AMD hopes to reclaim ground lost to Intel over the past few years with the launch of its 6th Generation A-Series accelerated processing unit (APU) chips for laptop PCs aimed at powering Windows 10 devices.
Codenamed Carrizo, AMD's latest laptop processor platform combines four new CPU cores with up to eight new GPU cores to deliver a step up in performance while offering all-day battery life. It will be initially available in A8, A10 and FX versions.
Aimed at mainstream laptops, the 6th Generation A-Series chips have been designed to support features coming in Windows 10, and AMD said that new systems based on the platform are being readied by vendors including Dell, HP, Toshiba, Lenovo, Acer and Asus.
Adam Kozak, product manager for AMD's Client and Graphics business unit, said that the global market for mainstream laptops represents a huge opportunity of about 63 million potential buyers, but that this covers a broad range of expectations.
"Even at a mainstream price point of $400 to $700, no-one expects that their different devices will do just one thing, but most users are disappointed when they learn that their laptop doesn't have the capabilities to do what they want to," he said.
With the 6th Generation A-Series chips, AMD is therefore aiming to meet user expectations for better streaming video, better graphics and longer battery life, all at a competitive price point, he added.
The chips have been completely redesigned to do this. AMD has already detailed how the CPUs in Carrizo are based on the new Excavator core design, while the GPUs are based on the updated AMD Radeon Graphics Core Next architecture.
This combination enables the new platform to deliver up to twice the performance of Intel's rival Core i7 chips, while also extending battery life when unplugged to more than twice as long as before, AMD claims.
On the Windows 10 side, the 6th Generation A-Series chips will enable many of the new features, according to Kozak, including DirectX 12 to support 3D acceleration for games and High Efficiency Video Coding support.
Windows 10 also adds support for AMD's Secure Processor, which is a separate ARM core that implements the ARM TrustZone security technology and offloads key security tasks from the other cores.
This will enable faster secure boot and resume, TPM 2.0 support and secure storage of keys for hard drive encryption.
AMD said that the first systems based on the 6th Generation AMD A-Series processors will be available from this month, although buyers will have to wait until the end of July for products with Windows 10 pre-installed.
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