AMD Launches A10 7890K and Athlon X4 880K

AMD has been getting ever more cyclical with their releases after their latest organizational shuffle. Last month, we saw the launch of the A10 7860K & Athlon X4 845 APU and CPU and this month we’re 2 more chips. Today, we are getting the A10 7890K and Athlon X4 880K, both of which sit on the top of the FM2 product stack for APU and CPU respectively.

Like their predecessors, the new chips feature a decent clock speed boost, 5% each of their slower siblings, or 200mhz increase. While it doesn’t look like much, that’s still more than the differentiation Intel gives their chips which is often only 100mhz. Despite only being 95W class chips, the 7890K will feature the 125W Wraith cooler while the 880K gets an all-new 125W Thermal solution. The 7890K runs at 4.1-4.3 Ghz with the iGPU at 866Mhz while the 880K is 4.0-4.2Ghz.

According to AMD, the 125W thermal solution is simply the Wraith cooler without the illuminated shroud, will all of the improve efficiency and performance. The A10 7870K will also feature with the new 125W cooler despite being 95W chips. This should allow for decent overclocking given the extra overhead or even  lower noise levels for stock usage. This should help AMD with their image that some consumers have of their chips being loud and hot.

AMD Launches A10 7860K & Athlon X4 845

Despite being stuck on the 28nm node for the past while, AMD has been working to bring more CPUs to consumers with better binning and performance as the process and technology matures. Case in point is the A10-7860K Godavari and Athlon X8 845 Carrizo chips launching today. Both chips are focused on increasing performance/watt either by using a new architecture design or simply better binning and process improvements.

First up is the 2M/4T Athlon X4 845, a 65W Carrizo part based on of the “Excavator” architecture. As expected of an Athlon part, it does not have an iGPU and uses the FM2+ platform with DDR3 and PCIe 3.0 x8. As the sole desktop Excavator part, the chip is a bit of a curiosity with only 2MB of L2 instead of the usual 4MB but still manages to have a higher IPC due to improved pre-fetch, large L1 cache and better branch prediction. The low power nature of Excavator also limits the clock speeds to 3.5-3.8Ghz.

Next we have the A10-7860K which is a Steamroller based 2M/4T chip with 512 GCN Stream Processors. With a 3.6-4.0Ghz clock speed, the chip places lower than the 7890K and 7870K but it comes in with a 30W lower TDP at 65W. Despite the lower TDP, the 7860K will get the 95W cooler which should make it a good choice for an HTPC/budget gamer. Overall these chips should tide AMD over till more Excavator and Zen based APUs hit later this year.

AMD Releases Mobile Carrizo APUs and Cuts Desktop Kaveri Pricing

AMD is busy releasing the OEM models and mobile solutions in order to get that part out of the way early as well as prevent anything from stealing news space from their highly anticipated next generation of CPUs, APUs and not to forget GPUs such as the R9 390x liquid cooled micro card.

This time around they’re ready with five new Carrizo mobile APUs that already have begun shipping and being available in Greater China. Worldwide availability will follow shortly as the chips make their way across the globe to manufacturers and resellers. The information is relative sparse at the moment, but we do know that none of them have a TDP higher than 25W and go all the way down to 2W, have two to four CPU cores and a clock speed up to 2.5GHz backed by up to 2MB cache. The only exception to the quad-core and 2MB cache scheme is the small AMD E1-7010 APU that only has half of both.

The Carrizo platform will be extended to the desktop market later and it will also enter the FX processor line-up. But until that time arrives, AMD cut the prices on the current Kaveri desktop APUs. Cheaper products is a thing that we always like to see and AMD cuts up to a third of their original pricing.

Thank you TomsHardware for providing us with this information

AMD Could Release a New Kaveri APU Soon

AMD are forever in the back seat of the CPU market, but in recent years they have dominated the low price point gaming sector with their line up of Accelerated Processor Units (APU). This is basically a hybrid CPU with real GPU cores crammed in.

The newest version, Kaveri has been with us for a few months, based on the FM2+ socket; with its flagship unit being the A10-7850k  (review here). Now there seems a new flagship APU is floating around the internet, dubbed the A10-7870k. The A0-7870k, on paper, it looks to be the same as the A10-7850k with a higher base clock; set to 3.9GHz.

Along with the A10-7870k, there are rumours of another lower spec chip, the A8-7670k. This follows a similar suit to the A10-7870k, by looking to be a beefed up version of its predecessor, the A8-7650k (review here). Pricing is still unconfirmed, but pre-order pricing of around 175EURO has been seen on some websites.

The new chips will be placed under the Kaveri series, but with the rumoured launch of Godavari, or Kaveri Refresh APU’s due this Summer, is this a strategic launch from AMD to fill the gap and draw our attention elsewhere? Who knows.

Are you an APU user? Will you be changing to these new APU’s on release or will you be waiting for the release of the Godavari to change your system? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to ComputerBase.de for providing us with this information.

AMD Release Details of Carrizo APU at ISSCC

 

AMD revealed at the prestigious International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) that its upcoming A-Series Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), codenamed “Carrizo”,  will deliver new, advanced power management technologies while achieving substantial performance through new “Excavator” x86 CPU cores and a new generation of AMD Radeon GPU cores. Using a true System-on-Chip (SoC) design, AMD expects Carrizo to reduce the power consumed by the x86 cores alone by 40 percent, while also providing substantial gains in CPU, graphics, and multimedia performance over the prior generation APU; perfect for its intended audience of low power computers and notebooks.

“As a part of our continued focus on building great products, the advanced power and performance optimisations we have designed into our upcoming ‘Carrizo’ APU will deliver the largest generational performance-per-watt gain ever for a mainstream AMD APU,” said Sam Naffziger, AMD Corporate Fellow and co-author of the AMD presentation at ISSCC. “There have been remarkable advances in performance and energy efficiency in computing since the birth of the modern microprocessor. However, the energy-related benefits that flow from new manufacturing processes have slowed, ushering in an era when alternative ways to improve processor performance and efficiency are needed. AMD has been pursuing Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) and proprietary power management technologies to make continued gains. The upcoming ’Carrizo’ APU takes a big step toward the AMD 25×20 energy efficiency goal and incorporates a wealth of new features that will be adopted across our full product line going forward.”

New Carrizo Disclosures at ISSCC:

  • 29% more transistors in nearly the same die size as its predecessor, “Kaveri”;
  • New “Excavator” x86 cores provide an uplift in instructions-per-clock at 40% less power;
  • New Radeon GPU cores with dedicated power supply;
  • Dedicated, on-chip H.265 video decode;
  • Double digit percentage increases in both performance and battery life;
  • Integrated Southbridge for the first time on an AMD high-performance APU.

Architectural Advances

By using new high-density libraries design, AMD managed to squeeze 29% more transistors on Carrizon, 3.1 billion, in roughly the same size chip as Kaveri This density increase has allowed a larger area for graphics, multimedia offload, and integration of the “Southbridge” system controller on a single-chip. The increased support for multimedia includes the new, high-performance H.265 video standard and double the video compression engines of its predecessor. The inclusion of H.265 in hardware will support true 4K resolutions, help extend battery life, and reduce bandwidth requirements when viewing compatible video streams.

