AMD has announced an update for its A-Series line up of accelerated processing units (APU) improving the performance and features of the top of the line dual and quad core chips.
The new APUs combine two or four x86 processor cores with "up to 400 Radeon cores" depending on the model you purchase. The highest end desktop APU is the A8-3870K running at a clock speed of 3.0 GHz. The Intel inspired "K" moniker lets you know that this chip is unlocked, making overclocking easier. It has a thermal design power (TDP) of 100w, 4MB of level 2 cache and a 600 MHz base graphics clock.
The only other chip in this line up to feature an unlocked processor and graphics core is the 300 MHz slower A6-3670. Apart from a lower 65w TDP, everything else is the same.
If you're not interested in overclocking, the A8-3820 might be more to your taste, featuring a core clock of 2.5 GHz, a TDP of 65w, 4MB of level 2 cache and its own 400 Radeon cores. The final two chips in the desktop line up are the A6-3620 and A4-3420. They feature 2.2 GHz and 2.8 GHz processor clocks respectively and both have a TDP of 65w. However, the former has 320 Radeon cores and 4MB of level 2 cache, while the latter only has 160 and 1MB. The 3420 also only has two processor cores - every other has four.
The notebook lineup is similar, though there are no unlocked K series chips to speak of. The specifications for those are:
- A8-3550MX: Four CPU cores, 2.0 GHz CPU base (2.7 GHz Turbo Core), 45W TDP, 400 Radeon Cores, 4 MB L2 cache
- A8-3520M: Four CPU cores, 1.6 GHz CPU base (2.5 GHz Turbo Core), 35W TDP, 400 Radeon Cores, 4 MB L2 cache
- A6-3430MX: Four CPU cores, 1.7 GHz CPU base (2.4 GHz Turbo Core), 45W TDP, 320 Radeon Cores, 4 MB L2 cache
- A6-3420M: Four CPU cores, 1.5 GHz CPU base (2.4 GHz Turbo Core), 35W TDP, 320 Radeon Cores, 4 MB L2 cache
- A4-3330MX: Two CPU cores, 2.2 GHz CPU base (2.6 GHz Turbo Core), 45W TDP, 240 Radeon Cores, 2 MB L2 cache
- A4-3320M:Two CPU cores, 2.0 GHz CPU base (2.6 GHz Turbo Core), 35W TDP, 240 Radeon Cores, 2 MB L2 cache
- A4-3305M:Two CPU cores, 1.9 GHz CPU base (2.5 GHz Turbo Core), 35W TDP, 160 Radeon Cores, 1 MB L2 cache
- E2-3000M: Two CPU cores, 1.8 GHz CPU base (2.4 GHz Turbo Core), 35W TDP, 160 Radeon Cores, 1 MB L2 Cache
Each desktop and mobile chip is able to make use of AMD's dual graphics technology. This allows for the onboard GPU to team up with any add-in cards to increase performance. True it doesn't tend to be massive, but every little bit helps.
As well as a hardware refresh, the line of AMD APUs also has an added feature known as "AMD Steady Video". This is designed to "stabilize videos during playback - making unsteady, jumpy content look steady and smooth as you watch." Unfortunately to utilise this new addition, you'll need to be using Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 with the Steady Video plugin.
These chips are set to hit the shelves in the next few weeks, with pricing information to be released shortly.