AMD's Hondo APUs ready for Windows 8 Q4 launch - report
Chip giant's tablet-friendly silicon on the way
Chip giant AMD is set to debut its 32nm Trinity APUs in notebooks later this month, while the firm’s tablet-friendly Hondo chips will hit the streets in the fourth quarter to coincide with the much-anticipated launch of Windows 8, Digitimes has learnt.
Citing “sources from notebook players”, the Taiwan-based tech title said that AMD would delay a version of the A-Series Trinity APUs for desktops until August, with prices expected to come in under those of Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors.
Among the desktop models will be the A10-5800K, A10-5700, A8-5600K and A8-5500 models, all made by former foundry GlobalFoundries. AMD was forced to write off $703m (£436m) in the first quarter of 2012, taking it into the red after it renegotiated its wafer-supply agreement with the firm.
Trinity will be based on the Piledriver architecture, boosting overall performance by 25 per cent and graphics performance by an impressive 50 per cent over AMD’s current Llano chips, the sources blabbed to Digitimes.
More interesting for many will be AMD’s play in the burgeoning tablet market, with the firm’s ultra low power (ULP) 40nm Hondo APUs slated for launch in Q4.
The firm has high hopes for the tablet and ‘ultrathin’ market and it will be interesting to see whether its 4.5-watt Hondos can rise to the twin challenge of unsettling undisputed mobile chip champ ARM and edging out arch-rival Intel.
Rounding out the roadmap info splurge from Taiwan is news that AMD will release its low-power Brazos 2.0 APUs including the 18W E2-1800 and E1-1200 in June and new FX series processors including the FX-8350, FX-6300 and FX-4320 in Q3.
AMD could not immediately be reached to confirm the details. ®
Re: Forgive the ignorance...
Advanced Processing Unit. A touted successor to the CPU that brings the GPU back on board for closer integration.
In olden days there was the CPU and it could do integer arithmetic faster than anyone's abacus, so it was good and flourished. But it was bad at floating point, so Intel introduced the maths co-processor. A friendly little thing built differently to the CPU that sat next to it and took on all the floating point stuff its friend struggled with. The maths co-processor bit might seem like a tangent, but its relevant as you'll see shortly.
Then came graphics cards: voodoo and Matrox and all that jazz. GPUs and CPUs grew together but were separate. And that was good because different people wanted different things: gamers wanted to splurge extra money on a super GPU. The rest of us just cared about traditional processing and did not. Again, all was good.
Then people realized that as well as enabling them to shoot ever more realistic aliens, their GPU was actually a highly sophisticated parallel processing bastard that could do things a regular CPU could not. Just like our old friend the maths co-processor. Various projects to use the GPU took off and programmers realized that it was capable of much more.(at least for certain application spaces). And all was good.
AMD bought ATI giving them decent CPU market capability (not on Intel's scale, but they've not been knocked out yet) and OUTSTANDING GPU market capability. And so they began bringing the GPU and the CPU back together, cozied up on the same bit of sillicon and called it the APU. It means no separate graphics card unless you really want to splurge on something fancy. It means you don't even need a separate graphics chip which is good for all the mobile markets. And it also brings in that massively parallel processing power that the GPU has which is good for a number of application spaces. So you're down from two chips to one, in practice not a lot of CPU-style power has been lost and you've gained an extra processing capability that you didn't have before without a separate graphics card (and not all of them supported the instruction sets that were needed to make use of them outside of games anyway).
And all was good. ;)
Re: In the battle of CPUs, they focus on GPU?
The reality in most offices, is that most office workers now have enough processing power for all their needs. Progression at this point - for a company buying for most of its employees - is going to be about energy consumption and purchase cost (primarily the latter, outside of the server market). And AMD have always been competitive in terms of cost. They're doing well on energy consumption too. I have a fanless AMD board running my home server (M1 Hudson) and it draws very little power. It would be plenty powerful enough to act as someone's day to day work machine as well (if they were just doing spreadsheets, etc.). Cost about £150 incl. processor, memory, etc. (Rather more for all the high-capacity hard drives, mind you)
So I think AMD already are competitive with Intel for most business desktop users. I think the focus on the GPU side of things is because it helps them be competitive in the home and portable market. APU is significantly better in both cost and power consumption, than CPU + GPU. That's a plus for laptops and tablets. And better graphics is also a plus for the home market. Not everyone can afford (or wants) to buy a Radeon 7970 graphics card. But the AMD chips come with graphics that are better than an Xbox built in. They make great media centres or light games machines. Basically, AMD can't compete with Intel for high-end performance right now and they've admitted this. But they've found an edge they can exploit and they're going for it. I think they'll actually do pretty well.
Re: and still they
I agree with you that I would love to see AMD matching Intel chips at the high-performance end, but it's not going to happen in the immediate future. What AMD are doing, and they've been open about this, is taking on Intel at the medium to low end. And they have the better solutions here! Bulldozer / Piledriver architecture is very well suited to the server market, being extremely paralllel. The APU designs provide integrated graphics in a way that Intel simply cannot match. And that gives them a massive edge in ultraportables, tablets and home computers other than the enthusiast market. Yes, a hard-core gamer with lots of money is going to have the latest separate graphics card, but right now I can buy a motherboard with onboard processor and integrated graphics for £100. And it's capable of games playing, HDMI output, SATA 6Gb/s, et al. Intel just can't match AMD for anything other than the enthusiast or very high performance market, where they win. Even my six-core AMD 1100T is plenty powerful enough for all my needs outside 3D modelling, and I run two Linux VM's within Windows 7 on it!
So we might see AMD best Intel in performance some day, but right now they're focusing on what they need to do which is besting Intel at the middle and low-end market which is probably larger anyway. If AMD can get their production problems sorted and actually meet demand, then I think they're going to do great. Bulldozer is a 1st gen of an actual new design, not another iteration of an old one. So it's had a few bumps, but equally it has a lot more room to grow and I think it will. I'll probably get one of the Piledrivers when it comes out. That's another nice thing with AMD. The latest chip will just drop right into the same socket my non-Bulldozer chip currently sits on: no m/board or memory replacement. Another big saving! :)
All in the memory!
For general office use an old Athlon x2 64 is totally adequate for your day to day needs.
It's memory which is the bottleneck on most office machines. Most companies still roll out laptops and desktops with 1GB of memory 2GB if you are lucky this is what really slows down productivity.
Add in a modern GFX (even a cheap one for £30) and you get good performance with modern browsers (thinking IE9).
Now build the GFX into the processor which AMD are doing, even with a lowly dual core or quad core and plenty of memory (64bit OS helps) and an office machine should last for years.
Workstations are a different matter, but they really only make up a very small proportion for standard business use.
Trinity will be a winner in laptop
With the significant increase in performance and battery life from Trinity it will be a winner in laptop for sure. Can't wait to get my hands on one.