The additional transistor budget also allows Carrizo to become the first processor in the industry designed to be compliant with the HSA 1.0 specification. HSA makes programming accelerators such as the GPU far simpler, ideally leading to greater application performance at low power consumption. Chief among the design advantages for HSA is the heterogeneous Unified Memory Access (hUMA) within Carrizo. With hUMA, the CPU and GPU share the same memory address space. Both can access all the platform’s memory and allocate data to any location in the system’s memory space. This coherent-memory architecture greatly reduces the number of instructions required to complete many tasks, thus helping improve both performance and energy efficiency.

New Energy Efficient Features

Several new power efficient technologies make their debut on the Carrizo APU. To deal with transient drops in voltage, which is known as droop, traditional microprocessor designs supply excess voltage on the order of ten to fifteen percent to ensure the processor always has appropriate voltage. But over-voltage is costly in terms of energy because it wastes power at a rate that is proportional to the square of the voltage increase; i.e. 10% over-voltage means about 20% wasted power.

AMD has developed a number of technologies to optimise voltage. Its latest processors compare the average voltage to droops on the order of nanoseconds, or billionths of a second. Starting with the Carrizo APU, this voltage adaptive operation functions in both the CPU and the GPU. Since the frequency adjustments are done at the nanosecond level, there’s almost no compromise in computing performance, while power is cut by up to 10 percent on the GPU and up to 19% on the CPU.  Another power technology that debuts in Carrizo is called adaptive voltage and frequency scaling (AVFS). This technology involves the implementation of unique, patented silicon speed capability sensors, and voltage sensors in addition to traditional temperature and power sensors. The speed and voltage sensors enable each individual APU to adapt to its particular silicon characteristics, platform behaviour, and operating environment. By adapting in real-time to these parameters, AVFS can lead to up to 30 percent power savings.

In addition to helping reduce power use on the CPU by shrinking the core area, AMD worked to optimise the 28nm technology for power efficiency, and tuned the GPU implementation for optimal operation in power-limited scenarios. This enables up to a 20% power reduction over the Kaveri graphics at the same frequency. Combined, AMD’s energy efficiency innovations aim to deliver power savings on the order of a manufacturing technology shrink while staying in a well-characterised, cost-optimised 28nm process.

Thanks to AMD for supplying this information.

ASUS Crossblade Ranger (FM2+) Motherboard Review

Introduction and Closer Look


The last time ASUS released a Republic of Gamers series motherboard for an AMD platform was way back in late 2011. The motherboard in question was the ASUS Crosshair V Formula which ASUS have since refurbished and re-released as the Crosshair V Formula-Z. The key theme with ASUS ROG motherboards for AMD platforms is that they have never been produced for AMD’s APU platforms, until now. In a somewhat surprising move in August of this year ASUS announced their first ROG motherboard for AMD’s A-Series platform; to be called the Crossblade Ranger.

The Crossblade Ranger’s existence makes sense given the recent speculative report from Digitimes that claims AMD and ASUS have planned stronger cooperation together on APU related matters. Even if such speculation is untrue the Crossblade Ranger is still a welcomed addition to the marketplace as many ASUS ROG fans have been requesting such ROG treatment for the AMD APU platforms. While AMD’s FM2+ platform isn’t the obvious choice for a gaming system, having the flexibility to take advantage of AMD’s latest Steamroller based CPU architecture is only possible on the FM2+ socket. AMD recently released their fastest Steamroller-based CPU the Athlon X4 860K Black Edition. With 4 cores at 3.7-4GHz and a 95W TDP the 860K is identical to the A10-7850K in terms of the CPU component, the only difference is at $90 the 860K is half the price of the $180 7850K making it a great choice for gamers who want to go with a discrete graphics solution.

With all that in mind AMD’s FM2+ A88X platform makes an interesting choice for a budget gaming system; you can pair up AMD’s Athlon X4 860K with a sweet-spot discrete GPU like an R9 280X or GTX 770 and you’ll have no trouble smashing through the latest games at 1080p or 1440p. Where does the ASUS Crossblade Ranger fit in you say? Well the Crossblade Ranger brings all of the coveted gaming motherboard features from the expensive Z97 and X99 ROG boards down to a more attractive price point. By gaming motherboard features we aren’t just talking of “sticking on a Killer NIC and make it red”. I’m referring to things that Gamers can actually notice and make use of like the ASUS KeyBot hardware and software package that allows you to bind macros to your keyboard even if it doesn’t have macro keys. Or the ASUS ROG GameFirst III packet prioritisation software with Intel’s high-spec Gigabit controller that allows you to accelerate and organise your internet connection priorities. There’s also the ASUS SupremeFX audio implementation with automatic headphone impedance detection (Sonic SenseAmp), custom hardware level audio profiles for different game types that are set via an onboard switch (Sonic SoundStage) and a variety of software enhancements for in-game voice chat, bass enhancement and virtual surround sound (Sonic Studio). It doesn’t stop there either, ASUS also offer their Sonic Radar II software which provides positional data on audio signals received in-game as well as a functional RAMDisk package for users who have enough RAM to load one of their favourite games onto.

Packaging and Accessories

Being an ROG series motherboard the accessory bundle for the Crossblade Ranger is well-endowed. Among the usual assortment of documentation we find four SATA cables, a dark metallic rear I/O shield, ASUS Q-Connectors for your front panel connectors, an ASUS ROG mousepad, an ROG door-hanger and some sticky-labels for marking up each of your SATA devices to avoid confusion.

Closer Look

While all motherboard vendors now have a red and black motherboard offering there’s just something special about the ASUS ROG design. The Crossblade Ranger is a stunning looking board for gamers.

Along the right hand edge of the motherboard we find 8 SATA ports, a fan header, USB 3.0 header, the motherboard 24 pin, a MemOK! button, an LN2 mode jumper, a Slow Mode switch, probes for voltage read-offs, a reset button, a power on button and a debug LED.

The bottom starts with premium ELNA audio capacitors on the left, the audio front panel header next to that, the SoundStage button for hardware level audio profiles, a TPM header, ROG_EXT header, clear CMOS button, dual USB 2.0 headers, a KeyBot button and the front panel connectors.

The SupremeFX 2014 audio package comes on its own isolated PCB which is illuminated red. That red illumination can be disabled within the BIOS too.

The rear I/O offers up all of the essentials for any system: plenty of USB, a legacy PS/2 for those who like it, a variety of display connections if you choose to use an APU, Intel Gigabit LAN and a plethora of audio jacks.

At the top of the motherboard we find a pair of CPU fan headers, the first of two stylised CPU VRM heatsinks and an EPS 8 pin CPU power.

The second CPU VRM heatsink holds the Ranger nomenclature. Around the CPU socket ASUS use an 8 phase VRM which equips their newly designed allow chokes, 10K black metallic caps and the NexFETTMMOSFET design.

