AMD sets new benchmark for CPU and graphics integration

A-Series Kaveri hoped to be processor of choice for gamers

Advance Micro Devices (AMD) has launched the first products in its new line of A-Series chips since the company announced it was moving away from CPU-only chips for gaming machines. Codenamed Kaveri, AMD has described its new A-Series chips as being the most advanced and developer-friendly accelerated processing units (APUs) it has produced to date.

Kaveri is the latest step in AMD’s long running goal to combine not only graphics and CPU cores in the one chip, but also to streamline CPU and graphics acceleration (GPU) more efficiently. This is brought about by the new heterogeneous system architecture (HSA), in which supported applications will be able to use the GPU instead of relying on the CPU to increase performance. The Kaveri chips support UltraHD (4K) resolutions, comes equipped with Radeon R7-series graphics, and features AMD’s TrueAudio technology for 32-channel surround audio.

The A-Series APU’s are available in three separate models: the A10-7850K, A10-7700K and A8-7600. The top of the line model A10-7850K combines 12 compute cores, consisting of four CPU cores and eight GPU cores with the CPU capable of running at a maximum turbo speed of 4.0Ghz and at a default default speed of 3.7Ghz. The mid-range A10-7700K features ten compute cores, which includes four CPU cores and six GPU cores with the CPU having a turbo frequency of 3.8Ghz and a default frequency of 3.4Ghz. The entry-level A8-7600 runs with almost all of the same specifications as the A10-7700K, with the exception of a reduced default CPU frequency of 3.3Ghz. The A10-7700K chip requires 95W of power as opposed to 65W or 45W for the A8-7600.

AMD originally developed APUs with the laptop market in mind where the integration of graphics and CPU reduced the demand for power and lowered heat output. In spite of this, the new A10-7850K and A10-7700K chips are aimed primarily at the desktop gaming market, as illustrated by AMD bundling the APUs with Battlefield 4. The lesser power requirements on the A8-7600 suggest it will be aimed at more casual users. Once Kaveri mobile parts are introduced, laptop users will benefit from improved battery life and reduced running temperatures.

The A10-7850K retails for AU$219 (NZ$249), while the A10-7700K comes in at AU$199 (NZ$225), and both are available now.The price of the A8-7600 has not yet been released and the model is supposed to be available later in the first quarter of 2014.

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Chris Player

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