Presentation of mobile APUs of AMD Kaveri lineup: performance and computing power in a single case
Everyone has our own regarding the optimal laptop. Some of us firstly evaluate the design. Others prefer productive hardware configuration, and the third care about off-line operation. Of course the final cost of the device, the manufacturer and brand, and a number of additional features are important.
Thus, in different sequences but each of these components are important when choosing a particular model of laptop. Moreover, the main of them depend on the used platform and processor. Judge for yourself, the CPU give the tone to processing power and energy efficiency of the entire system. A TDP index affects the cooling system design, which is also one of the determining factors for the thickness of the shell and its design. And of course the price of the processor in many cases determines the cost and positioning of the laptop.
That is why the presentation of mobile APUs of AMD Kaveri lineup is a very interesting and informative as these new items in the near future will determine the size and capabilities of the new generation of notebooks. This year AMD has a good chance to press Intel company in mobile computing market. This is accompanied by both internal and external factors. The first include the issue of new APU generation. Among the external factors, we note the temporary absence on the market of 14 nm mobile processors Intel Broadwell allowing AMD Kaveri series to compete with Intel Haswell and Haswell Refresh.
Also, note that the concept of APU has a very good chance in the segment of mobile systems. After all, its main advantage is effective graphics core. Will mobile solutions AMD Kaveri live up to their expectations?
Traditionally in the beginning we were expecting a little history of hybrid processors from AMD. Let us briefly recall that the first line of the productive mobile solutions with codenamed AMD Llano appeared in 2011. It had brought a high level of computing power of the graphics subsystem. After it there were devices of AMD Trinity and AMD Richland, which strengthened leadership among mobile processor segment. And now it is time for AMD Kaveri - the first generation of APUs with HSA-function support (we are talking about the technologies AMD hUMA and AMD hQ).
What does AMD offer in a new generation of their processors? Neither more nor less, the transition to 28nm microarchitecture AMD Steamroller for processor cores and AMD GCN for the graphic part. Should here is a support of HSA-functions, memory controller DDR3-2133 MHz, API AMD Mantle and DirectX 11.2, AMD TrueAudio technology and interface PCI Express 3.0. That is, the configuration of mobile APUs of AMD Kaveri is comparable with desktop analogues. It is not surprising that the concept of cores is fully applicable to them. By the way, the maximum number is 12.
If you didn’t use the structure APU AMD Kaveri we briefly recall that they have maximum 4 processors and 8 graphics cores. First sre built using the structure of 2-core modules based on 28nm microarchitecture AMD Steamroller, which provides increase executed instructions rate per cycle (IPC) on 20% compared to the previous microarchitecture (AMD Piledriver). It is possible to achieve comparable performance indicators at lower frequencies or noticeable increase in computing power under the same operating speeds.
The basis of the same graphics core is 28nm microarchitecture AMD GCN. Its basic element is SIMD-unit which consists of 16 shader pipelines (or Radeon Core). One graphics core has four SIMD-units or 64 shader pipelines. The maximum amount of the same graphics cores in processors AMD Kaveri series is 8 which correspond to 512 computing units. In comparison with desktop graphics cards this figure is between AMD Radeon R7 250 (384 thread processors) and AMD Radeon R7 250X (640 thread processors).
Available HSA-functions also deserve attention, as they still remain unique in the market. As we mentioned, we are talking about technology AMD hUMA and AMD hQ. The first provides equal opportunities for access to the system memory for CPU and graphics cores, eliminating redundant operation of inside memory datasets copy. The second allows you to equally use the processor and graphics cores to solve any tasks. That is, the system can optimize the processing of information as efficiently as possible by taking advantage of the computational kernel: CPU - for serial threads and GPU - for multi-thread. The possibility of such smooth functioning of the processor and graphics cores allocate APU AMD Kaveri on the background of all other solutions.
AMD doesn’t forget once again to remind about API AMD Mantle designed to accelerate the creation of games for different platforms (game consoles, personal computers). The fact that a new generation of modern game consoles (Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox and Wii U) AMD processors is used. Therefore, for more simple game code adaptation to various platforms software interface AMD Mantle was created. In addition, it allows getting a much wider access to the hardware resources of the system, which leads to a more efficient use of them and increasing the playback speed of the virtual world while maintaining high quality of detail of objects.
The obtained results were really impressive, so currently API AMD Mantle is used to create new engines for development of new games. We are talking about Cryengine, Nitrous Engine, Asura Engine and Frostbite 3 Engine. Besides, this software interface enables faster adapt the game for API DirectX 12.
