AMD Keeps Q1 Interesting
AMD refreshes their Q1 CPU and APU offerings with new models and architectures
CES 2016 was not a watershed moment for AMD. They showed off their line of current video cards and, perhaps more importantly, showed off working Polaris silicon, which will be their workhorse for 2016 in the graphics department. They did not show off Zen, a next generation APU, or any AM4 motherboards. The CPU and APU world was not presented in a way that was revolutionary. What they did show off, however, hinted at the things to come to help keep AMD relevant in the desktop space.
It was odd to see an announcement about the stock cooler that AMD was introducing, but when we learned more about it, the more important it was for AMD’s reputation moving forward. The Wraith cooler is a new unit to help control the noise and temperatures of the latest AMD CPUs and select APUs. This is a fairly beefy unit with a large, slow moving fan that produces very little noise. This is a big change from the variable speed fans on previous coolers that could get rather noisy and leave temperatures that were higher in range than are comfortable. There has been some derision aimed at AMD for providing “just a cooler” for their top end products, but it is a push that is making them more user and enthusiast friendly without breaking the bank.
Socket AM3+ is not dead yet. Though we have been commenting on the health of the platform for some time, AMD and its partners work to improve and iterate upon these products to include technologies such as USB 3.1 and M.2 support. While these chipsets are limited to PCI-E 2.0 speeds, the four lanes available to most M.2 controllers allows these boards to provide enough bandwidth to fully utilize the latest NVMe based M.2 drives available. We likely will not see a faster refresh on AM3+, but we will see new SKUs utilizing the Wraith cooler as well as a price break for the processors that exist in this socket.
AMD is offering three new processors that will show up in the FM2+ motherboards that are currently in the market. These are the A10-7860K, the A6-7470K, and the brand new Athlon X4 845. These are a decent refresh of the line that adds some significant features for a low, low price.
The A10-7860K is a “Godavari” based APU that inherits its design from the previous Kaveri architecture. This features 4 Steamroller cores (2 modules) as well as the full 8 GPU cores. Where this differs is the clock speeds and TDPs. The 7860 goes from 3.6 GHz to 4.0, which is a little odd considering that the previous 7850K goes from 3.7 GHz to 4.0 GHz. The big change up here is that the graphics clock goes from the 720 MHz of Kaveri up to 757 MHz in the Godavari 7860. Also, this APU is rated at 65 watts TDP rather than the 95 watts TDP of the Kaveri lineup. AMD is giving up a little bit in CPU performance for a big gain in graphics and overall TDP. This is not revolutionary, but it is a small step forward to make AMD more competitive when it comes to TDPs and overall performance.
The A6-7470K is another unlocked APU that features a two core product with competitive clock speeds. It runs from 3.7 GHz to 4.0 GHz. The GPU portion is cut down to 4 GCN units as compared to the 8 in the 7860K. The GPU does run at 800 MHz, which will make up some of that difference. This chip is a 65 watt part also, but it is also very inexpensive. The official price has not been released, but it is going to be well under $100 US.
Finally, we have what might be the most interesting part from AMD this round. Last year, we were introduced to the Carrizo APU, which featured the latest Excavator cores that provided high power efficiency as well as a denser design for smaller die sizes. These parts were limited to the mobile market and featured TDPs up to 35 watts. Now, AMD is introducing a part based on Carrizo, but without the GPU portion enabled. The Athlon X4 845 features 4 Excavator cores (2 modules) with no GPU active. This is another 65 watt part that runs at 3.5 GHz base and goes up to 3.8 GHz. There are some limitations here, though. It only features 2 MB of L2 cache vs. the 4 MB of the 7860K. It also cut down the amount of PCI-E 3.0 lanes from Kaveri/Godavari parts so that it only supports X8 PCI-E 3.0, rather than the full X16. This part is lower clocked, but it could make up some performance with the IPC improvements that the Excavator architecture brings.
Their APUs are better then
Their APUs are better then they currently get credit for. Fingers crossed for 14-16nm, the next cpu will make everything better (and then we wake up).
Getting closer to Intel in
Getting closer to Intel in process tech is a pretty big deal. Getting away from Bulldozer (and those lessons learned) is just as important. AMD has a lot of work ahead of them not only in CPU architecture, but also more adequately integrating GPUs into the CPUs. Not that they are doing a bad job now, but there are certainly limitations to their current implementation.
Polaris or bust.
Polaris or bust.
Rumours of AMD’s death are
Rumours of AMD’s death are greatly exaggerated
That 3rd to last slide states
That 3rd to last slide states that Wraith will be available on the A10-7860K but the last slide only states it is on the FX 8370 with the 7860 getting the 95W thermal solution. Is there going to be a premium SKU for the 7860 offered that comes with the Wraith?
“Last year, we were
“Last year, we were introduced to the Carrizo APU, which featured the latest Excavator cores that provided high power efficiency as well as a denser design for smaller die sizes. These parts were limited to the mobile market and featured TDPs up to 35 watts.”
With most Carrizo laptop parts OEM restricted to 15 watts max, and no DDR4 support, so maybe with FM4/mobile variant there will be some mobile laptop parts able to run at 35 watts and have DDR4 memory, before Zen gets to market in late 2016 through 2017. Polaris will be great in laptops, with its more energy efficient design, so those future ZEN laptop based APUs can be paired with a discrete mobile Polaris GPU for dual APU and discrete GPU laptop gaming. The really big potential story is maybe a Zen Based APU on an interposer for laptops, with a much more beefy GPU on the interposer along with the Zen cores and HBM! Let’s hope the laptop OEMs don’t continue to gimp the laptop SKUs that come with AMD’s APUs!