PCIe connectivity will allow for dual-GPU configurations but being an FM2+ motherboard we can’t imagine many users will be opting for more than a single graphics card. The lack of any M.2 ports is the noticeable omission when comparing this board to an ROG Z97 equivalent like the Maximus VII Ranger.

The back of the motherboard features reinforcement plates for improved stability and cooling: something no other motherboard vendors do.

AMD APUs Get a Significant Price Cut

The only thing better than technology is technology at a reduced price. In what is likely a move to combat Intels G3258 budget CPU, AMD has cut the MSRP on a lot of APUs and you can save up to 30 percent on some models.

The current flagship Kaveri A10-7850K APU will get a reduction from $180 to just $143 and the A10-7700K will drop to just $123 from the previous $159. Placed in the middle is the locked A10-7800 that only will cost you $133 now instead of the previous $164. Other Kaveri price cuts include the A8-7600 priced at $92 instead of $109 and the A8-7400K that is down to just $58 MSRP.

There seems to have been a slight mistake in AMD’s announcement as the A8-7600 only features 6 GPU cores and not 8 as the image portraits, but that’s just a cosmetic error here and doesn’t affect the news on price reductions.

Richland and Trinity also get their prices reduced. The A10-6800K will only cost you $112 instead of the previous $139, the A8-6600K is down to $92 from $99 and the A4-6400 will only cost you $34 now. Yes, we can go even lower as the A4-5300 will retail for $31 and A4-4400 for just $27 after the price-cuts.

In one way, this seems like a weird move as they enter the AM1 price-territory. On the other hand, the two chips target different market segments so there might not be any conflict.

And there is more, as added bonus AMD will be providing customers of the A10 APUs with one free game chosen from Murdered, Thief and Sniper Elite 3. If you don’t want any of those games you can get Corel’s Aftershot Pro 2 software instead, but you’ll have to pay a tiny $5 on top of the coupon to get this program. The code will be placed inside the box and be offered for a limited time.

Thanks to GamersNexus for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of GamersNexus

New AMD FM2+ CPU Spotted

A new AMD CPU has been spotted in the support manual for the FM2A88X Pro+ motherboard from AsRock. The new CPU has a model number of 450 and the Athlon branding, so it probably won’t have an integrated GPU. With the Athlon X4 860K being released next week, it’s logical to assume that it will be a dual-core Kaveri version.

The support list states the Athlon 450 has a clock speed of 3.5 GHz and 1MB L2 shared cache at a TDP of 65 Watts. The list didn’t mention any turbo core speed and judging by the model number, this will be a CPU with a locked multiplier.

A few other characteristics can be gleaned from the AD450XYBI23JA part number. The digit “2” in the part number signifies the number of cores. The digit “3” confirms the size of L2 cache, 1 MB shared between 2 cores, and indicates the lack of L3 cache. The “JA” suffix tells us that the CPU will be based on stepping A1 of Kaveri core. Release date of the Athlon X2 450 is not known yet.

Thank you cpuworld for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of AMD.

AMD Preparing Round of APU Price Cuts

In the western market the “Back-To-School” shopping season is nearly upon us. It is that time of year where parents and students alike dump copious amounts of money into buying new desktop and laptop computers so what better time for AMD to drop some of their APU prices than now. According to X-Bit Labs AMD is preparing a variety of price cuts for its desktop APUs to help boost sales. From September 1st a select variety of APUs will get price cuts of 7-8%. The bulk of these price cuts are for Richland based parts but there’s a Kaveri price cut too.

For enthusiasts the notable reduction in price is with the A10-7700K which has $10 shaved off its price. Richland gets a lot cheaper too as the A10-6800K, A10-6700, A8-6600K, A8-6500 and A8-6500T all get price cuts. Full details of the price cuts can be seen in the table below. The source also notes AMD will be releasing a new A4-7300 APU, almost certainly based on Kaveri architecture given the 7XXX naming strategy. It features two cores at up to 4GHz with 1MB of L2 cache, Radeon HD 8470D graphics and 192 stream processors. The TDP is 65W and it uses the FM2(+) socket.

Expect AMD’s price cuts to filter through to the pre-built PC channel fairly quickly. DIY consumers should also be able to pick up AMD’s APUs at their new lower prices at some point in September depending on how quickly retailers adjust to the new pricing.

Source: X-Bit Labs

Image #1 courtesy of AMD, Image #2 courtesy of X-Bit Labs

4 Generations Of The AMD APU: How Much Progress Has Been Made?

Introduction


Cast your mind back to mid-2011 when AMD released its first “APU”. Back then “APU” (Accelerated Processing Unit) was a term not many of us were familiar with, although the concept wasn’t alien as we’ve had it for quite some time: a CPU that also provides a GPU. Up until the first AMD APU most CPUs had pathetic onboard GPUs that were good for about one display, some video playback and that’s about it – that applies to both AMD and Intel CPUs. Now we have APUs that are capable of realistic 1080p gaming and that large shift has occurred in just three years – largely thanks to AMD’s APUs.

We have gone through four generations of AMD’s game-changing idea “the APU”, arguably something that has driven integrated graphics performance forward on both AMD and Intel platforms. The ball started rolling when AMD released its desktop “Llano” FM1 platform in 2011, this was followed by “Trinity” and the FM2 platform in late 2012. AMD then brought out a refreshed FM2 platform APU with “Richland” in 2013 and we have seen AMD’s latest “Kaveri” FM2+ APU platform this year in 2014. That’s three years of the APU across four generations of product releases – even if Trinity to Richland was more incremental than generational. What we want to look at today is examining the all important question: how much progress has been achieved with the APU? It’s a fairly simple examination we will be doing, we will be testing AMD’s four APU flagships from each generation to see how performance has changed over the generations and over time. In testing today we have the A8-3870K (Llano), the A10-5800K (Trinity), the A10-6800K (Richland) and the A10-7850K (Kaveri). We will be putting all these APUs through the same selectionof tests with fully updated drivers, benchmarks and operating systems to give a conclusive look at the APU’s progress since its first inception.

We won’t bore you with all the technical details of the APU and its history, but we do encourage anyone who is interested to check out some of our reviews and feature articles that have included AMD APUs in the past as these explain a lot of the technical aspects. All our past APU reviews and featured content can be found below so just click on any of them to get started!

Rumour: AMD “Carrizo” Desktop APUs Delayed, Kaveri Refresh To Fill The Gap

We’ve heard a lot about AMD’s Next-Generation desktop APU platform, codename Carrizo. Last year we heard that the expected arrival date was to be 2015, and up until now we thought this was still on-track especially when details about the A10-8890K APU were released that showed support for a new FM3 socket. New rumours suggest Carrizo may now be delayed for the desktop platform – although the reasons are not entirely clear. AMD will not release Carrizo desktop APUs until 2016 and instead they will refresh the Kaveri product stack to bring out the 5th generation of APUs based on that. Carrizo will still arrive in 2015 in its mobile form according to the source, but there’s no sight of the desktop variant. That’s strange given the roadmap below that leaked from AMD suggesting Carrizo was to be released in 2015.

