Much of the focus on AMD's AM4 platform has been Ryzen, which now spans three different product tiers based on the company's Zen architecture (Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, and Ryzen 7). However, Ryzen is not the only processor family that is compatible with AM4. AMD served up 7th generation Bristol Ridge A-series APUs and Athlon X4 processors for AM4 motherboards to system integrators and OEMs in September 2016. Now those chips are headed to retail.
Keeping track of the different architectures can be a bit confusing especially when there is overlap among new sockets. In this case, we are about talking about a different architecture than Zen. These new processors are not using Ryzen cores, nor do they sport updated graphics. Instead, they're based on Bristol Ridge, which features Excavator x86 cores and GCN graphics. While similar to existing FM2+ based APUs, these new chips have DDR4 memory support and a new pin layout and packaging for socket AM4.
The lineup includes eight A-Series APUs ranging in price from $55 to $99, and three Athlon X4 processors, two of which yet to be priced (the middle processor is priced at $59). These are all considered entry-level solutions that are compatible with an advanced platform.
"Engineered to deliver a premium PC experience with superior unlocked performance and efficiency for entry level PCs, 7th Gen A-Series processors include Radeon graphics for impressive gaming and a quad core architecture for responsive computing," AMD says.
Both the A6 9500E (3.0GHz to 3.4GHz) and A6 9500 (3.5GHz to 3.8GHz) have two cores and Radeon R5 graphics. T he rest of the A-series lineup all have four cores and Radeon 7 graphics, with base clockspeeds ranging from 3GHz to 3.8GHz, and boost clocks ranging from 3.4GHz to 4.2GHz. Depending on the chip, TDPs are rated at either 35W or 65W.
As is often the case, AMD emphasizes the GCN graphics performance of its APUs when comparing various options to Intel. Shown above is the A12-9800 priced at $99 trouncing Intel's Pentium G4560 (streets around $80) in 3DMark 11 performance. Its Radeon R7 graphics features 512 stream processors and eight CUs racing along at 1,108MHz.
The PCMark 8 graph is a little less straightforward, though what AMD is depicting is that its A12-9800 offers 100 percent the performance of the Pentium 4560—in other words, they're about equal in productivity chores, as opposed to saying the A12-9800 is 100 percent faster.
In addition to all this, AMD also trotted out Ryzen 3 series processors today. Be sure to read our review of the Ryzen 3 1300X and 1200.