AMD is banking on that an update to its line of Kaveri hybrid CPU/GPU chips will win the hearts of system builders and turn the tides on the chip maker's battle for relevance in the PC industry currently dominated by Intel.
On Monday, AMD unveiled the next-gen Kaveri accelerated processing unit (APU) for its 2014 A-Series APU lineup of desktop x86 PC processors. Kaveri APUs feature a powerful combination of AMD processing technologies, such as Steamroller, Graphics Core Next, HSA/HUMA, Mantle, DX 11.2 and Mantle API support.
Todd Swank, senior director of product marketing at Equus, a system builder based in Minnetonka, Minn., said AMD's lead in graphics has given it enormous credibility among system builders, but it faces an uphill battle cracking Intel's dominance in the desktop and mobile chip space. "Our customers aren't asking for AMD, and even if AMD can bump performance by a few CPU cycles. It's still not giving us sufficient enough reasons to differentiate our product line."
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AMD said its 2014 Kaveri lineup will include models A10-7850K, A10-7700K, with the A8-7600 launching in the first quarter of 2014. The flagship Kaveri A10-7850K APU features 4 Steamroller cores, 4 MB L2 Cache and clock speeds of 3.0GHz base and 4.0GHz turbo.
AMD touts the new Kaveri architecture as having 50 percent more GPU performance and 20 percent better x86 interprocess communication (IPC) over its previous generation A10-6800K APU and Intel's Core i5-4670K.
AMD also used CES as a platform to promote its Radeon HD brand, stressing the chip makers' doubling-down on gaming PCs and game consoles. AMD had a solid 2013, as it sped down its transformative path as a provider of CPU and graphics cores for Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4 gaming consoles. Building on that success, AMD's new Radeon HD 8000M series graphics cards are aimed at notebook PCs and consoles.
AMD made headlines last year for its Opteron X2150 X Series APU, which was the chip maker's first foray into the low-powered server processor market.
AMD also said it was updating its A4, A6, A8 and A10 APUs -- desktop processors that combine the power of multicore CPUs with AMD Radeon's graphic technology in one energy-efficient chip. Device maker Asus was on hand at AMD's CES press event along with Hewlett-Packard. Asus showed its VivoBook U38 series ultraportable notebook running the A-series APU, and HP featured its Pavilion TouchSmart Sleekbook laptop powered by the A8 APU.
Later in the press conference, another OEM, Vizio, demonstrated the AMD Z-60 APU, powering upcoming touch-capable, all-in-one desktops and thin and ultraportable laptops.
Better Than Intel
Of course, AMD used the opportunity to claim an edge over its archrival Intel's new low end of the performance Core i3 processor. AMD showed off its low-power variants, code-named Kabini and Temash (based on AMD's Jaguar architecture). The chips handily outperformed Intel's Core i3 when it came to performance and battery life.
Likewise, AMD claims that in system performance, the new Kaveri models (A10-6800K and A10-7850K) outperform Intel's Core i5 4670K by 15 percent and 24 percent, respectively.
"We are always waiting and watching for AMD to get its edge back over Intel. But ever since Intel introduced its Core products, AMD has struggled," Swank said. "The battle lines for AMD aren't being cooler, quieter and cheaper anymore. The fight right now is mobile and ARM-based chips that will power the 'Internet of Things.' AMD's strength is graphics, low-powered chips destined for microservers. We are keeping our eyes on both AMD and those markets to grow. We are rooting for AMD," he said.
AMD also revealed at CES a partnership with BlueStacks, a company that specializes in software that allows virtual Android-based applications to run on Windows-based machines. The two firms announced a partnership to develop a suite of applications optimized for AMD's fourth-generation APUs that allow Android OS apps to run on Windows-based tablets, 2-in-1 devices, notebooks and desktops.
PUBLISHED JAN. 7, 2014