AMD Carrizo APU May Feature DDR4 Memory Support – Leaked Details Give Hint at SOC Design For Notebooks

Hassan Mujtaba
Posted Mar 20, 2014
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This year, AMD introduced their flagship Kaveri APU which brought various architectural enhancements and support for new technologies such as True Audio and Mantle. AMD is now readying their fifth generation of Carrizo APU family which will improve the APU design further with a brand new core architecture and tech support. Brightsideofnews has managed to obtain some critical details of the new APUs from AMD documents which give us a glimpse at the next generation Carrizo APU.AMD Carrizo APU Excavator

AMD Carrizo APU May Feature DDR4 Memory Support

AMD’s Carrizo APU would become the fifth installment in the Accelerated Processing Units family which will feature the latest Excavator core architecture. From previous leaks, we have come to know that Excavator is based on a 28nm process though different than the 28nm based Steamroller cores which have been integrated on the Kaveri APUs. Powering the CPU side, these new  x86 Excavator modular cores will leverage the IPC for greater performance compared to Steamroller.

The exact percentages are not known at this point but the improvement is rumored to be around 30% but its hard to believe these numbers considering the performance improvement AMD brought with Steamroller. Additionally, AMD will also add  AVX2, BMI2, MOVBE and RDRAND support to the instruction set which brings the extension feature set close to Intel’s Haswell.

On the GPU side, we have the Volcanic Islands core which is a great plus point for this level of APU. You should keep in mind that the Volcanic Islands graphics isn’t the codename for AMD’s Radeon R200 lineup but infact used to denote their flagship Hawaii based chips. This is a key hint that AMD’s next generation flagship parts would have the same improved GCN 2.0 architecture currently fused only inside the Hawaii chips which feature true AMD Mantle, AMD TrueAudio and AMD OpenCL optimizations. The integrated graphics would still be based on the 28nm process and its hard to say whether the Compute Unit count will increase in the Carrizo APU generation of products. We will definitely see an improved and efficient design which will allow faster clock speeds on these great integrated chips which make many upcoming games run off without the need of a discrete graphics card at decent detail quality.

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The most interesting details about Carrizo APU is that it might just feature support for both DDR3 and DDR4 memory with the new memory controller fused inside it. Now, if you have seen the Tronoto Opteron roadmap leak a few months ago, you will have noticed that Toronto APU (which is a Carrizo APU aimed towards server) supports both DDR3 and DDR4 memory types. We came to the conclusion that it could be possible that Carrizo would feature support on FM2+ boards with DDR3 memory and also a new socket that would allow DDR4 memory support. Both Toronto and Carrizo APU would share this foundation plus featuring support for PCI-Express 3.0 and HSA.

It remains to be seen whether DDR4 memory type would provide Carrizo APU enough bandwidth to gain the full potential of its integrated graphics chip as opposed to GDDR5 which was previously speculated for Carrizo APUs and even Kaveri itself. The graphics chip on Kaveri has proved to be a valuable addition but due to huge memory bottleneck, it cannot be used to its full potential unless you are running higher clock memory sticks which cost more and not as much attractive for the budget platform that FM2+ is.

The Toronto APU and CPU variants would be available in BGA and SOC variants where the SOC variants would have the southbridge planted on the APU die itself. This saves both power and space and optimizes workload offering a more coherent architecture approach which AMD’s HSA is all about. It was said during the AMD presentation that a complete system with the Toronto APU would have a max power usage of 70W. This also brings us to the next topic to be discussed which is the SOC design of Carrizo APU aimed towards Notebooks.

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The BGA (FP4)and SOC version of the Carrizo APU will be limited to servers and notebooks and would come with the FCH integrated on the APU die featuring two SATA 6Gb/s ports, four USB 3.0 ports and eight USB 2.0 ports along with two UART and four I2C interfaces. There are two BGA packages of the Carrizo APU type, one being the FP4 for notebooks while the second SP2 design which could be Toronto BGA variant has support for 2133 MHz SODIMMs as opposed to 1866 MHz on FP4.

The Carrizo APU would remain loyal to AMD’s FM2+ socketed motherboards which are currently available for sale from various manufacturer’s. The A88X and A78X ‘Bolton D4′ chipsets would feature full compatibility and ensure further longevity of the FM2+ platform. A new socket type will be introduced that will bring along the support for DDR4 memory type due to the different slot layout. The Carrizo APU is definitely an interesting part but its too early to speculate on it any further. The Carrizo APU is planned for launch sometime in 2015.

  AMD Trinity APU AMD Richland APU AMD Kaveri APU AMD Carrizo APU
Core Piledriver Piledriver SteamrollerB Excavator
GPU HD 7000
VLIW4
HD 8000
VLIW4
GCN
Sea Islands
GCN
Volcanic Islands
Chipset A85X/A75 A88X/A78 A88X/A78 A88X/A78
Socket FM2/FM2+ FM2/FM2+ FM2+ FM2+/FM3?
Memory DDR3 DDR3 DDR3 DDR3/DDR4
TDP 65/100W 45/65/100W  95/65W 65W
HSA Support  No No Yes Yes

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