CHIP DESIGNER AMD has released its third generation desktop accelerated processing units (APUs) codenamed Richland, which are based on its Piledriver CPU architecture.
AMD's Richland APUs are coming out almost exactly a year after the firm launched its much revamped Trinity chips. However this time the firm has stuck to tweaking existing technology with Richland rather than introducing a new architecture.
Therefore AMD's Richland desktop APUs continue to be based on its Piledriver architecture, with all but the A6-6400K being quad-core parts. The firm has also tweaked the GPU core, which is now branded as a Radeon HD 8000 series part, but is still not based on the firm's Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture, which is expected to appear later this year with Kaveri.
AMD's top of the range Richland APU is the A10-6800K, an unlocked quad-core processor that runs at a base frequency of 4.1GHz and can be boosted to 4.4GHz and has 4MB of Level 2 cache. The firm's Radeon HD 8670D GPU sports 384 cores and runs at 844MHz, all with a top-end TDP of 100W, however the locked A10-6700 has exactly the same specification but its CPU clock speed is cut down to 3.9GHz and boosted to 4.2GHz, all of which leads to a TDP of 65W.
Just as The INQUIRER reported last year, AMD's Richland APUs will continue to use Socket FM2, meaning that those customers that have Trinity processors can simply drop in the chip. For AMD this is particularly important, as the firm wants to ensure that OEMs that have tooled up with motherboard partners do not need to go through the process of validating another manufacturer or board with their systems.
While AMD's Richland still makes use of pre-GCN graphics architecture, that the firm has managed to squeeze a bit more performance out of it is pretty impressive, and given that Intel's Haswell graphics are unlikely to challenge Richland it makes sense for AMD to save GCN for Kaveri.
For AMD the problem with Richland is that it has already announced that Kaveri will be coming out later this year and that it will be the first chip to support its Heterogenous System Architecture, meaning that it is a significant new part rather than a refresh of an existing part. That said, AMD's Richland should manage to hold the fort against Intel's Core i3 and low-end Core i5 parts until Kaveri makes its entrance later this year. µ