If the rumour is true Carrizo could now be the 6th generation of AMD APU, not the 5th as that title might get taken by Kaveri refresh. That means like with the Trinity to Richland transition the new Kaveri Refresh parts will be based on virtually identical physical components except they will get speed bumps and some performance and power optimisations. From my perspective this seems like a prudent financial decision being made by AMD: they need another generation of Kaveri APUs to fully profit from all the R&D that went into Kaveri, it also buys them some more time to tweak and tune Carrizo to make that release as competent as possible.

Based on current rumours we think that AMD’s Carrizo will bring a new socket to the table: possibly FM3 or FM3+, but will also retain backwards compatibility with FM2+. It should also introduce a new CPU architecture, possibly based on the Excavator design. It may bring DDR4 support too since DDR4 will be commercially viable from September 2014 when Intel introduces X99, Intel should also introduce DDR4 to its mainstream platforms next year. The other possibility is that Carrizo may opt for stacked-DRAM and DDR3 in order to keep costs down.

Source: Bits and Chips (IT) and WCCFTech

Image courtesy of AMD

AMD A10-7800 “Kaveri” APU Review

Introduction & What’s New?


In January 2014 AMD unveiled its latest generation of accelerated processing units dubbed “Kaveri”. The range was formed of the A10-7850K flagship, the A10-7700K mid-range part and the entry level & low power A8-7600. Back in February I conducted a comprehensive performance analysis of all the released Kaveri APUs. In short, I found them all to be very interesting but I was most impressed by the A8-7600. The reason for this is that it offered a solid amount of performance for its thermal envelope and price, overall the A8-7600 seems ideal for anyone building a multi-use entry level system. The configurable TDP option, of between 45 to 65W, also makes the A8-7600 a great choice for a wide variety of form factors: such as HTPCs, fanless systems and so on. AMD’s A8-7600 is only getting launched now, despite being paper-launched back in January. Alongside the launch of the A8-7600 AMD is also releasing a new APU, the A10-7800 – which is what we are testing in this review. The A10-7800 will be physically identical to the A10-7850K except it does not come with an unlocked option. The main reason for that is that the A10-7800 is optimised for low power and has the configurable TDP of 45-65W like the A8-7600 does.

The pricing for the A10-7800 will be $155, on par with the A10-7700K. The main advantage of the A10-7800 over the A8-7600 is that it features higher clock speeds and two more GPU compute units. This gives it more power on the CPU and GPU side making it more capable of gaming and productivity.

Why not just buy an A10-7850K and set its TDP to 65W? You can do that but AMD claims that you’ll get more performance out of the A10-7800 at 65W than the A10-7850K at 65W. Not to mention that the A10-7850K is a more expensive option, especially if you have no desire to overclock. That’s why the A10-7800 SKU was created, to offer more performance than the A8-7600 but still in a small thermal envelope.

To entice consumers into buying its Kaveri APUs AMD will be offering a choice of a free game, consumers can choose one of three big titles. All three games are part of AMD’s Gaming Evolved program.

Is there anything new that the A10-7800 brings to the table? No not really. It is just a new SKU of the Kaveri APU architecture: a power optimised version of the A10-7850K. As a result of that we can expect its performance to be broadly similar to the A10-7850K, although a little slower and with a little less power draw.

AMD Hints At Upcoming CPU/APU Release With “Core Is Back” Teaser Video

Quite a few days ago AMD posted up a teaser video bearing the slogan “Core is Back”. In the past AMD have used such a slogan before the launch of a new CPU or APU product. Of course we’ve already seen AMD re-launch its FX-9590 as a retail CPU with a water cooling kit so what else could it be on the APU/CPU front? We’ve heard some murmurings that it might be some updated AMD APUs based on the Kaveri design, but it seems strange to hype up APUs so much and call them Core Evolution when they are not an evolution of current-gen Kaveri products. The other, albeit slim, possibility is a new FX series chip: could this be the Steamroller based 8 core FX chip consumers have been waiting for? Probably not, I’ll hedge my bets based on AMD’s past behaviour and say its a new APU product. The fact that AMD display an A-Series logo at the end would also point towards it being a new APU product. What APU product could it be? Given the enthusiast focus of it maybe AMD are releasing something that beats the A10-7850K Kaveri flagship, we’ll just have to wait and see. Have a watch for yourself and tell us what you think it is!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7dReusG2aM[/youtube]

Source: AMD Facebook

Image courtesy of AMD

AMD Announces the Specifications for its Upcoming Kaveri Mobility APUs

It appears that AMD has just revealed the specifications of their upcoming Mobility Kaveri APU lineup via AMD’s website, indicating that the company is planning to launch the lineup as soon as possible, having Computex 2014 in June as possible date of launch.

The AMD Mobility Kaveri APU lineup is said to come with the most basic features compared to the desktop Kaveri lineup launched in January, arriving in a variety of SKUs such as A-series, FX and Pro A-series APUs. There is also information of technologies such as Dual Graphics, Face Login, Eyefinity, Gesture Control, Wireless Display, Quick Steaming Technology and Start Now which would be available on the models.

In terms of specifications, the FX-7600P, which is also said to be the mobile platform APU, will feature 4 CPU cores and 8 GPU cores, while the x86 Steamroller would be clocked at 2.7 GHz stock and 3.6 GHz while in boost, having a 4 MB L2 cache and displaying a GCN graphics of 512 stream processors operating at 686 MHz with a TDP of 35W. The APU is also said to support 32 GB DDR3 memory having speeds of up to 2133 MHz.

The A10 Mobile Kaveri APU series includes the A10-7400P, having 4 CPU cores and 6 GPU cores, while the x86 Steamroller APU will be clocked at 2.1 GHz stock with a boost speed of 3.3 GHz. Looking at the cache, the L2 will present the same 4 MB cache as the FX version previously mentioned, while the GCN graphics will boast 384 streaming processors working at 654 MHz with a TDP of 35W. The amount of memory and frequency support is similar to the FX model, having a 32 GB DDR3 memory limit with up to 2133 MHz operating frequency.

The more business-oriented Pro model includes the A10 PRO-7350B, featuring 4 CPU and 6 GPU cores. The x86 Steamroller is said to be clocked at 2.1 GHz stock and 3.3 GHz in boost, while boasting a 4 MB L2 cache with a GCN graphics of 384 stream processors working at 553 MHz with a TDP of 19W. The APU will support 32 GB DDR3 with a working frequency of up to 1600 MHz.

