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AMD launches new Richland APU with 40% faster graphics at CES

From the time we first saw the next generation of APUs (codenamed Richland) on AMD roadmaps, back in November, the general consensus among the press community was that ‘nothing much' would be delivered. The announcement from AMD is that things have got measurably better. KitGuru pulls out a stop watch to check.

“With a ground breaking new APU line-up in 2013, AMD is poised to win in high-growth consumer segments,” said Lisa Su, AMD Senior Vice President speaking at CES. Head of that line up will be the overclockable A10-6800k, that looks due to be shown by partners in Europe around CeBIT in March and be shipping in mass market volumes by Computex in June.

It's a bold statement and goes some way to clarifying what she, CEO Rory Read and CFO Devinder Kumar were saying during October's difficult Q3 financial call. While telling analysts that a lot of business was about to be won – they were under NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) to say exactly where the wins might be.

Following the launch of the new Richland APUs, we can start to see where some of those wins might come from. Although the chip won't deliver a 40% improvement to graphics in all situations, the minimum improvement quoted was 22%. Which is pretty impressive IF the pricing remains competitive. Also, the FM2 boards – on which APUs sit in order to deliver their power – are here to stay for quite some time. Which was nice.

The difference between Bulldozer and Piledriver cores in your processor may not be that clear in all situations, but in our clock-to-clock tests for the new FX processors back in October, we found a measurable difference of around 5% in many cases.

According to sources at AMD, these new Richland APUs will come bundled with some interesting software, including gesture and facial recognition – as well as wireless connectivity to TVs etc. Internally, the software will be smart enough to change the way that loads are balanced when something like streaming starts.

If AMD Richland doesn't scream ‘designed for living rooms', we don't know what does. Then again, the wireless and facial recognition systems could prove very interesting in the car market. Bring your AMD Richland-powered tablet from home with all of your latest media downloaded – have it interface with the car's computer as you sit inside – then after it confirms your identity, the media can stream wirelessly from the tablet to the in-car media system. Where the actual tablet sits would be relatively unimportant – just dock it anywhere with a suitable power connector when you need juice.

AMD's Senior Vice President and General Manager, Dr Lisa Su, is convinced the launch of Redland APU-based products like the A10-6800k will give AMD an edge in the faster growing markets for 2013. Now can they execute and deliver?


KitGuru says: The in-car market is just one possible application. It would also work well as a set-top box or console-based gaming system. Whether AMD is able to deliver on what it calls ‘A brand new line up of APUs which offer a huge increase in performance per watt and elite software experiences' remains to be seen.

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