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Tuesday, January 14, 2014
First AMD Socket FM2+ 'Kaveri' Motherboards Released


MSI, Gigabyte, and ASRock have announced their support for AMD's new "Kaveri"A10 desktop APUs, with new and updated motherboards.

AMD's 4th Generation A-Series "Kaveri" desktop APUs were announced officially today. The new processor series is the first accelerated processing unit (APU) to incorporate both on-die CPU and GPU cores in a heterogeneous system architecture (HSA) with a shared memory architecture. Built in the new FM2+ package, the APUs run on socket FM2+ motherboards based on the AMD A88X, A78, and A55 chipsets.

Maintained by the HSA Foundation, HSA is a system architecture that allows accelerators such as the graphics processor (GPU) to operate at the same processing level as the system's CPU, providing up to 50 per cent more GPU performance and up to 20 per cent more x86 instructions executed per cycle compared to previous implementations.

In Kaveri CPUs and GPUs are equal 'compute unit' partners, as AMD tries to create a new term, since because HSA has changed what can be done on the graphics part of the die. In an HSA system, each compute core is programmable, capable of running at least one process in its own context in its own virtual memory space, and do so independently from all the other cores on the 2.41-billion transistor, 245mm2 die.

The four CPU cores and the eight GPU cores in the HSA-enabled Kaveri processor can each run its own thread, drawing data from a shared memory space. This means that Kaveri should be regarded as a 12-core processor.

The new APUs take advantage of AMD's "Steamroller" (CPU) and "Graphics CoreNext 2.0" (GPU) micro-architectures and are built on the 28 nm silicon fab process.

A "Steamroller" CPU core promises a 10 percent improvement in performance clock-by-clock, per core, compared to previous CPU micro-architectures.

The GPU inside A-Series "Kaveri" APUs features eight GCN compute units (CUs), which make up 512 stream processors, and 32 TMUs. The GPU supports DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.3, and Mantle. The GPU component also accelerates AMD's TrueAudio technology and supports Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels) displays with 60 Hz refresh rates, over DisplayPort 1.2.

AMD has also deployed a new-generation integrated memory controller (IMC). It supports up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR3-2400 MHz memory. It also features hUMA (heterogeneous unified memory access), which makes the CPU and GPU access the same memory simultaneously.



The Kaveri APUs also have a feature in that when it misses in the instruction cache now, a prefetch kicks off . Prefetches are 100 per cent accurate. Getting a memory reference out early helps the memory controller slide it into a place that's idle.

Such tweaks have allowed AMD's designers to boost the CPU's overall instructions-per-clock (IPC) performance by helping out the memory subsystem, which has a memory bandwidth of 2400MHz.

Kaveri has also two 64-bit, fully independent memory channels.

Memory memory bandwidth for graphics is 128 bits, which is lower than the 512-bit bus of AMD's discrete GPUs. However, Kaveri has just eight GPU cores to feed, whereas discrete-memory GPUs have more.

In addition, GCN has on-die L1 caches, L2 caches for local data stores.

In addition to the combination of CPU and GPU cores in the new HSA-enabled shared category of compute cores, Kaveri also adds some fixed-function accelerators, as well.



For example, to handle H.264 encoding, Kaveri has an on-die video encoding engine (VCE) with new capabilities, including improved text rendering and 60GHz wireless docking.

There's also unified video decoder (UVD) hardware that handles a variety of video codecs: H.264/AVCHD, VC-1/WMV profile D, MPEG-2, MVC, MPEG-4/DIVX. AMD promises that Kaveri's UVD 4 offers "improved error resiliency" for H.264/AVCHD to guard against video freeze-ups.

There's also a new audio coprocessor that AMD dubs TrueAudio, which has multiple digital signal processors, its own on-die storage and DMA agent, and its own programming interface so that developers can tightly control sound quality and direction.

