AMD has officially launched its Richland A-Series APU family, boasting performance improvements for laptops over earlier Trinity products.
Other new features include a new focus on user experience enhancements that take advantage of its built-in GPU technology, including gesture controls and facial recognition login.
The new accelerated processing units (APUs) have actually been shipping to PC vendors since the end of 2012, according to AMD, meaning that laptops based on the new platform should be available almost immediately, depending on territory.
Richland is essentially an update of last year's Trinity chips, using the same Piledriver CPU cores, but combined with newer Radeon HD 8000 GPU technology.
It also overhauls the way power management oversees the CPU and GPU to deliver anywhere from a 20 to 40 percent performance improvement, the firm said.
"The lift we are getting with this new approach is equivalent to if we did an entire new platform," said Kevin Lensing, director of AMD's Notebook Products Client unit.
The new approach adds intermediate P-states to deliver finer-grained control over clock frequency, and adds a dedicated on-chip microcontroller (MCU) to accurately track the temperature, allowing the processor to better gauge whether there is thermal headroom to bump up the power.
"In Trinity, we found the base algorithm was letting the CPU ramp too fast, and this was slowing the GPU, as they share the thermal envelope. Under workload-aware power management, if the CPU is running OK, we can drop the frequency and let more power go to the GPU," explained Sam Naffziger, a corporate fellow at AMD.
As usual, AMD claims that its "Fusion" combination of CPU and GPU cores allows it to outperform rival Intel. The firm published 3D graphic benchmarks that indicate the top end A10 chip performs over 50 percent faster than a costlier Intel Core i7 chip.
Meanwhile, battery life is improved so that users can expect to see six hours of 720p video playback from a Richland-based laptop.
AMD is using the performance to drive new user experience features that it hopes will draw buyers to its laptops.
While Trinity introduced features such as AMD Steady Video, which reduces camera shake when processing video, Richland laptops with an A6 chip or above will come with AMD Gesture Control, Face Login and Screen Mirror.
Gesture Control lets the user control their system from a distance by using the webcam to track their hand gestures, while Face Login uses facial recognition algorithms to identify the user, and Screen Mirror provides a low-cost alternative to Intel's Wireless Display, streaming video over Wi-Fi to any TV or display with a DLNA receiver, AMD said.
The top-end chip, the A10-5750M, has four CPU cores and a GPU with 384 Radeon cores. It is clocked at 2.5GHz (up to 3.5GHz with AMD's Turbo Core technology) and supports DDR3 memory at 1866MHz.
All the other three chips announced today only support DDR3 memory up to 1600MHz, and comprise an A8, A6 and A4 chip.
The A8-5550M also has four CPU cores, paired with 256 Radeon GPU cores. It is clocked at 2.1GHz, up to 3.1GHz with Turbo.
Meanwhile, the A6-5350M is a dual-core chip with 192 Radeon GPU cores, clocked at 2.9GHz with a Turbo speed of 3.5GHz. The final A4-5150M chip is also dual-core with 128 Radeon GPU cores, clocked at 2.7GHz up to 3.3GHz.
AMD said it was still on track to deliver chips later this year based on its Steamroller core design, the successor to Piledriver. The first of these will be an APU codenamed Kaveri, expected sometime in the second half of 2013.
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