Advanced Micro Devices is bringing the capabilities of its “Kaveri” desktop processors to notebooks with the unveiling of its AMD Pro A-series offerings.
AMD officials introduced the new accelerated processing units (APUs) June 4 at the Computex 2014 show in Taiwan, saying new features will enable the company to more closely compete with larger rival Intel in the business laptop market.
Like the desktop-focused A-Series “Kaveri” APUs launched in January, the new mobile chips come with the company’s latest “Steamroller” CPU core and it Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture, including Radeon R7 graphics technology. The chips feature up to 12 cores—four compute cores and eight GPUs—and support for UltraHD 4K resolution applications; they also include AMD’s TrueAudio technology for improved sound in systems.
In addition, the Pro A-series chips will be the first to bring the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA), which is designed to make it easier to move workloads between the CPU and GPU. Before, workloads were sent to the CPU, which then decided whether to move them to the GPU. With HSA, workloads immediately go to whichever element will work best, which AMD officials have said improves the performance and efficiency of the systems.
Through HSA, the CPU and GPU “become more than just a collection of IP on one piece of silicon,” Kevin Lansing, senior director of mobility solutions for AMD’s Client Business Unit, said during a press conference held before Computex opened. The CPU and GPU become “equal citizens.”
During the press briefing, Lansing said AMD was intent on ramping up its presence in the business notebook space by offering a dedicated commercial line of APUs. The vendor is adding to that by promising more stability in the software image and fewer changes to the BIOS and drivers, all moves to make businesses more comfortable adopting PCs powered by the newest AMD chips.
AMD also is rolling out the first of its FX-branded APU for notebooks for gamers and enthusiasts.
The overall experience is better for the users of notebooks running the new mobile APUs, and for developers writing applications to them, according to Bernd Lienhard, corporate vice president and general manager of the Client Business Unit.
“The ‘Kaveri’ mobile APU brings power, performance and revolutionary features that enable better user experiences,” Lienhard wrote in a post on the AMD blog. “It is rare that a single product has so many firsts, but ‘Kaveri’ combines the power of AMD’s Steamroller x86 CPU and GCN GPU architectures, HSA and AMD TrueAudio technology all in one package.”
AMD noted the range of notebook and desktops powered by the chip vendor’s new offerings that are being announced Computext from such vendors as Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, Dell, Acer, Asus and Toshiba. The HP business PCs featuring the new AMD APUs that were rolled out at the show include the EliteBook 725, 745 and 755 G2 notebooks, EliteOne all-in-one and EliteDesk desktops.
According to AMD officials, the latest mobile APUs best comparable chips from Intel in such areas as compute and graphics performance and compute and graphics performance-per-watt.