AMD has officially launched desktop variants of its second generation of A-Series accelerated processing unit (APU) chips, claiming to offer better performance at a lower price point than rival chips from Intel.
Available from October, the 2012 A-Series desktop chips are based on the same Trinity platform as the mobile APU chips AMD debuted back in May, but typically feature higher clock speeds and operate at a higher thermal design power (TDP) of 100W or 65W than the mobile products.
Like the mobile chips, the desktop A-Series parts combine two or four Piledriver CPU cores with an AMD 7000 Radeon GPU on the same piece of silicon. The GPU features from 128 up to 384 Radeon shader cores, depending on whether the chip is an A4, A6, A8 or A10 model.
Adam Kozak, AMD's Client Desktop marketing manager, said the 2012 chips are aimed at the mainstream desktop segment, and deliver a performance boost of about 25 percent over the previous generation of A-Series APUs, codenamed Llano.
Although AMD has yet to disclose full pricing for the new APUs, Kozak said that the A10 part "compares favourably at $120 to its nearest Intel competitor" which he defined as either the Core i3-2120 or the Core i3-3220 chips.
The top chip in the new line-up is the A10-5800K. This features four CPU cores and is clocked at 3.8GHz, but can run at up to 4.2GHz with AMD's Turbo Core 3.0 technology, which ramps up the clock whenever the processor is being stressed so long as it keeps within thermal constraints. It also supports DDR3 memory up to 1,866MHz.
AMD also announced new Athlon chips, the X4 750K, X4 740 and X2 340, which are based on the same technology but lack the GPU functionality.
All of these chips use a new FM2 processor socket, which AMD said will allow customers to upgrade to the following generation of A-Series APUs in future.
Systems based on the latest chips will be capable of driving three external displays simultaneously at 1080p resolution, according to Kozak, while AMD's Crossfire technology allows performance to be boosted by adding a separate AMD Radeon graphics card.
For gamers and enthusiasts, AMD allows both the CPUs and GPU to be overclocked, while a new AMD Memory Profile feature enables compatible memory modules to also be overclocked for extra performance.
Another new feature AMD is offering with this platform is AMD Radeon Ramdisk, which allows the user to allocate a portion of their system memory as a virtual disk to boost performance.
This will be included with every A10 APU, Kozak said, and supports Ramdisks up to 64GB in size if users have this much memory available.
Some vendors, such as HP, have already announced upcoming systems based on the 2012 A-Series APUs.
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