back to article AMD's new Carrizo: The x86 notebook processor that thinks it's a GPU

AMD claims its new x86-powered Carrizo system-on-chip for notebooks has more transistors and yet consumes less power than the previous generation Kaveri – and has shown off some of its engineering to help back that up. In time for this week's International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco, AMD has prepared a …

  1. William Donelson


    A truly amazing achievement. Good luck to you AMD !

  2. Voland's right hand Silver badge


    Quote: Not every die is created equal: the silicon's characteristics change ever so slightly, prompting AMD to tune its cores.

    Is it me, or this means bye-bye per model benchmark? So two CPUs from the same batch and especially from different batches can now have up to a few percent performance difference. Interesting...

    As usually congrats on stellar work to AMD which will unfortunately be marketed as "inferior" and "consumer" by imbeciles in computer marketing for purposes of market positioning. Sad. My laptops are all APU - they came deliberately crippled by HP with insufficient RAM and slow drives so they look "inferior" to their Intel offering. Amazon, Crucial and 15 mins with a screwdriver a day later fixed that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting

      Yes, thats right. No two chips will run quite the same. This is a very clever idea by AMD. That's better than the previous approach used by AMD (and Intel) where no chip ever ran at its full potential; every die was graded at fixed speed bins and labelled at the one where it worked. That bin would always be at (rarely) or below the speed a die can reach.

      You're dead right about how AMD is marketed by retailers. Here's always been a sort of Intel snobbery; they must be best, they invented it. But I've had loads of problems with Intel kit, and never once has an AMD based system given me trouble.

      In laptops the historical reason why was always because Intel's datasheets gave you proper thermal guidelines and information which made design a whole lot easier. AMD datasheets were more sparse, meaning that design was more hit and miss to achieve adequate cooling. 'Miss' means a redesign, which is expensive.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Interesting

        "Yes, thats right. No two chips will run quite the same. This is a very clever idea by AMD. That's better than the previous approach used by AMD (and Intel) where no chip ever ran at its full potential; every die was graded at fixed speed bins and labelled at the one where it worked"

        We used to have Socialist chips. Now we have Capitalist chips.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Interesting

          All fabbed in Taiwan!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Interesting

            All fabbed in Taiwan!


        2. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: Now we have Capitalist chips.

          Really? So 99% of them do the work but the special 1% take all the credit?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Interesting

          When oi were nobbut a lad, we had ECL computers like that. The supply voltages (tail) and the clock speeds had to be adjusted for best performance. It is not a new idea.

    2. fishyuk

      Re: Interesting

      Hmm, I'm not sure I see the single DIMM being an issue in a shipping laptop or say a Stream Mini. A few reviews have picked this up but (personally) I'd rather have 1x4GB and easily take it to 2x4GB rather than it arrive with 2x2GB. The less tech savvy probably won't actually notice the performance difference to be honest, those of us who are save a few pennies to upgrade.

      Agreed that everything should ship with SSD but again that's price points for you.

    3. ilmari

      Re: Interesting

      Bye bye per cpumodel benhmarks is already a relity for low power intel CPUs. They're primarily limited by TDP, as in actual power use and not overheating, and the PC maker decides if they want to limit CPU to 4.5W or 11W, or anywhere in between. Add ontop of this efficiency variation from cpu to cpu too.

      Also for desktop CPUs, overclockers were buying many haswell i7 from different places, hoping to get one from a "good" batch known to overclock well, and returning if batch lottery didn't play out well. All of the CPUs meet (and exceed) the performance promised by intel, but some exceed it with huge margin.

  3. ntevanza


    I have three APUs in daily use. Unfortunately for AMD, they will last for years.

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    I'm guessing

    they're looking at the tablet/chromebook market here?

  5. orly_andico

    Re: Don't go Windows, and if you do, keep your options open

    Probably not fabbed in Taiwan, considering that GlobalFoundries is based in Singapore.

  6. Mpeler
    Big Brother

    Good on ya, AMD....too bad about BB, tho

    "There's also a 32-bit ARM-compatible microcontroller in the APU that implements ARM's TrustZone; it is the first core to execute code when the system-on-chip powers up, and is expected to initialize the package and ensure a trusted operating system is loaded."

    OK, all tinfoil-hattery aside, I suspect this was a nod in the direction of Redmond, with their lockdown of Windoze on ARM. It should also be helpful to corporate types. Will this "trust zone" find its way into other AMD chips, for instance the followon to the FX line?

    But for the rest of us? Will it need to call up "mommy and daddy" to see if it's OK to boot?

    Inquiring minds (er, sorry) want to know.....

    1. Mpeler

      Re: Good on ya, AMD....too bad about BB, tho

      Heyyyyy downvoter,

      probably the one who thinks WWII is still on....

      pi$$ off.....

  7. jason 7

    Just one small problem....'ll never buy a decent laptop with one of these in it.

    AMD are all but frozen out of the laptop market. Take a look on any IT retail website and its slim greasy pickings for AMD based laptops.

    Nothing classy or decent. Just bargain basement crud or buying an over priced, hamstrung 'protect Intel from monopoly' model from HP.

