AMD Serves 7th Gen Bristol Ridge And Stoney Ridge APU Appetizers Ahead Of Zen Main Course

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Intel is making headlines at Computex this week with its outrageous Core i7-6950X deca-core processor, which comes with an equally outrageous price tag. However, AMD also came to Taipei with new processors in-hand, but they’re not nearly as outlandish or expensive as Intel’s latest and greatest enthusiast chips. The company this morning announced its 7th generation A-Series lineup and is looking to deliver high performance and efficiency at unbeatable price points.

The new 7th generation APUs are still built using a 28nm manufacturing process and include Excavator cores throughout the lineup. Despite the fact that we aren’t seeing a die shrink with these APUs, AMD is touting some pretty significant performance gains over previous gen Kaveri and Carrizo. According to AMD, “Bristol Ridge” offers a 56 percent performance improvement over Kaveri, which launched back in 2014. The company also attempts to jab at Intel by highlighting that Skylake has only shown a 25 percent improvement in performance compared to Haswell in the past two years.

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AMD’s 7th generation FX, A12 and A10 Bristol Ridge APU lineup supports up to 2400MHz DDR4 memory and will be compatible with socket AM4 motherboards. Along the way, AMD has made AVFS optimizations to improve both performance and efficiency, and has made other core tweaks to enable higher clock speeds across the board. Software optimizations have also been made to optimize video playback in Windows 10.

Getting down to brass tacks, the A12 is being aimed squarely at the Core i5-6200U, a popular model in many Intel ultrabook SKUs, with AMD claiming that it offers a 31 percent advantage in gaming performance.

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As for the A9, A6, And E2 “Stoney Ridge” APUs, DDR4 memory is supported at speeds up to 2133MHz, and max frequencies have been boosted by up to 1GHz over the previous generation (along with up to a 50 percent increase in GCN core throughput). All of these budget processors feature dual cores with no option to splurge for quad-cores. And you’ll find lower-end Radeon R2/R4/R5 GPUs on board, compared to the beefier Bristol Ridge APUs. However, you’ll still find broad support for HDMI 2.0, PCIe 3.0, H.265 hardware decode and VP9 decode.

Among these Stoney Ridge APUs, AMD specifically draws attention to 7th generation A9, which sports a 3.5GHz max CPU frequency and will go up against the Core i3-6100U. The aggressively-priced processor manages to pull off a 52 percent improvement in processing performance and a 36 percent graphics advantage over the existing A8-7410.

Whatever the performance gains put forth by Bristol Ridge and Stoney Ridge, these chips are primarily just a tasty tease for the big launch that enthusiasts are waiting for at the end of 2016: AMD's forthcoming Zen architecture. AMD is promising at least a 40 percent IPC lift (instructions per clock) with Zen cores compared to Excavator, which will hopefully go a long way towards putting the company on firmer footing against long-time rival Intel.