Developing new products AMD company does not forget to create technology applications that improve comfortable working level at a computer. The most important are the following:
- AMD Quick Stream and AMD Perfect Picture with AMD Steady Video - improve the quality and speed of streaming video in real time without any additional software;
- AMD Gesture Control and AMD Face Login - provide new methods for controlling the computer (using gestural commands) and identification in OS environment and in websites (via webcam);
- AMD TrueAudio - can significantly improve the quality of any audio playback, reduce the impact of unwanted background noise and improve clarity of recorded signal through the microphone.
As for software applications optimized for the capabilities processors AMD Kaveri, there are positive developments. For example, the filter the Smart Sharpen in Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud could accelerate on 59% compared with the previous generation APU and on 384% in comparison with competitive analogues of Intel. Another obvious example is the operation of engine AMD JPEG Decoder integrated into a new generation of processors. It allows you to speed up the processing of JPEG-images on 80% compared to a standard Windows-engine. Besides laptops based on APU AMD Kaveri have an excellent level of autonomy: the duration of their work during reading e-books or web surfing is 11 and 9 hours respectively.
Of course, one of the most exciting parts of any presentation is a demonstration of performance level of new products especially in comparison with its competition. Currently mobile solutions Series AMD Kaveri are opposed to sufficiently effective processors Intel Haswell. Recently models of Intel Haswell Refresh were presented. Their performance level is only slightly higher than their predecessors.
It is not the first time for a comprehensive evaluation of products AMD uses three popular benchmarks: PCMark 8 Home, 3DMark 11 and Basemark CL. Their choice was not accidental. PCMark 8 Home allows to estimate the level of integrated computer performance when performing typical daily tasks. 3DMark 11 is the authoritative test for determining the real capabilities of the graphics subsystem. Basemark CL allows to evaluate system performance with optimized applications for standard OpenCL.
As you can see, 19 W model AMD A10-7300 (4 processor cores (1.9 - 3.2 GHz) + 6 graphics cores (533 MHz)) withstands 15 W processor Intel Core i5-4200U (2 x 1 6 - 2.6 GHz + Intel HD Graphics 4400 (200 - 1000 MHz)). In Benchmark PCMark 8 Home their results are comparable, but the 3DMark 11 shows 50% separation of graphics subsystem AMD from competitor. In Basemark CL the advantage of AMD A10-7300 is estimated at 20%.
After examine the potential of mobile APU Kaveri, AMD specialists decided to present a series of high-performance devices for laptops. Its name uses brand AMD FX.
APUs of AMD Kaveri FX challenge to Intel Core i7 processors. In this case the performance levels of versions AMD FX-7500 (4 processor cores (2.1 - 3.3 GHz) + 6 graphics cores (553 MHz), 19 W TDP) and Intel Core i7-4500U (2x1,8 - 3.0 GHz + Intel HD Graphics 4400 (200 - 1100 MHz), 15 W) were compared. The overall picture is similar: comparable results in PCMark 8 Home and substantial gap AMD FX-7500 in the other two benchmarks.
Of course, to complete the comparison there should be cost analysis. Officially we know only that the recommended price of Intel Core i5-4200U is $ 281, and Intel Core i7-4500U $ 393.
In general the positioning of new products is quite natural: AMD A8 series will compete with Intel Core i3, AMD A10 opposes to Intel Core i5, and AMD FX fights with Intel Core i7. As we can see the integration of all of the above mentioned technologies and features allowed the AMD company to fight in all market segments of mobile processors.
Another interesting topic of this presentation was the debut of a special series of mobile APUs - AMD Kaveri PRO. They are specifically aimed at business class. Developing these new products AMD was focused on three main aspects: high level of performance, long life cycle of the market and stable support of software products. These features are very important for IT-professionals and administrators who have to maintain large parks of operating systems.
Initially the market will have three solutions: AMD PRO A6-7050B, AMD PRO A8-7150B and AMD PRO A10-7350B. The first of these models will withstand to Intel Pentium 3556U and Intel Core i3-4010U. The other two are positioned against Intel Core i5-4200U and Intel Core i7-4500U respectively.
In conclusion let's look at the entire range represented hybrid mobile processors of family AMD Kaveri. They are conveniently divided into three groups. At the bottom there are business solutions AMD Kaveri PRO (AMD PRO A6-7050B, AMD PRO A8-7150B and AMD PRO A10-7350B).
Slightly above there are full features of energy efficient models: AMD A8-7100, AMD A10-7300 and AMD FX-7500 with declared TDP level 19 W. And on top there are the most productive APUs: AMD A8-7200P, AMD A10-7400P and AMD FX-7600P with TDP level 35 W. As we can see the most productive models also have declared support of faster RAM (DDR3-1866/2133 MHz) and integrated controller of PCI Express 3.0 interface.
That's all. We hope that soon we will be able to share with you the results of real testing of laptops based on various APUs of AMD Kaveri lineup.