Give me Excavator on AM3+..
Give me Excavator on AM3+.. or release AM4 now and give me Excavator untill Zen is out.. come on..
But wishful thinking that Zen will bring all some of us are hoping for. The needed competition 🙂
Still, Excavator would give a needed boost to AM3+ platform, the last farewell and a needed upgrade. And seeing as this would be 2 generations a head, we would be talking around 10-13% IPC boost. Not much, but for AMD fans it would be nice to have. In 8 core variant 🙂
I think FM2+ is a more ideal
I think FM2+ is a more ideal platform than AM3+. FM2+ has PCI-E 3.0, while AM3+ is limited to 2.0. The A88X chipset on the FM2+ platform is newer and better featured than the latest AM3+ chipset (990FX).
Both platforms are pretty much dead this year, but until they’re in the ground, FM2+ is still kicking, and ought to be a better platform for Excavator.
The disappointing part is that there IS an Excavator part for FM2+ now (or, it’s coming) – the Athlon X4 845 – and it’s a mobile part limited to x8 PCI-E 3.0 lanes. *facepalm* C’mon AMD. Bring us an Athlon X4 885, four Excavator cores and all x16 PCI-E lanes enabled.
That new AMD stock cooler is
That new AMD stock cooler is very aesthetically pleasing – meanwhile, Intel is cutting stock coolers from their newer CPUs and not even adjusting the price to compensate for it…
AMD APUs are very unappreciated, I understand that they’re old (relatively) but you seriously can’t beat the price for what they offer. (I’m talking general desktop use and maybe some productivity – obviously not gaming or major productivity programs)
Hopefully Zen will allow AMD to keep a few paces behind Intel, and I have a feeling that Polaris is going to be a big win for AMD in 2016.
I’m hoping their high-end HBM2 GPU is one of the first to be released as I’m looking for something beefy to game with 4K
^ yep for everyday computing,
^ yep for everyday computing, the APUs are were its at.
and whats with the 845? the 860k is faster so why are they coming out with a “new” slower quad core?
Gotta unload those cores that
Gotta unload those cores that are not fully functional for the mobile market?
That’s not correct. The 860K
That’s not correct. The 860K clocks at 4.0 GHz with turbo, but it’s Steamroller. Excavator has a ~15% IPC boost according to AMD, so the 845 should be a tad faster – while running at a 65W TDP instead of 95W TDP.
meh, tad faster.. im not
meh, tad faster.. im not really seeing any numbers that back that up.
And the 860k is unlocked and overclocks well.
30watts, thats peanuts in a desktop. I see nothing that make me choose that chip over the 860k
I could have read the article
I could have read the article wrong, but I think the new 845 only has 2MB L2 (or is it L3) cache vs 4MB in the 860k. Does that matter?
more cache is always better.
more cache is always better.
I understand the idea
I understand the idea behind the 7860K, lower power, slightly better gaming performance, etc, but increasing iGPU Core clock by 5% won’t achieve much on a 512 shader part.
I think they’re just optimizing whatever they can before they launch AM4. However, seeing how Intel improves their HD graphics performance each generation with power efficiency superiority, I don’t feel optimistic about AMDs next gen products.
Intel iGP only looks good
Intel iGP only looks good because it is on 14 nm. Being a process generation ahead (or 2 generations plus FinFet) is a big advantage in the GPU space. That advantage will be going away this year. When AMD and Nvidia get their 14 nm parts out, Intel’s IGP not look so good. I also have not seen any Intel tech that will really compete with an APU on a silicon interposer, but everything is a moving target in the tech industry, so Intel will be spending a lot of money on trying to make a better graphics solution.
That’s not true. Intel’s iGPU
That’s not true. Intel’s iGPU architecture is making tremendous strides, and the SP count hasn’t increased since Haswell. The GT2 parts we’re seeing doing very well against AMD’s 384 and 512-SP parts only have 192 SPs (24 EUs * 8 SIMD units each).
You haven’t? You may want to read up on the fully custom Skylake E5/E7 Xeons, because they are bringing iGPU and HBM/HMC onto their highest-end chips.
Intel will always be a
Intel will always be a process generation or two ahead of everyone else. If you look at the performance improvement of Intel iGPUs vs AMDs over the years, the Curve is a lot steeper on Intels side. They improve much more each generation than AMD, and they surpassed them a while back.
has intel ever done anything
has intel ever done anything decent in the graphic dept.
say it loud enough
“intel integrated graphics” someone will UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
To be fair, they are
To be fair, they are competitive with AMD now. They’ve really spent three straight CPU refresh cycles upgrading their GPU tech, and it shows.
The “competitive” intel
The “competitive” intel graphics are in intel processors that cost 3x as much as AMD ones do.
exactly, so when they win,
exactly, so when they win, they still lose.
intel pricing can go take a leap.
They work well for what they
They work well for what they are designed for. Low power and rendering 2D.
“Can It Run Desktop” is what the vast majority of users ask of their PCs.
I just got the AMD A10-7870k
I just got the AMD A10-7870k Godavari and on the ASUS Crossblade Ranger it seem to run well sofar. Only had it a few days now and still trying to get the overclock setting right, ran RealBench V2.43 and best score sofar is 70062. http://rog.asus.com/realbench/show_comment.php?id=11666
With just the built-in GPU R7 (Spectre) and it still score good.