show you why building your own desktop isn’t just for hardcore gamers or just a boys club anymore.


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