AMD's 2014 A-Series APU family includes the A10-7850K, the A10-7700K, and the A8-7600 models:

Model   AMD A10-7850K with Radeon R7 Graphics AMD A10-7700K with Radeon R7 Graphics AMD A8-7600 with Radeon R7 Graphics
Price7   $173 USD   $152 USD   $119 USD
Power   95W   95W   65W/45W
Compute Cores   12   10   10
CPU Cores   4   4   4
GPU Cores1   8   6   6
Max Turbo Core   4.0GHz   3.8GHz   3.8/3.3GHz
Default CPU Frequency   3.7GHz   3.4GHz   3.3/3.1GHz
GPU Frequency   720MHz   720MHz   720MHz
L2 Cache   4MB   4MB   4MB
Availability  
Today
  Q1 2014


The AMD A-Series APU processor-in-a-box (PIBs) for the AMD A10-7850K and AMD A10-7700K, which started shipping in Q4 2013, are available starting today. The AMD A8-7600 will be shipping in Q1 2014. Additionally, the AMD Radeon R9 2400 Gamer Series memory is tested and certified for AMD A10 APUs, unleashing their full potential with AMD Memory Profile technology (AMP) offering speeds up to 2400MHz.

The A10-7850K and A10-7700K APUs will be bundled with EA's Battlefield 4.

GIGABYTE

GIGABYTE supports next generation AMD A-Series APUs with its GIGABYTE FM2+ Series motherboards.

The company's motherboards feature the GIGABYTE AMP-UP Audio which includes an upgradable OP Amp, Nichicon capacitors and Gain Boost switches. True Digital Power Delivery is combined with Triple Display Support including AMD Dual Graphics and AMD Eyefinity Technology support. GIGABYTE FM2+ series motherboards also provide native 4K resolution support via Display port and HDMI ports.



GIGABYTE DualBIOS also ensures users are protected from BIOS failure, while a 2x Copper PCB design optimizes heat dissipation from the critical power delivery areas of the motherboard. One-Fuse-per-Port ensures each USB port has its own dedicated power fuse that prevents unwanted USB port failure.

To learn more about GIGABYTE FM2+ Series Motherboards, visit: http://www.gigabyte.com/products/list.aspx?s=42&jid=0&p=2&v=32

BIOSTAR

BIOSTAR has been also preparing a series of mainboards for the supporting A88X, A78 and A55 chipsets. To make upgrading even easier, these boards also have backwards support for previous generation FM2 APUs.

The new AMD "Kaveri" APUs will come with a new socket, the AMD socket FM2+ and will unify the processor families. Socket FM2+ will be AMD's only option in 2014, replacing AM3+ and FM2 and BIOSTAR is providing mainboards ready from the get-go.



The backwards compatibility makes it easy for consumers to pick out a BIOSTAR FM2+ motherboard and a cheaper FM2-based APU while they wait for the upgrade to Kaveri this year. Upgrading is a good idea as AMD has managed to tweak their APUs to significantly increase the processing power and put in a GPU as well for graphics rendering, all while using similar amounts of power of previous generation chips.

BIOSTAR's enhancements to these new FM2+ boards include the BIOSTAR Audio+, Video+, Speed+, Protection+, Durability+ and DIY+.

The BIOSTAR FM2+ motherboard lineup is avaialable here.

ASRock

Both ASRock's new FM2+ motherboards - the FM2A88X Extreme6+ and FM2A88X-ITX+ - have passed the tests and obtained "AMP 2400 Ready" logos. Moreover, ASRock's FM2+ Series motherboards will soon support the new AMP 2400 standard.

With AMD's latest AMP 2400 and a couple of memory modules that support these technologies, users may choose their own desired memory frequency in ASRock UEFI Utility and enjoy the results.



If you were planning to build an almighty AMD rig, then ASRock FM2A88X Extreme6+ is boasting all gold capacitors, Digi Power, 8+2 power phase design, Home Cloud and Purity Sound. If you are seeking for something convenient, then look for the FM2A88X-ITX+, which comes with onboard mSATA/eSATA combo and 802.11n WiFi.

For more information, check:
http://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/FM2A88X%20Extreme6+/
http://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/FM2A88X-ITX+/




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