If you’d been hoping for AMD to stick the new Steamroller cores into a new line of dedicated gaming CPUs you might well be sorely disappointed to find the new FX silicon is actually just another APU. When I say "just another APU," I am talking about the brand new mobile version of the Kaveri architecture.
AMD’s latest processor design is probably the most interesting new chip from the Texan silicon giant since they released their Bulldozer FX chips on the world. And, on first glance at the performance metrics, it would be just as easy to dismiss the new APU as a bit of a failure.
But there is more to the A10-7850K - the APU formerly known as Kaveri - than meets the eye, though it might be a while before its promise is completely realised. Let’s talk about the actual processor performance first though. It’s pretty unspectacular.
AMD have excitedly announced they’re going to be shipping the new Kaveri APU just after the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas a couple of weeks after the new year. But what about their straight desktop FX line of processors?
According to the roadmap AMD released this month 2014 is going to see it’s ‘Performance’ lineup of CPUs sticking with the 32nm Piledriver revision of its wildly unsuccessful Bulldozer architecture. Only the new Kaveri APUs will get the new, updated Steamroller design, starting with the AMD A10-7850K, and that’s a massive shame. One of the big problems with the original Bulldozer design was the lack of single-threaded performance from the new chips - weaker in fact than the processors they were meant to be replacing.
There’s an unconfirmed rumour that AMD’s next best-ever APU, code-named Kaveri, has been delayed again. Previously, it was touted for a release early next year, which then reportedly slipped to later in 2013 - now it's claimed that the launch of the next-gen chip is being put back to 2014.
Notoriously reliable (wink) SemiAccurate is reporting insider claims that AMD is rejigging the Kaveri chips so that they are more competitive with the upcoming Haswell chips from Intel. Haswell is the architectural successor to the phenomenally successful Ivy Bridge CPUs, with the big change coming in the graphics performance of the next-gen chip.
AMD has released more details about its upcoming Trinity desktop APUs today, showing off a bit more information about how the new Piledriver cores work and their estimated performance. Today's announcement excludes the desktop FX line, but gives us more of an idea of how competitive they'll be against Intel's Ivy Bridge.
Trinity was launched for laptops earlier in the year, so today's announcement is about updating the rest of the APU line to the new architecture.