AMD's next generation Kaveri APU is going to bring various enhancements on the architecture and software front compared to Richland. Powered by the high-performance x86 Steamroller architecture plus GCN graphic cores and backed by strong tools such as HSA, AMD TrueAudio and AMD Mantle, the new APU is going to be a interesting product in terms of both performance and value.
AMD On Kaveri APU x86 Performance Against Intel Haswell ,"We'll Lose"
We have learnt alot about Kaveri APUs over this month thanks to the details revealed at the APU13 event by AMD but we still don't know the two key elements about the processors, its price and performance. At APU13 event, TechReport had the chance to interview AMD's Adam Kozak (marketing chief for client processors) who revealed some really interesting details regarding the performance of their upcoming product.
AMD Kaveri APU is going to feature the new Steamroller core architecture which is a totally revised CPU x86 architecture compared to Piledriver bringing in greater parallelism. AMD is infact using the SteamrollerB core revision of the architecture which is a more refined version of the core itself. It is rumored that the original Steamroller core which was to debut in December 2013 was canned for some unknown reasons and AMD re-positioned the Kaveri APU as a January 2014 product featuring the revised SteamrollerB core architecture.
According to Adam, the AMD Kaveri A-Series would be positioned against the Core i5-4670K which is the top unlocked Core i5 Haswell part from Intel retailing currently at $225 US. AMD's flagship Kaveri APU is the A10-7850K which has been detailed here and features a total compute power of 856 Gigaflops. Compared to Intel Core i5-4670K that's a definite leap in performance but when compared in x86 performance alone, AMD's x86 enabled Steamroller cores would loose in the performance battle. This means that AMD is unable to keep up with Intel in terms of x86 performance with their new Steamroller architecture.
Kozak clarified that Kaveri should only be equivalent in terms of combined CPU and GPU compute power. If one measures x86 performance on its own, Kozak said, "we'll lose." However, Kozak expects Kaveri's integrated graphics, bolstered with Mantle support, to be better than the latest version of Intel's HD Graphics. TechReport
Ok so that's one thing and its nothing to be surprised about. Looking at Bulldozer and Piledriver, its pretty clear to see how much AMD are behind in terms of performance. A new architecture wouldn't suffice to gain on Intel hence the only logical step for AMD is to focus on APU development and improve upon the coherent architecture they are promising since some time now with HSA support. The fusion of both CPU and GPU in a package aimed towards value users has proved a success for AMD and they are continue this trend for a long time in both mobile and desktop platforms.
AMD Hints At Sub-$150 Price Range For Kaveri APU
Alright, so moving onward we have a hint towards the price of the Kaveri APUs. Kozak didn't reveal anything about the prices but AMD's VP Manju Hegde gave a hint during the comparison of an Intel Core i5-4670K with NVIDIA GT630 graphics with AMD's A10-7850K APU revealing that their new Kaveri APU would only cost one-third of the Intel counterpart which have a combined cost of $410 US. This pits the price of Kaveri APU in the sub-$150 range which is great to hear. This confirms that AMD would be keeping the same price ranges for their new APUs as their current ones.
Kozak wouldn't say much about pricing. However, AMD VP Manju Hegde offered a hint during an impromptu lunch chat. Referring to a stage demo in which a Kaveri APU was compared to a Core i7-4770K processor with GeForce GT 630 discrete graphics, Hegde said that Kaveri didn't do badly for a product that's "a third the cost." It's not entirely clear if Hegde was talking about manufacturing cost or retail pricing. However, the i7-4770K and GT 630 are worth $410 put together. A third of that would be around $137. TechReport
TechReport sums it up pretty well that AMD Kaveri is more of an evolutionary update over Richland rather than revolutionary as some were expecting. The performance and value strategy for AMD has been fruitful for AMD in the graphic department and will hopefully pay off well in the mainstream processor market. It only remains to be seen is that what will the enthusiast community choose as their new platform who have relied on AM3+ for their high-performance needs? Intel has a strong portfolio of unlocked processors headed towards consumers with Broadwell next year followed by Skylake and Haswell-E in 2015.
We also recently talked about Kaveri's successor, Carrizo APU, which seems to feature the Excavator core which we hope brings much more performance to budget users in 2015. More on that here.