AMD Updates Carrizo APU Roadmap, Announces New Mantle, FreeSync Partners

AMD's Future of Compute event was this week and the company has made a number of announcements regarding new technology and the future of its HSA, Mantle, and FreeSync projects. First up, there's Carrizo, AMD's upcoming follow-on to Kaveri and the first chip to use its "Excavator" CPU cores.

AMD is projecting that both Carrizo and Carrizo-L will launch in the first half of 2015. Typically, for AMD, that means the May or June timeframe. The company hasn't said much about features or capabilities of these new parts, though its press release does note that Carrizo will support "4K experiences." OpenCL 2.0 and the official HSA 1.0 specification will both be baked into Carrizo.


AMD is also claiming that the Excavator CPU inside Carrizo will be optimized for lower power operation, include additional circuitry for power optimization and intelligent boost control. The net effect, according to the company, is a 2x boost in "Typical use" power efficiency.

That's an enormous jump for the company to deliver without a process node shift, particularly since GlobalFoundries' 28nm technology should be well finished by now. On the other hand, there may have been more to squeeze out of Kaveri's implementation on that node, and it's possible that AMD has made other tweaks to its power management circuitry to further improve the situation.


Other announcements from the day include new Samsung FreeSync monitors, with the first panels arriving in March, 2015. AMD's FreeSync is the standardized equivalent of Nvidia's G-Sync, and is supposed to deliver essentially the same frame smoothing effect that we previously discussed here. Meanwhile, AMD has signed up another Mantle partner too. Capcom has announced Supreme Street Fighter Turbo Alpha Mantle Millennial Superlative Edition, coming soon to a PC near you!

Alright, just kidding on that last part. Capcom has actually announced that its Panta-Rhei gaming engine will support AMD's Mantle API. The Panta Rhei engine hasn't been discussed as much as products from Crytek or EA, but it's the next-generation engine that Capcom is using for development on now-current consoles like the Xbox One and PS4.

It's not clear if AMD's deal with Capcom is as far-reaching as last-year's agreement with EA over Frostbite. Thus far, every game that uses the Frostbite engine has also deployed Mantle at some point. Capcom may or may not follow an equivalent strategy.

Putting it all together

The presentations AMD laid out today often borrowed from older material the company has previously shown. The meat of these announcements was a focus on AMD's continued relevance and its long-term roadmaps for success.

It would've been nice to see more info on any upcoming GPU announcements, or the future of AMD once the Bulldozer-class CPUs are finished. Data on the company's ARM plans remains tightly guarded as well. We are, however, optimistic for Carrizo and Carrizo-L. Kaveri performed best against Intel in low power environments, where its integrated graphics can shine and power constraints favored the chip's design. If Carrizo can deliver on these fronts, it should keep AMD in the running for 2015, until the company can debut its next-generation ARM and x86 chips.