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AMD boasts graphics performance boost with new Richland APUs

Advanced Micro Devices has launched a new desktop APU code-named Richland, which combines CPU and GPU performance in a single package that the chip maker said at the Computex show in Taiwan will hands-down beat rival Intel's offerings in the mainstream market.

Richland is the next stage in AMD's A-Series APU lineup, which kicked off with Llano-class chips in 2011 and was followed up with Trinity last year. The chip maker said its Richland series boosts its 3DMark Fire Strike benchmarking score by 21 per cent from the Trinity generation and has scored double-digit performance increases in other key benchmarking tests as compared with the preceding generation.

AMD's Richland, utilising the chip maker's Radeon 8000 series graphics, provides 779 GFLOPs of GPU compute performance to supplement a quad-core x86-based central processor capable of up to 4.4GHz clock speeds out of the box.

The new Richland accelerated processors drop into AMD's FM2 socket, ensuring upgradeability from the chip maker's earlier platforms and support for the A55, A75, and A85X chipsets, while adding DDR3-2133 support and enhanced Turbo Core clock throttling technology from the chip maker.

Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst for Moor Insights & Strategy, said the new Richland APUs are well-positioned for a mainstream desktop PC market where prices have been dropping but performance expectations have remained constant.

"AMD's Richland desktop APU is really good for end users looking for the highest, base-level graphics performance for games and also for OpenCL-accelerated titles like Adobe Premiere Pro doing colour correction and compressing using 7Zip," Moorhead said. "What's really nice for many current AMD desktop owners is that they can take the new chip and put it into the current AMD motherboard. That saves users a bunch of money and hassle."

Indeed, in introducing its new Richland lineup, AMD offered an upgrade path from previous generation A-series chips starting with the dual-core, 3.2GHz A4-400 and topping out at the quad-core, 4.2GHz A10-5800K. Then again into the new Richland-based dual-core, 4.1GHz A6-6400K on up to the quad-core, 4.4GHz A10-6800K APU.