AMD Mobile Kaveri SKUs

The previous generation Trinity/Richland APUs came in four variants: at the top were the highest performance 35W TDP standard voltage (SV) parts, and then we dropped into the ultra-low voltage (ULV) range with several variations: 25W, 19W, and 17W TDPs were all available. With Kaveri, AMD is mostly consolidating their lineup into two classes: SV 35W TDP parts, and ULV 19W TDP parts. AMD did mention at one point that the 19W parts can be configured to target different TDPs, however, allowing the laptop OEM to target anywhere from 15W to 25W if desired. There's also at least one 17W TDP part, which we'll get to in a moment.

One other item that AMD emphasized was their new idea of "Compute Cores", which is a way for them to compare performance potential of CPU and GPU cores. GPUs typically have hundreds of cores that are good for very specific tasks whereas CPUs have a few cores that are general purpose, but the GPU functionality is becoming increasingly complex so AMD wanted a way to compare them. For the purposes of Kaveri (and GCN graphics cards), AMD has defined a Compute Core as being "any core capable of running at least one process in its own context and virtual memory space, independently from other cores." What that means is each GCN Compute Unit counts as a Compute Core, and each CPU thread (two per Steamroller module) counts as a Compute Core.

AMD 35W Standard Voltage Mobile APUs
 
Trinity
Richland
Kaveri
Model A10-4600M A8-5557M A10-5757M A8-7200P A10-7400P FX-7600P
Core Name Trinity Richland Richland Kaveri Kaveri Kaveri
Microarch Piledriver Piledriver Piledriver Steamroller Steamroller Steamroller
Modules/Cores 2/4 2/4 2/4 2/4 2/4 2/4
CPU Base Freq 2300 2100 2500 2400 2500 2700
Max Turbo 3200 3100 3500 3300 3400 3600
TDP 35W 35W 35W 35W 35W 35W
L1 Cache 128KB I$
64 KB D$
128KB I$
64 KB D$
128KB I$
64 KB D$
192 KB I$
64 KB D$
192 KB I$
64 KB D$
192 KB I$
64 KB D$
L2 Cache 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB
Graphics HD 7660G HD 8550G HD 8650G R5 R6 R7
GPU Cores 384 256 384 256 384 512
GPU Clock 685 720 720 626 654 686
Max DDR3 1600 1600 1600 1866 1866 2133

Starting at the top with the 35W APUs, these will be the highest performance mobile parts. At launch there will be three 35W APUs: the "entry" A8-7200P, "mainstream" A10-7400P, and "enthusiast" FX-7600P. All three APUs use the P suffix to indicate that they’re 35W parts. And right away, we see some interesting changes from the Trinity/Richland lineup.

First, you're sure to notice the use of the FX branding. Make no mistake: this is the same APU as the other Kaveri parts and it has no relation to the desktop FX processors; AMD marketing simply feels the FX brand has a good reputation among enthusiasts and consumers and they wanted to carry that over into the mobile world. Of course this also solves the question of what to call the new highest-end APU; Llano had A4/A6/A8 while Trinity used A6/A8/A10; Kaveri will use A6/A8/A10/FX (so no A12 for now; sorry).

Looking at the core clocks, the base clocks haven't changed too much (2.4-2.7GHz with Kaveri compared to 2.1-2.5GHz on Richland), but Turbo Core clocks have gone up quite a bit. AMD noted that a lot of work went into tuning the mobile Kaveri APUs for power, with one of only four Corporate Fellows at AMD being in charge of that area. The result is that Kaveri should run closer to its Turbo clock in many situations, and the maximum clock speeds have increased from 3.0-3.5GHz on Trinity/Richland to 3.3-3.6GHz on Kaveri. That might not seem like a big deal at first, but keep in mind a couple of points. First, at the same clock speed the Steamroller cores in Kaveri should be about 15-20% faster than the Piledriver cores in Trinity/Richland, thanks to architectural improvements. Second, on the desktop Richland actually topped out at 4.1/4.4GHz while Kaveri only reaches 3.7/4.0GHz, so while Kaveri still enjoys architectural improvements it had to be clocked slower; we don’t see that with the mobile parts.

AMD's Joe Macri (Corp VP and Product CTO Global Business Unit) discussed some of the design decisions that went into Kaveri, noting that choosing the right type of transistor for an APU is different than building a pure CPU. At a high level, there are “V” shaped transistors frequently used with CPUs that can run at higher clock speeds, and “T” shaped transistors that tend to work better in the highly parallel design of GPU cores. From what I could gather, AMD used "V" transistors in Trinity/Richland but has switched to "T" transistors for Kaveri, which explains the drop in maximum clock speed. Joe also noted that 47% of the Kaveri core is dedicated to GPU, again highlighting the importance of the transistor choice.