The rest of the Kaveri Mobility lineup can be viewed below:

A few benchmarks have been made with the lineup, and the results show that AMD is gaining some ground in terms of gaming performance, since the retail FX-7500 is currently ahead of the ULV Maxwell and even the A10-7300 is showing its power ahead of Intel’s i7-4500U, i5-4200U and i3-4010U. The 3DMark11 and PCMark8 benchmark results can be viewed below:


In addition to the above, it is said that there is also a small chance of AMD along with its OEM partners will introduce the Crystal Series-based notebooks along with the mobility APU launch. Information about the new Crystal Series GPU also mention some enhancements including GCN 1.1 architecture, with a probability of offering Dual Graphics support along with the Kaveri Mobility lineup. A list of the latter GPUs can be viewed below:

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of WCCFTech

AMD Kaveri A10-7850K Overclocking – Unleashing GCN’s Potential

Introduction


AMD’s Kaveri K Series APUs have a wealth of untapped performance potential: out of the box they come with a modest 720MHz GPU core clock speed, yet anyone who has toyed with AMD APUs in the past knows there’s going to be a lot of overclocking headroom. Before we progress any further I’m going to make my intentions with this article clear – AMD’s Kaveri APU is about the GPU and that’s where our focus lays today. Sure you can overclock the CPU, but because the CPU and GPU are combined, overclocking the CPU reduces the thermal and power headroom of the GPU, and vice versa. Not to mention that the GPU offers the most potential for performance scaling whereas the CPU doesn’t offer anywhere near as much – so picking the CPU over the GPU will leave you with less performance than if you’d have picked the GPU. Picking only the GPU for overclocking also makes sense as the A10-7850K is primarily designed to be a gaming chip, and a chip that takes advantage of GPU acceleration, so overclocking the CPU with detriment to the GPU makes no sense at all. How does the CPU have the potential to detriment the GPU you might ask? Well it is quite simple – the CPU produces more heat and uses more power than the GPU so overclocking it is likely to lead to thermal throttling of the entire APU package. With regards to TDP/power-based throttling you can get around this by disabling AMD’s APM (Application Power Management) but you still have the heat issue to contend with. Therefore for the purposes of this article we’re going with a GPU overclock only. For those interested in overclocking the CPU you’re better off waiting for the standalone Steamroller based Athlon CPUs to hit the FM2+ socket, or going with existing FX and Athlon series AMD CPUs.

After a bit of toying we’ve found our GPU clock sweet spot, or the highest point that was stable without any voltage tweaks – 1028MHz. That’s an impressive 308MHz overclock from the out of the box speed, in percentage terms that’s a staggering 43% boost in frequency! Aside from overclocking the GPU we haven’t touched the CPU or any other clock speeds, but I can inform you we have paired the overclocked APU with faster memory than we used in the original testing on our Kaveri Ultimate Review. We are using 2400MHz RAM but for reference we also have results in the graphs with 2400MHz RAM without any overclocks applied so you can see the true scaling from the GPU overclock alone. As we’re focusing on the GPU we’ve also omitted re-running any tests that are CPU-only, or use minimal GPU resources, because we’ll only end up showing you identical results which is a waste of your reading time as well as our testing time.

Before we delve into the results from our overclocking let’s first take a brief look at some of AMD’s own internal testing. As we can see they are illustrating our point about Kaveri overclocking, if you overclock the CPU the gains in performance are pretty modest compared to overclocking the GPU where you can see substantial jumps in performance.

Memory scaling actually offers almost as much performance as GPU overclocking alone according to AMD, one of the reasons why we’re using 2400MHz memory here. If you’re going to be buying a Kaveri A10-7850K based system then 2400MHz memory, or at least 2133MHz, is an absolute must.

When you stack fast memory with an overclocked GPU AMD is claiming as much as a 50% boost in frame rates in some games. So with your appetite now ready for some overclocking let’s get straight into the results!

2014’s Hottest Hardware, Are You Ready For Some Epic Upgrades?

2014 is already proving to be a great year for tech lovers, and with the PC market currently offering a mixture of incredible value and high performance components, there has never been a better time to be a PC enthusiast. Yet for all the high-end hardware on the market that we have available to us today, we can’t help but look forward at what is coming next. There’s always something just around the corner that makes you want to delay your next upgrade, something bigger and better that promises to be a real game changer. Today we thought it would be great to take a quick look at some of the hottest things that could hit the market this year.

Improved Performance And Power Consumption From DDR4 Memory


First up we have DDR4 memory, this one has been a long time coming and while it may not offer huge performance increases over current offerings, it’s improved reliability and lower power usage is certainly a tempting option. With new hardware that supports DDR4 slowly working its way towards the consumer market it’s nice to see that there may be some changes in the memory market later this year, and that’ll hopefully pave the way to big performance increases further down the line.

Cheaper 4K Capable Monitors And Devices


4K gaming is quite a popular topic these days, but 4K isn’t just about gaming, it can be used for movies, content creation or the most popular thing in the internet world, porn doge memes. The only issue with 4K is that it’s insanely expensive compared to its 1080p and 1440p counterparts. The screens are very expensive, and even recent price cuts to sub $1000 still leave it out of the reach of many. We expect this year will see not only the screens coming down in price, but to also be followed by price cuts in 4K capable graphics cards.

Faster And More Powerful Graphics Hardware


Speaking of new graphics cards, we love the current line up of graphics cards that are on the market. AMD are pushing some gorgeous hardware and Nvidia have some serious powerhouses of their own, but the grass is always greener on the other side and we would be crazy to not be excited about what is coming next from the red and green camps. With Maxwell and Volta from Nvidia and further developments from AMD with their GCN (Graphics Core Next) and APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) hardware, PC gaming is set for some big changes. Getting ultra-high graphics on 4K hardware is far from easy, so more powerful and more efficient hardware, as well as huge changes in memory management will help a lot.

High Performance Next-Generation CPU’s


Going hand in hand with the new graphics cards and memory products we’re looking forward to, we’re even more excited about the next generation of CPU hardware from both Intel and AMD. With Broadwell and Skylake, as well as an even more advanced range of APU’s on the horizon, we can expect support for DDR4, unified memory, faster data transfer speeds and advancements in power management and a whole lot more. Personally I’m looking forward to Skylake more than anything, but for now my Ivy Bridge will do me just fine. If AMD keep boosting the power in their APU’s enough, we may also have a great solution for compact gaming rigs and SteamBox style builds.

Ultra-High Performance And Capacity SSD’s


It’s not often that I can get too excited about storage, SSD’s are great for boosting system performance and they’re endlessly more powerful than their mechanical counterparts. However, their performance seems to be hitting its limits and short of RAID configurations, there isn’t much else that can be done. New memory controllers, as well as other advances should see some nice improvements later this year, but we’re hoping there is another big change ahead that will see massive gains in terms of read and write times, not to mention power consumption and price reductions.

That about wraps it up for our most wanted tech and when combined you can see that we’re hoping for a pretty broad improvement in performance across the whole spectrum of PC components and devices. With 4K working it’s way to becoming common place and prices of UHD displays dropping we’re going to need lightning fast, and large capacity storage devices to handle all the rendering, massive textures and more that come with it, just look at the 48GB needed to install Titanfall and you can see where we are heading! Then you’ll need more powerful graphics cards to enjoy them to their full potential, and the added performance and power management of new CPU’s and memory products certainly couldn’t hurt either.

