The launch of Kaveri is a strange one. Generally, when it comes to Intel, nVidia and AMD – launches are about ‘burying the other guy’ and delivering more ultra-realistic-cinematographic-technicolour experiences than you ever thought possible. But this one focused more on juice. KitGuru asks AMD’s Product marketing guru, watts all this about performance?
At AMD’s recent Technology Day, we sat through almost 2 hours of in-depth presentations on the latest Kaveri APU technology. By the end, we were in the mood to pull out a sieve and filter the overall message down to the essentials. Spotting Product Marketing guru Sasa Marinkovic, we decided to corner him and get down to basics.
So how would Sasa sum up Kaveri in one word?
“PERFEFFICIENCY! It’s really about taking the performance to the next level while keeping the power envelope in check. For example, HSA delivers unprecedented efficiency out of the CPU and GPU working together in harmony (in case of Libre Office, 7X performance when acceleration is on), Mantle removes the overhead of the Direct X API and empowers the GPU to give its best (3-4X performance increase on Oxide demo), and TrueAudio that utilize more voices and channels at once without tying down the CPU. All of this is delivered at TDPs that were previously reserved for a Processor with only one processing element inside”.
That’s a lot of TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms), so let’s address those first.
HSA means a Heterogeneous Systems Architecture and refers to getting the CPU and GPU cores to work together nicely, in order to improve efficiency and performance. This is how AMD’s Developer Relations team put it.
Mantle is AMD’s way of providing game developers with a way to bypass DirectX etc and speak in a much more direct way to the Graphics Core Next (GCNs) at the heart of a Radeon graphics unit. Given that AMD has sewn up the next gen consoles, that means that Mantle also allows developers a way to make games faster AND more ‘cross-platform’. Gamers of a certain age will remember the old GDI bypass drivers. This is at once, similar and very different.
Lastly, the TDP for a processor (GPU, CPU or APU) is the Thermal Design Power or the actual ‘draw’ of the product in terms of how many watts it needs to feed.