AMD skips Chromebooks, bets on Windows 10 with new Carrizo chips

Asus, Acer, Lenovo, HP and Toshiba will use the Carrizo chips for mainstream laptops

AMD's 6th Generation A-Series Processors codenamed Carrizo (6)

AMD's 6th Generation A-Series Processors codenamed Carrizo (6)

Chromebooks may be hot-ticket items, but with its sixth-generation A-series chips for mainstream laptops, AMD is placing its bets on Microsoft's Windows 10.

The new chips, code-named Carrizo, will appear in laptops priced between US$400 and $800 from Asus, Acer, Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba. The first wave of laptops will become available starting in July, initially with Windows 8, and later in the year with Windows 10.

The new chips include quad-core A8 and A10 processors, which have up to six GPU cores, and the faster FX chips, which have up to eight GPU cores. Some new laptops based on the chips were shown at the Computex trade show in Taipei this week.

PC makers are considering the new Carrizo chips for Windows laptops, not for Chromebooks, said Adam Kozak, marketing manager at AMD.

The new Carrizo chips have been specifically engineered for the highly anticipated Windows 10, to be released on July 29. With new CPU and GPU technologies, Carrizo-based laptops will offer faster boot times, better application performance, longer battery life and will be quicker at resuming operation from sleep mode than prior AMD chips, Kozak said.

The chips draw between 15 watts to 35 watts of power, and have CPUs based on AMD's Excavator architecture. While the CPU improvements are modest at best, the GPUs are close to 65 percent faster than AMD's Kaveri chips, which shipped last year.

The integrated graphics processors in Carrizo can take advantage of the DirectX 12 feature in Windows 10 to improve gaming play. Laptop users will also be able to watch 4K video on laptops with the GPU, which will be able to decode H.265 files based on the HEVC codec. The new chips, however, don't support hardware-based decoding for a 4K video codec from Google called VP9.

Graphics can hog battery life, but Carrizo does a good job preserving battery strength when running video. A laptop with a new Carrizo chip and a 50-watt-hour battery can deliver 8.3 hours of battery life, compared to the 3.3 hours supplied by last year's Kaveri chip, according to AMD's benchmarks.

AMD claims that with Carrizo chips, overall battery life for laptops could double in some cases. Such a jump is rare, and more precise numbers will be available once the third-party laptop reviews start rolling out. Many factors typically play into battery life, including the size of the monitor, CPU speed and wireless connectivity.

Windows 10 will also exploit Carrizo's flexibility to invoke multiple processors to execute tasks, which helps preserve battery life and speed up applications. The chips support the HSA 1.0 specification, which can break up task execution over CPUs, GPUs and other processors to balance the use of PC resources. Windows 10 will tap HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture) 1.0 features through indirect support for OpenCL, for which drivers will be added to the OS.

In Windows 10, GPUs play a larger role in executing PC tasks, which plays to AMD's advantage over Intel in graphics. Today most tasks go through CPUs, but Windows 10's redesigned memory manager will be able to directly schedule tasks for execution on GPUs. As a result, Web video and Adobe applications -- which heavily rely on GPUs -- could run faster.

Laptops also will get thinner and lighter, as Carrizo chips are about 29 percent smaller than their predecessors.

Beyond the new A-series chips, AMD will announce new Pro chips that are part of the Carrizo family during the third quarter, Kozak said.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags computexAdvanced Micro Deviceshardware systemsComponentsprocessors

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?