Moving over to the GPU side of things, each of the 35W APUs comes with a different GPU configuration, using 256, 384, or 512 stream processors for the A8/A10/FX parts, respectively. GPU clock speeds top out at 686MHz with Kaveri compared to 720MHz with Richland, so this is another small step back but GCN’s architectural efficiency and increase in SPUs in the FX-7600P should more than compensate. That said, feeding these increasingly powerful GPUs becomes an increasingly difficult task, which is why maximum memory clock speeds are up to 1866MHz for the A8 and A10, and meanwhile the FX processor goes one further to 2133MHz. Given just how hard it is to feed a fully enabled APU like the FX-7600P – a problem we’ve already seen on the similarly configured desktop SKUs – the memory bandwidth increase is a welcome sight.

AMD 17W Ultra-Low Voltage Mobile APUs
 
Trinity
Richland
Kaveri
Model A4-4455M A4-4145M A6-5345M A6-7000
Core Name Trinity Richland Richland Kaveri
Microarch Piledriver Piledriver Piledriver Steamroller
Modules/Cores 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2
CPU Base Freq 2100 2000 2200 2200
Max Turbo 2600 2600 2800 3000
TDP 17W 17W 17W 17W
L1 Cache 128KB I$
64 KB D$
128KB I$
64 KB D$
128 KB I$
64 KB D$
192 KB I$
64 KB D$
L2 Cache 2MB 1MB 1MB 1MB
Graphics HD 7500G HD 8130G HD 8410G R4
GPU Cores 256 128 192 192
GPU Clock 424 554 600 553
Max DDR3 1333 1333 1333 1600
AMD 19W Ultra-Low Voltage Mobile APUs
 
Trinity
Richland
Kaveri
Model A8-4555M A8-5545M A8-7100 A10-7300 FX-7500
Core Name Trinity Richland Kaveri Kaveri Kaveri
Microarch Piledriver Piledriver Steamroller Steamroller Steamroller
Modules/Cores 2/4 2/4 2/4 2/4 2/4
CPU Base Freq 1600 1700 1800 1900 2100
Max Turbo 2400 2700 3000 3200 3300
TDP 19W 19W 19W 19W 19W
L1 Cache 128KB I$
64 KB D$
128KB I$
64 KB D$
192 KB I$
64 KB D$
192 KB I$
64 KB D$
192 KB I$
64 KB D$
L2 Cache 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB
Graphics HD 7600G HD 8510G R5 R6 R7
GPU Cores 384 384 256 384 384
GPU Clock 424 554 514 533 553
Max DDR3 1333 1333 1600 1600 1600

Moving on to the 17W/19W parts, there's apparently a single 17W APU, the A6-7000, along with three 19W APUs. (AMD didn't provide details on the A6-7000 at the briefing, but we've since confirmed the above specifications, and there's also a Pro equivalent -- see below.) Richland had two 17W parts and one 19W part, so AMD has sort of flipped roles here. As expected the 17W A6-7000 is a rather lean chip; it has one Steamroller module and 192 GCN steaming processors (for a total of five Compute Cores, if you're counting), with a base/turbo CPU clock speed of 2.2GHz/3.0GHz while the GPU turbo clock stands at 553MHz. Compared to the previous generation Richland processors, the A6-7000 gains all of Kaveri’s architectural improvements along with an additional 200MHz for the maximum CPU turbo clock. GPU clock speeds on the other hand take a hit, but this is offset by GCN’s greater performance and a badly needed increase in the maximum DDR3 memory clock speed. In fact with mobile Kaveri, DDR3-1600 is now the baseline, with all processors supporting 1600 or better.

Meanwhile the 19W parts all have two Steamroller modules, and maximum base/turbo clock speeds only differ by 300MHz; most of the differentiation comes in the GPU department. The A8-7100 includes four GCN CUs, the A10-7300 has six CUs with slightly higher GPU clocks, and the FX-7500 also has six CUs with another moderate bump in clock speed. AMD has also brought along the "R-series" branding for the GPUs, so the A6-7000 gets an R4 GPU, the A8 is an R5, A10 gets an R6, and the FX has an R7 GPU. Maximum GPU clocks are again down in some cases compared with Richland, though architectural difference should more than cover any loss in clock speed.