What tech are you looking forward to later this year? Will you be upgrading now, or are you planning on holding out for the next generation of hardware? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of PCLABAnandtechGeForceHotHardware and Techradar.

Three New A58 Series FM2+ Motherboards Launched By MSI

MSI launched its three additions to the AMD A58 series FM2+ motherboards, the MSI A58-G41 PC Mate, MSI A58M-E35 and MSI A58M-E33, with support for the new AMD Kaveri APU having also compatibility with AM2 socket processors such as the Richland and Trinity APUs.

The motherboards are said to be available in ATX and mATX form factors, offering a great connectivity with its Dothill RAID controller, onboard LAN, PCIe 3.0, SATA and up to 12 USB ports. It is also stated to offer a multitude of multimedia features, such as H.264 hardware decoding and encoding, support for 4K UHD video, Blu-Ray playback and 8-channel HD Audio through HDMI, all suitable for multi-purpose multimedia use.

With the help of AMD’s Kaveri APU, the MSI A58 motherboards are said to support triple display 4K UHD configurations with up to 4096 x 2160 pixel resolution. Along with Military Class 4 components such as Hi-C CAPs, Solid CAPs, Dark CAPs, SFC and Dark Chokes, it ensures every PC runs stable under extreme conditions.

The MSI A58 motherboards are also equipped with a variety of new technologies, like OC Genie 4 providing easy to use overclockcing functions, the easy to use Click BIOS 4 and the Command Center software, providing the ultimate monitoring, tuning and controlling features for the hardware at hand.

More information about the MSI A58-G41 PC Mate, MSI A58M-E35 and MSI A58M-E33 can be found on MSI’s official website here.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of TechPowerUp

Memory Scaling On The AMD Kaveri A10-7850K APU

Introduction – Memory Scaling on Kaveri


AMD’s Kaveri APUs are dependent on system memory. The easiest way to explain this dependency is by thinking of the GPU on the Kaveri APU as a graphics card, but with one significant difference – on its own it has no video memory. The video memory the Kaveri GPU uses is your system memory, or RAM. In the case of Kaveri APUs the CPU and GPU parts both share the system memory resources equally as part of the hUMA process, though the GPU is more performance-dependent on this memory bandwidth than the CPU is. In effect what this means is that as you increase your system memory frequency Kaveri APUs have more bandwidth available to them and thus perform better.Taking your system RAM from 1866MHz to 2400MHz has the same effect on the Kaveri GPU as would overclocking a DDR3 graphics card by the same amount.AMD has really pushed the benefits of memory scaling for Kaveri and as I’ve already alluded to above these benefits are primarily realised by applications and processes than use the GPU. So this memory scaling article will be focusing largely on the gains in GPU related performance, though we will consider CPU performance and power consumption as well.

AMD’s own internal figures show promising results. We should expect to see the most performance gains from 2133MHz memory but 2400MHz also offers additional performance, this is because with much computer hardware there is a diminishing return on increasing clock speeds and this is particularly the case with memory. Our testing will be examining the differences in performance in transitioning from 1866 to 2133 to 2400MHz memory on the Kaveri flagship part – the A10-7850K. From the perspective of Kaveri there is a requirement to consider memory more carefully than we would do on most systems where a discrete GPU and high-end CPU are both relatively unaffected by memory speed. I think it is worth considering the optimal memory speed pairings in terms of cost but also the type of user buying each APU. In my opinion I’d expect to see the cheapest A8-7600 APU paired off with 1600 or 1866MHz DDR3, the A10-7700K with 1866 or 2133 DDR3 and the A10-7850K with 2133 or 2400MHz. This is purely on the basis that if you’re buying a more affordable APU you’re unlikely to spend a lot on RAM, and if you’re buying the premium A10-7850K APU you’re unlikely to “cheap out” on low frequency DDR3 when spending a little more on faster RAM can make such a large difference.

The Ultimate AMD Kaveri Review: A10-7850K, A10-7700K and A8-7600

Introduction


If you follow our website and the technology industry more broadly then you may have heard a lot about Kaveri since it was officially launched on January 14th 2014. Kaveri is the codename for AMD’s fourth generation of desktop APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) after Llano, Trinity and Richland. In successive generations we have seen AMD’s APUs grow a lot stronger mainly in terms of graphics performance but also bringing refinements in terms of power consumption and CPU performance as well as new features.

So what does Kaveri bring to the table that is new? In terms of new architectures we see a transition from Piledriver (Trinity) to Steamroller on the CPU side and from VLIW4 (Trinity) to GCN 1.0 on the GPU side. Yet the most exciting and easily the most talked about new feature is the inclusion of AMD’s new HSA technology. HSA is AMD’s “Heterogeneous Computing” plan which includes two main components: hUMA (Heterogeneous Unified Memory Architecture) and hQ (Heterogeneous Queuing). hUMA allows for the sharing of system memory equally between GPU cores and CPU cores and hQ allows for both the CPU and GPU cores to independently schedule tasks.

There is of course more to Kaveri than Steamroller, GCN and HSA – but those are the main components. Other new additions include full support for AMD’s TrueAudio technology, Mantle support and an improved Unified Video Decoder and Video Compression Engine. However, before we delve into those new technical improvements and features, let’s first discuss what this article is all about.

Today we are examining AMD’s entire new range of Kaveri Desktop APUs – the A10-7850K, A10-7700K and A8-7600. In addition we will be comparing those to their equivalents from the last generation – the A10-6800K, A10-6790K and A8-6500T respectively. Then for a bit of perspective we are comparing those three parts with their main Intel rivals – the Core i3 4330 and Core i5 4440. What we’re looking to do is provide a complete perspective on how AMD and Intel’s offerings match up across a wide range of CPU, GPU and combined benchmarks covering areas like gaming, productivity and general system performance, as well as the generational changes Kaveri offer over Richland. Below you can see a summary of all the contenders in this comparison. Please note that the number of GPU cores are not comparable between all processors below, but are only for reference. GCN cores are much more powerful than VLIW4 cores while Intel’s “cores” work in a different way, they are technically “execution units” not cores.

AMD 14.11 Beta Driver Gets Released To The Press, First Impressions Revealed

Reports are that AMD has finally released the Catalyst 14.1 beta to the press. The driver is said to bring along the first release of Mantle, AMD’s ambitious 3D graphics API to rival Direct3D and OpenGL. The Catalyst 14.1 beta is said to enable the 3D renderer option in Battlefield 4, which lets you choose between DirectX 11.1 and Mantle.

TechPowerUp apparently gave it a try and they reported that the first ‘impressions’ about AMD’s mantle were nothing close to amazing. The difference between Mantle and non-Mantle systems is currently not noticeable on a Radeon R9 290 graphics card, having all settings set to 1920 x 1080 resolution, Ultra details and 4x MSAA on Battlefield 4. It is reported that the game runs smooth and well over 60 on both Mantle and non-Mantle settings. However, TechPowerUp point out that owners of a Radeon R9 270X will see a significant increase having the same settings applied, whereas on non-Mantle specs, the game’s FPS would drop below 60 FPS. Also, the driver is reported not to be optimized for any of the Graphics CoreNext (GCN) based GPUs other than Radeon R9 290 series, R9 260X, and A-Series “Kaveri” APUs.

