AMD has formally announced its Richland accelerator processing units (APUs,) promising a jump in performance across the A10, A8, A6 and A4 families when they launch later this month - but, thus far, is only talking about the laptop parts.

Originally teased at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year, the Richland APUs are claimed to offer a 20 to 40 per cent boost in performance over current-generation APU products, and will be appearing this year on both desktops and laptops. For now, however, AMD is only detailing the laptop parts, which use the company's latest FS1r2 socket type for embedded and laptop designs.

Based on the Richland APU design, the new products see a single part introduced at all four levels: An A10-5750M, an A8-5550M, an A6-5350M and an A4-5150M. Each comes with a 35W thermal design profile, matching that of previous-generation Trinity-based designs, and include a boost in clock speed over their existing counterparts - likely a large portion of the claimed 20 to 40 per cent performance boost AMD was showing off at CES.

The top-end chip, the A10-5750M, includes an integral AMD Radeon HD 8650G graphics processor with 384 stream processing cores running at 533MHz and boosting to 720MHz, while the four Richland general-purpose cores run at 2.5GHz and hit 3.5GHz in Turbo Core conditions. 4MB of L2 cache is included, split as is usual into two blocks of 2MB for the paired cores, while support for DDR3-1866 memory is included along with DDR3L-1600 and DDR3U-1333 support for lower-power designs.

The A8-5550M, meanwhile, drops the integrated graphics to a Radeon HD 8550G with 256 stream processors running at 515MHz but capable of boosting to the same 720MHz as the A10-5750M, while the Richland cores get a clock speed dip to 2.1GHz and 3.1GHz in Turbo Core mode. The same 4MB of L2 cache is included, but support for DDR3-1866 is lost, with 1,600MHz effective memory the fastest the A8 family can offer.

Dropping to the A6-5350M results in sacrificing significant graphics performance, with the integrated Radeon HD 8450G offering only 192 stream processors albeit at the faster speed of 533MHz boosting to 720MHz. The Richland CPU cores, meanwhile, run at an impressive 2.9GHz boosting to 3.5GHz, but there are but two - and just 1MB of L2 cache between them. Finally, the entry-level A4-5150M drops to a Radeon HD 8350G GPU with 128 stream processors running at 514MHz and boosting to 720MHz, while its dual Richland CPU cores run at 2.7GHz boosting to 3.3GHz with the same 1MB of L2 cache. Both chips top out with DDR3-1600 memory, while also supporting low-power and ultra-low power DDR3L-1600 and DDR3U-1333 modules.

The Piledriver basis for the Richland processors is shared with Trinity, meaning the parts will be a simple drop-in replacement for laptop makers - hence AMD's hopes of seeing the first products based on the chips hitting the market as soon as the end of the month.

When the parts do finally hit retail, they'll come with yet another rebrand for AMD's APU line. Now, the APUs - formerly known as Fusion, then Vision - will come with revised logos that detail the A-series family to which the chip belongs along with the number of processing cores included. The A10 family will also be differentiated from its cheaper brethren with an exclusive 'Elite Quad Core' branding flash.

Formal performance figures for the parts have yet to be confirmed, but AMD is sticking with its claims that chips offer up to 50 per cent greater performance than equivalent Intel parts - including the somewhat disingenuous claim that the A10-5750M is 50 per cent faster than the far more expensive Intel Core i7-3520M, based purely on their respective performance in the DirectX 11 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark using only integrated graphics processing.

The Richland APUs are also the first to support AMD's new library of user experience tweaks, including Face Login, Gesture Control, and Screen Mirror DLNA-compatible display sharing capabilities. If you're wondering whether that's worth getting excited about, have a shufti at the brief demo video below.


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

WEEK IN REVIEW

TOP STORIES

SUGGESTED FOR YOU