In 2006 AMD & # 39; Fusion & # 39; a project to develop a system on a chip that combines a CPU and a GPU on a single chip. The realization of the dream for AMD was the takeover of the graphics chipset manufacturer ATI in the same year.
However, the project was not without technical difficulties and it took 5 years for the first Fusion APU to see the light of day. Based on the Lynx architecture, this first chip combined K10 CPU cores and a GPU of the Radeon HD 6000 series. Shortly thereafter, AMD released APUs for desktop (Llano), mobile (Sabine), ultra-mobile and embedded (Brazos) platforms. All of these APUs, and even those of the current generation, managed to integrate a CPU and a GPU into a single chip, but still needed a chipset to function properly.
If AMD could move the chipset on the chip, they would have created a real SoC solution and would have come a step closer to a heterogeneous system architecture (HSA).
This is exactly what AMD has achieved with the new Kabini and Temash platforms. The Kabini APU that we're reviewing today is aimed at the subnotebook, ultra-thin, and small form factor markets, while Temash is designed for tablets, hybrid laptops, and other devices with extremely low power consumption, usually with screens of 11 inches or less .
Based on the Jaguar architecture, these new APUs between 2 and 4 cores offer numerous architectural improvements in terms of performance requirements and performance, e.g. B. Support for newer x86 instructions, higher IPC, CC6 power state mode, and clock gating.
The big news is that Kabini will be AMD's first and first quad-core x86-based SoC. The chipset or Fusion Controller Hub (FCH) for Kabini has the code name "Yangtze" and is integrated on the chip. In addition, Kabini will offer DirectX 11.1-compatible GCN-based graphics and numerous improvements to the heterogeneous system architecture (HSA).
During the topic, the new HSA branding merger is due to take over due to a trademark dispute between AMD and Arctic Switzerland AG. Arctic claims to be the first to use "Fusion" in its computer power product line since 2006.
Kabini A-Series APU
AMD launches its first Kabini-based processors today with the launch of the A6-5200 and A4-5000. For some reason, AMD has only tested laptops with the A4-5000 that target the affordable Pentium line. We assume that this is the more interesting processor among the two.
The A4-5000 has four Jaguar cores clocked at 1.5 GHz and a total of 2 MB L2 cache, while the on-die GPU is the Radeon HD 8330. The faster A6-5200 still has four cores, but is clocked at 2.0 GHz, while the GPU of choice is the Radeon HD 8400.
Jaguar improves performance over a certain range of performance compared to the Bobcat cores used in previous APUs. Jaguar offers higher IPC, better frequency at a certain voltage, and improved energy efficiency through clock control and redesign of the unit. The instruction set has also been expanded to include SSE4.1, SSE4.2, AES, CLMUL, MOVBE, AXV, XSAVE / XSAVEOPT, F16C and BMI1.
Improvements to the front end of the Jaguar core, integer execution, floating point unit, data cache, L2 interface and shared cache unit have also improved efficiency, as has the switch to the 28nm design process.
The integrated Kabini chipset supports two USB 3.0 connections, two SATA 6 Gbit / s connections and the protocols xHCI 1.0 and SD / SDIO 3.0 for the support of SD cards.
Kabini uses graphics from the Radeon HD 8000 series and supports a number of APIs, including DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.3, OpenGL ES 3.0 for the graphics and OpenGL 1.2, DirectCompute and C ++ AMP for the calculation.
Although the A6-5200 (HD 8400) and A4-5000 (HD 8330) have different GPUs, they are actually very similar because they both have 128 SPUs, 16 TAUs and 16 ROPs. They differ in their clock rates, with the HD 8330 running at 500 MHz, while the 8400 is slightly faster at 600 MHz. These are similar specifications to the Radeon HD 7480D in the A4-5300 processor, which we happen to have available for testing. So it will be interesting to see how the two compare. Finally, it should be mentioned that Kabini offers Eyefinity support for two displays as well as support for wireless displays.