TechPowerUp’s specs were as following: 8 GB of DCh DDR3-1333 memory, an AMD 990FX motherboard (ASUS M5A99FX-PRO R2.0, 2201 BIOS, UEFI mode); Windows 8.1 64-bit, and of course, a Radeon R9 290 (BIOS: 015.042.000.000.003747). The game settings are said to be 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution, disabled V-Sync, “Ultra” preset, HBAO, and 4x MSAA. We used the “PerfOverlay.FrameFileLogEnable 1” console command to spit out CSV files with frame-times in ms.

A 167-second playthrough on the single-player campaign chapter “Fishing in Baku,” was performed with the above specs, first being a non-Mantle test. An average frame-time of 16.26 ms, which works out to 61.5 fps. For Mantle, the same 167-second mark was performed, and the average frame-time was 14.45 ms, which works out to 69.2 fps. Overall, a 12.5 percent performance uplift was recorded. It is not much, but given the driver is still a Beta and still not optimized for anything other than the R9 290 series and R29X (if the optimization is final for those as well), we can see the 319% increase stated by AMD in the future.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information

AMD Kaveri Dual Graphics To Work Only With Select R7 GDDR3 Graphic Cards

AMD has finally launched the Kaveri APUs equipped with the latest Dual Graphics iGPU which was noted to work in crossfire with some graphic cards. We were all exited to see it in action, but AMD came to a bit of a disappointment here.

It is said that the iGPUs will work in crossfire only with the latest Radeon R7 series. Nothing wrong about that, however there is a VRAM type restriction as well. It will only be compatible with the R7 graphic cards that have GDDR3. Having a look at what R7 series cards come with GDDR3, we can see that only the early Radeon R7 240 and Radeon R7 250 have the required compatibility specs. They are the entry level R7 series graphic cards, and further tests courtesy of WCCF show that they are not even suited for games.

AMD has released some performance benchmarks with the AMD A10-7850K and the 2GB GDDR3 Radeon R7 240, but they only show that the PCs are capable of running Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider on PCs that are not capable of running the games with only the previously mentioned graphics card. This shows that the APUs are only destined to give a performance boots to lower-end PCs and will not serve, as we all expected, as a crossfire hybrid between the latest R7 cards and the APUs for the ultimate kick in performance.

Whether or not AMD will tweak the APUs in being compatible with higher-end R7 graphics cards, and not only GDDR3 memory, we will just have to wait and see. Until then, gamers will still have to rely on their top-of-the-line graphic cards to achieve that desired performance.

Thank you WCCF for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of WCCF

Leaked AMD A10-7850K Kaveri APU Cinebench Benchmark Revealed

AMD Kaveri APUs are expected to launch early next year housing SteamrollerB CPU cores and GCN 2.0 graphics. 3DMark scores have also been leaked of the flagship AMD A10-7850K APU, making it 40% faster than Haswell Core i5-4570K. The latest leak comes form a Japanese website leaked Cinebench R15 CPU benchmarks of A10-7850K as well.

It is said that AMD A10-7850K Kaveri APU will feature four SteamrollerB CPUs cores and GCN 2.0 Radeon graphics with DirectX 11.1 and AMD Mantle support. The CPU is expected to be 20% faster compared to Richland while the GPU will have a 30% performance gain over Richland. Kaveri APUs have a major advantage over Intel CPUs in terms of graphics since they come with discrete Radeon graphics iGPUs.

We can see that AMD A10-7850K will be compatible with Socket FM2+ (906) and will come with 4 MB L2 cache. It will also house GCN 2.0 Radeon R7 graphics with 512 Stream processors and the new Turbo Core 3.0 technology. AMD A10-7850K is manufactured using the 28 nm process, other than that not much is revealed. However, the screenshot tells us that the software failed to recognize the AMD A10-7850K’s iGPU, therefore any accurate information cannot be provided. The A10-7850K is reported to be 40% faster than Intel Core i5-4570K in 3DMark and 8% in PCMark 8. The disappoint comes in terms of CPU performance which is measured through Cinebnech R15.

AMD A10-7850K managed to score only 88 points in Cinebench R15 which is even slower than Intle Core i5-3317U (Low Voltage) SoC. Intel’s Core i7 4770K scores nearly double compared to A10-7850K. As long as the SteamrollerB cores do not bottleneck the GPU and compromise the performance in games, I think its good to go. Lets just wait for real world performance numbers.

Thank you Chip Loco for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Chip Loco

ASUS A88X-PRO (FM2+) Motherboard Review

Introduction


With AMD’s fourth generation of AMD APUs, Kaveri, just around the corner it couldn’t be a better time to look at a brand spanking new FM2+ motherboard from ASUS. Today we have the ASUS A88X PRO motherboard on the test bench and this high-end motherboard will make the perfect home for any Kaveri based system. Of course you can use Trinity or Richland APUs too as the FM2+ socket is backwards compatible with FM2 APUs, but the main reason these motherboards have been released is to cater for the new Kaveri APUs that have more CPU and GPU performance than their predecessors.  The ASUS A88X-PRO has already been released in a few markets, including the USA, but in the UK we won’t see this motherboard until some point next month. Of course Kaveri will take until the the end of Q1 to hit the shelves so there’s no rush in that regard. The specifications of the ASUS A88X-PRO FM2+ motherboard are as follows:

ASUS is pushing its 4 Way Optimisation package as one of the key features – this includes the Digi+ power controls, TPU performance boost, EPU energy savings and Fan Xpert 2 fan controlling and monitoring software.

ASUS claim that by enabling their GPU Boost function you can boost the graphics performance of locked APUs from within AI Suite III

ASUS are also using their 5X Protection package which includes digital power stability, overcurrent protection, ESD guards, 5K rated solid caps and a stainless steel shielded rear I/O

Other features of this motherboard included a revised ASUS UEFI BIOS, ASUS Remote GO! support for an advanced home wireless management system, all the latest connectivity (USB 3.0/ PCIe 3.0/ SATA III), AI Suite III, DirectKey (a dedicated “go to BIOS” button) and 4K/Multi-monitor support with the advanced FM2+ graphics that are due to come with Kaveri.

More details can be found on the product page here.

Gigabyte G1 Sniper A88X (FM2+) Motherboard Review

Introduction


AMD are rumoured to be exiting the high end desktop market with the FX series of processors on the AM3+ socket expected to be AMD’s last range of standalone CPU products. Of course the main reason for that decision by AMD, if it does turn out to be true, is that AMD simply cannot compete with Intel at the highest end market segment. However, when it comes to APUs AMD have a distinct advantage thanks to the advanced integrated graphical performance and so AMD’s APU platform isn’t going anywhere any time soon. AMD’s current APU products for the desktop platform are codename “Richland” and they bear the AX-6XXX monikers. The predecessors to those were “Trinity” which were of the AX-5XXX naming system. Of course Trinity and Richland APUs are virtually identical – using the same graphics VLIW4 architecture and the same 32nm Piledriver CPU cores, the main difference between the two is higher clock speeds and improved power efficiency. They are physically identical, both supporting the FM2 and FM2+ sockets on the A55, A75, A85X and A88X chipsets.