AMD 17/19W Commercial Pro Series ULV APUs
Model A6 Pro-7050B A8 Pro-7150B A10 Pro-7350B
Core Name Kaveri Kaveri Kaveri
Microarch Steamroller Steamroller Steamroller
Modules/Cores 1/2 2/4 2/4
CPU Base Freq 2200 1900 2100
Max Turbo 3000 3200 3300
TDP 17W 19W 19W
L1 Cache 192 KB I$
64 KB D$
192 KB I$
64 KB D$
192 KB I$
64 KB D$
L2 Cache 1MB 2x2MB 2x2MB
Graphics R4 R5 R6
GPU Cores 192 384 384
GPU Clock 533 533 553
Max DDR3 1600 1600 1600

There's one final category of APUs, which appear to be AMD's equivalent of Intel's SIPP (Stable Image Platform Program) CPUs: the AMD Pro Series. There are three Pro APUs, the A10 Pro-7350B, A8 Pro-7150B, and A6 Pro-7050B. These APUs are functionally equivalent to the FX-7500, A10-7300, and A6-7000 respectively. The Pro series targets business customers with a message of commercial stability and management. AMD guarantees that these APUs will remain available for an extended period of time, so enterprise customers won't need to worry about validating new hardware for a couple years.

Besides offering different levels of performance, AMD is also differentiating their Kaveri APUs based on other features. Eyefinity and TrueAudio support will be limited to the A10 and FX APUs; the A6/A8 APUs lose this functionality. Similarly, the A6 does not have Dual Graphics functionality; I didn't have much luck with Dual Graphics on Richland/Trinity laptops, but with the iGPU and dGPU both being GCN architectures now there's at least more potential to extract additional performance through CrossFire. Finally, note that the A6 APUs get ARM TrustZone functionality, whereas the higher-end A8, A10, and FX APUs do not.

All of the above was discussed previously (and then pulled), but we have something new to add with today's launch: a performance preview.

Introducing AMD's Mobile Kaveri APUs AMD Kaveri FX-7600P System/CPU Performance Preview
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  • Gondalf - Thursday, June 5, 2014 - link

    "maybe even better" i have some doubts, AMD has a process disasvantage that is a damnation in those uses where the cpu works at very low voltage or stay idle for a little. Web surfing is an example.
    Mullins has showed that AMD main weakness is there, being behind Qualcomm (TSMC) and Intel (in house) in idle power.
    Reply
  • Shivansps - Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - link

    Wait, why they are comparing it to a 15W ULV I7? for the same price you can get a Acer Aspire V3-772G-9822, its a I7 QM+760M.. Reply
  • takeship - Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - link

    Comparing these chips to the haswell mobile i7 quads would only show that AMD has stopped competing in CPU perf. The cinebench scores tell that story - my old workhorse i5-520M from 4 years ago scores higher in both single & multi than these chips. I think the graphics scores also make it apparent that memory bandwidth is a big issue for GCN, and even 2133ddr3 doesn't cut it. 4x the gpu cores as kabini, with only 2x the output. What AMD desperately needs is an OEM that will put their chips in a design that doesn't look and perform like a black friday door buster. Sadly, with Intel's ultrabooks all calling for 17w cooling systems (and broadwell will be less!) there just aren't that many compelling (read: apple-like fashionable) 35w designs for AMD to hope they get recycled into. Reply
  • parkerm35 - Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - link

    "a big issue for GCN, and even 2133ddr3 doesn't cut it"

    It was using 1866MHz ram.
    Reply
  • jabber - Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - link

    They probably gave up competing because 95% of the customers stopped caring around 2006 onwards. Reply
  • iTzSnypah - Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - link

    I think the next step AMD should make in APU progression is the addition of DRAM on die. It's more efficient than adding more GPU cores for performance and you have hUMA so the CPU cores could take advantage of it too. Reply
  • Novaguy - Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - link

    Except that 3000mhz ddr4 is coming out, so why invest time and r&d into on die dram for that next chip? Reply
  • CarrellK - Friday, June 6, 2014 - link

    What you are asking for is an Xbox One APU. DRAM on die is not a trivial choice. The amount of DRAM you'd want to add is not insignificant and thus the amount of die area consumed would be very significant. To use the inevitably limited amounts of on-die DRAM introduces tremendous complexities in software, as coders have to special case the use of the high-bandwidth on-die DRAM and manage its use very carefully. You can do that with consoles, not with PCs. And the XBox One APU is at different cost/power/etc. points than Kaveri.

    There are other solution paths, but that isn't suitable for a comment to a comment in a review article.
    Reply
  • Meaker10 - Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - link

    Is it a faux "FX" chip or is it unlocked? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - link

    It's not unlocked, but what would the point be? Let's just say my experience with overclocking laptops is that there's usually a reason 99% of laptops don't allow it. Huge notebooks with much beefier coolers can try, but even then we often get only marginal bumps in performance. Reply

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