    £700 for a AMD A8 laptop with 4GB of ram, a 1366x768 screen and a 500GB rust spinner? Oh yes please!

    Shame really.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just one small problem....

      "AMD are all but frozen out of the laptop market"

      These things look ideal for the Chromebook/education market. There's already a Toshiba with 1080p resolution.

      1. jason 7

        Re: Just one small problem....

        Indeed they would but Intel will see that it never happens.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just one small problem....

          "Intel will see that it never happens."

          The Chromebook market is already an ARM/Intel competition.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Just one small problem....

      What 700? I paid 260 for both of mine. Granted, both were A4.

      A couple of days later the rust and the 4G of RAM it shipped with (even 2G for one of them) went into the spare parts bin. In went 16G and a hybrid. Result - machines which run circles around pretty much anything with Intel inside for ~ 350 each.

      1. jason 7

        Re: Just one small problem....

        Appreciate that but the core of the machine is still...not great (its a bargain basement £260 laptop with a CPU slightly above an Atom CPU) and why couldn't it have come with a SSD and at least 8GB of ram to start with?

        Cmon, it's not a great situation for AMD if that's the best they can manage.

        As for the £700 AMD laptops, then look up HP/AMD on Ebuyer.

        At least you can put the ram and SSHD in the laptop you buy next year.

        My question is where are the 'desirable' AMD laptops with the good screens and tech already included that some of us here might actually buy?

        Just ain't gonna happen.

    3. 0verl0rd

      Re: Just one small problem....

      Starts below £400 with that Spec!!3391!3!53137628540!!!g!94988046260!&ef_id=VOy-xgAAAVZIyCln:20150224181534:s#cat-0

  8. Tom 38

    The Carrizo APU conforms to HSA 1.0, .. The HSA 1.0 specification is due to be published in the next few weeks.

    Unpublished specs are the easiest to conform to.

  9. James 51

    I was looking for something to replace my netbook but netbooks and laptops with AMD chips were either underpowered or expensive. Not AMD's fault but there it is.

  10. Truth4u

    but how fast can it run SuperPi?

    Can a 3Ghz intel still do a million dp in half the time of a 4ghz amd?

    Would be a bit disappointing to see all their effort isn't worth a damn for calculating Pi. The only benchmark used by real computer scientists.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately people buy IT equipment primarily based on a few statistics they don't really understand, like the clock speed or how much memory it has.

    I'll be honest and say I don't understand any of what AMD is doing recently. When I shop for a new CPU I don't know which one I'm supposed to buy with all the different sockets and all this APU stuff.

    Has AMD caught up with Intel on single threaded desktop performance yet? Last time I checked, a couple years ago, they didn't have anything that could compete with an i5. Single threaded performance is still the most important factor for most of the stuff I do. I ended up buying Intel much to my own disgust.

    1. jason 7

      The biggest issue is that a lot of low power/tablet type CPUs have crept into the mainstream inventories for laptops and desktops.

      If a customer wants a cheap laptop or desktop I now have to check if that Celeron/Pentium/Athlon is a proper desktop part or just a re-badged ultra low power Atom type.

      It's actually better value/simpler to buy second hand ex. corporate clearance in a lot of cases. You know what you are getting with a 3GHz C2D.

    2. h4rm0ny

      >>"Has AMD caught up with Intel on single threaded desktop performance yet?"

      Sadly not, though in absolute rather than relative terms, both Intel and AMD have long since passed "good enough" for most users.

      Software has also finally caught up to some extent with parallel processing rather than cramming everything into a single thread. (With exceptions!).

  12. Alan Denman

    Another day, another theme?

    Personally, I thought AMD was winding down its PC businesses, sticking to both serving Xbox and Sony.

    Looking inside shops I gather they are 99% there, so is this all a pretence that Intel does not now have an absolute x86 monopoly.

    (I'm ignoring the PC business where they still have a presence, mainly via home builds.)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AMD is moving forward

    AMD is moving forward on their APU designs and is at least a year or more ahead of Intel on the GPU size of the APU. Carrizo will up both sizes of the die and use considerably less power to do it.

    Many people are confused on die shrink sizes. There is almost zero performance gain now that we are below 32Nm. The biggest gains in die shrink are lower power and higher transistor density, which reduce CPU/APU costs. With AMD's advanced power management on Carrizo, power consumption is reduced even further than in prior low power APU models.

    Carrizo APUs will be available in both mobile and desktop versions with mobile models being released first in Q2 '15. Zen and the K12 discrete CPUs will not arrive until 2016 but they will provide a significant performance boosts over Vishera.

    1. Christopher E. Stith

      Re: AMD is moving forward

      Intel will likely get a performance boost going from 10nm to 7nm as they'll be ditching silicon for something along the lines of indium gallium arsenide.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Chorizo ? I'm getting hungry

  15. Skymonrie

    Hong Kong

    In HK, the latest gen laptops are starting to appear and Intel are simply walking free unmatched at the moment. Check out the Asus Zenbook UX305, a great price too, I do hope it pulls together for AMD though.

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