What’s coming after Richland is Kaveri, expected early next year Kaveri will run on the FM2+ socket with A88X and A85X motherboards. Today we have with us one of those newer Kaveri-Ready AMD desktop APU motherboards running off the A88X chipset. Of course the fact Kaveri isn’t here yet means we are using AMD’s best Richland APU, the A10 6800K, to test this motherboard as AMD Trinity and Richland APUs are compatible with all FM2+ motherboards.  Specifically we are reviewing Gigabyte’s G1 Sniper A88X motherboard today, this motherboard is Gigabyte’s best gaming offering for AMD’s APU platform featuring support for Trinity, Richland and Kaveri APUs, up to 64GB of 2400MHz memory, high quality audio with interchangeable op-amps, CrossFire support and support for up to 8 SATA III 6Gbps devices. Gigabyte have certainly left no stone unturned as they have tried to cram every feature a gamer could want into an attractively priced package. Below you can see the full specifications of this motherboard:

As always most motherboard vendors want to showcase unique or interesting features their motherboards have. In the case of Gigabyte, if we put the usual Ultra Durable 4 Plus component set aside, the main feature Gigabyte have developed and focused on is the audio implementation. Gigabyte’s extensive modifications start off with a USB digital to analogue converter with an isolated power source maximising the quality of the audio output. Gigabyte have also added Gain Boost switches which can switch between 2.5X and 6X Gain Boost ratios depending on the headphones or speakers being used. 

The star of the show, aside from the gold plated audio hardware, separated PCB and Nichicon Pro Audio caps, is the interchangeable Op-Amps. Gigabyte’s Premium Upgrade Kit, which is sold separately, includes three additional Op-Amps:

  • OP-AMP A – Burr-Brown – OPA2111KP
  • OP-AMP B – Linear Technology – LT1358CN8
  • OP-AMP C – Analog Devices – AD827JNZ

The kit also comes with an IC extractor to help you remove the current Op-Amp to swap in a new one. Of course each Op-Amp gives you a different tonality, different warmth and bass levels and so on. These are really aimed at gamers who are using headphones or 2.1 speakers as only the “green” audio jack is amplified by it. However, it really is quite nice to have the option to customise your audio – it is something we rarely ever see.

AMD A10-7850K and A10-7700K Kaveri A-Series APU Specs Revealed

A little over a month now until AMD would release the Kaveri A10 series, and specs for them have been revealed. The A10-7850K has four Steamroller cores and 512 GCN stream processors, with a max compute of 856 GFLops compared to 779 GFlops on the Richland A10-6800K APU.

The clock speed of the APU is maintained at 3.7 GHz which is presumably the base clock while Turbo clock would push the speeds beyond 4 GHz barrier. The GPU which is positioned in the R7 2**D series is clocked at 720 MHz while the APU itself has 4 MB of L2 cache. The GCN graphics die would feature 8 GPU cores which represent a total of 512 stream processors. The TDP for the A10-7850K would be set at 95W. AMD A10-7850K will support both Mantle API, DirectX 11.2 and OpenGL 4.3 and feature dual graphics functionality with the AMD’s Cape Verde based discrete GPUs.

Taking a look at the A10-7700K, another unlocked chip, we see it featuring the Steamroller core architecture with a max boost clock of 3.8 GHz and base clock of 3.5 GHz. It has 4 MB of L2 cache plus HSA features and True Audio technology support. The GPU side ships with a GCN graphics die featuring 6 shader units equaling to a total of 384 Stream processors clocked at 720 MHz. This part may possibly feature a lower TDP of 65W due to the cut down graphics die but still pack a mean punch in terms of performance.

The Kavri A10 series would be released on 14th January 2014 on the desktop FM2+ platform. The prices are set to be below the $150 / €110 / £92 range.

Thank you WCCF Tech for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of WCCF Tech

AMD Kaveri To Launch On January 14th As A10-7850K

AMD has announced at the developer conference APU13 that it will launch the new AMD Kaveri, also known as A10-7850K, next year on the 14th of January. The statement made by AMD at the conference also points to the CES 2014 where AMD will reveal more details about the Kaveri CPU.

Kaveri will be AMD’s third-gen performance APU and the first with heterogeneous system architecture (HSA) features. It also supports AMD’s TrueAudio technology and its Mantle API. The Kaveri chip boosts 856 GFlops, the core frequency will be 3.7 GHz with a GPU that gets 512 shader units at 720 MHz.

Kaveri boosts devices to the “next level of graphics, compute and efficiency.” To that end, Kaveri is built on up to four “Steamroller” x86, multi-thread cores. In terms of graphics, Kaveri has up to eight Graphics Core Next GPU cores. The GPU carries more of the workload, and a feature called hUMA turns it into a “first-class citizen” when accessing memory. In fact, the GPU is so first class it jams takes up almost 50% of the die and is a 512-core part.

Kaveri’s heterogeneous queuing also brings parity to the processors, and the GPU and CPU are equally equipped to create and dispatch work. Instead of having to communicate through the operating system, the two units communicate workload through queues. AMD claimed it marks the first time a GPU and CPU have uniform visibility into a machine’s entire memory space.

The price is still not known but according to John Taylor, corporate vice president of corporate communication, the price of a single Kaveri APU is cheaper than a CPU and GPU sold separately from competitors. To show Kaveri’s dominance, AMD ran the APU against a combo Intel Core i7 4470K CPU and Nvidia GeForce GT630 GPU in a 1080 x 1920 Battlefield 4 demo. The results outputted showed Kaveri running nearly double the frames for second.

Thank you Guru 3D for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Guru 3D

AMD’s Kaveri APUs Support DDR3 Not GDDR5 Memory

Reports from Chinese sources suggest that AMD’s Kaveri APU will definitely not utilise GDDR5 memory, instead they will carry on using DDR3. Different leaks in the past have suggested that we might see DDR3 or GDDR5, the main reason for the assumption that AMD may have chosen GDDR5 was due to how advanced the graphics portion of the Kaveri APU is becoming. However, GDDR5 will not surface so the Kaveri APUs are effectively limited to a 128-bit memory bus in terms of the graphics part.

That said AMD have significantly redesigned the memory controller to get the most out of the memory limitations and even though the new GPU will be powerful, it will not be powerful enough to warrant more than a 128-bit bus. Early reports suggested that the “best” AMD Kaveri APU part would be roughly equivalent to the recently released AMD Radeon HD 7730 graphics card. It is also worth noting that having to add in GDDR5 memory would do nothing for AMD except add in extra cost to the production process and they’d have to find a way of incorporating that GDDR5 into the APU platform – no easy challenge.

Image courtesy of AMD