AMD has had a tough time competing with Intel on the desktop lately, but when it comes to mobile technology, in the notebook arena, performance, value and power efficiency are measured against a very different yardstick. That's not to say that CPU throughput and IPC isn't important in a notebook, not by a long shot, but multimedia performance in these highly integrated designs can matter much more than desktop designs where discrete graphics engines are easily accommodated.
Back in January of this year, we covered AMD's launch of their Kaveri core-based A8-7600 APU
. Targeted for desktops and with integrated AMD GCN
graphics on board, Kaveri also had a number of optimizations and enhancements made to its Steamroller
CPU cores as well. All told, Kaveri represents a much-needed upgrade to AMD's base APU lineup. Though AMD's new desktop APU still isn't on par with similarly priced Intel processors in CPU performance, AMD's graphics muscle powers Kaveri well past Intel integrated graphics, even versus their latest generation of Haswell
Today we're going to take a look at what AMD's Kaveri architecture can do in a mobile application, a full featured notebook form-factor to be specific, none of that netbook or hybrid clamshell stuff. AMD had us out to sunny San Francisco for a press and analyst day recently, and though we didn't get to take a Kaveri-powered notebook back to the labs for a full-bore benchmark bake-off, we did get to spend some quality time on site with a pre-release whitebook. Let's take a look...
Our AMD Kaveri-Powered Test Machine - A Thin, 15-Inch Compal ODM Unit
|AMD Kaveri Mobile APU Feature Set
|Specifications & Features
AMD's mobile variants of Kaveri sport an identical feature set to the desktop version. In fact, AMD can lay claim to this iteration of Kaveri as the first notebook processor to offer HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture) support with coherent access to unified memory pools and the addition of system level atomic operations for distributing and synchronizing workloads across both CPU and GPU cores...
That may sound like a mouth full but it's not just lip service. Kaveri's HSA architecture is the first of its kind to allow equal visibility to the entire system memory space for either CPU or GPU, along with equal flexibility for both types of engines to create, queue and dispatch work.
Let's take a quick look at the Kaveri mobile architecture and the AMD Kaveri mobile line-up, next.