We're all waiting for AMD's Zen architecture to arrive on desktop later this year, but in the meantime, the Sunnyvale chip designer has something for the mobile crowd—Bristol Ridge. That's the codename for its 7th generation A-series APUs designed for laptops, which AMD sort of pre-announced today.
Bristol Ridge APUs won't arrive in full force until this summer, though AMD announced their early availability today, which is timed to support a new laptop model by HP. AMD also provided some details about Bristol Ridge.
It's not really so much a new architecture as it is a refresh of an existing one, Carrizo, which AMD launched in 2015. The main thing that Bristol Ridge brings to the table is a DDR4 memory controller. Combined with some tweaks to the underlying architecture, AMD is claiming a 10 percent improvement in performance over Carrizo, and a 50 percent jump over Kaveri, which launched in 2014.
Bristol Ridge APUs are comprised of four Bulldozer CPU cores (Excavator) and as many as eight GPU cores. With the new DDR4 memory controller, these will be AMD's first laptops to support DDR4 RAM. The added bandwidth should give the graphics portion a nice boost, as will faster clockspeeds, though AMD didn't share clockspeed details today.
Like Carrizo, these new APUs are built on a 28nm manufacturing process, but AMD claims won't push the power envelope. AMD will offer Bristol Ridge to OEMs in both dual-core and quad-core solutions.
"We know that consumers want more for their money than ever before – sharper graphics, faster performance, and longer battery life. We have focused on working with key OEM partners to develop outstanding computing platforms that will fully take advantage of the powerful 7th generation AMD APUs," said Jim Anderson, senior vice president and general manager, Computing and Graphics Business Group, AMD.
We'll learn more about these new APUs and the OEM laptops they end up in when AMD formally launches them at Computex at the end of next month.