“More Power” – AMD’s new ’12 core processor’ takes aim at Intel
AMD has announced a new range of desktop and notebook processors that it hopes is going to steal some of the limelight from Intel’s Haswell offering. The new range of chips are codenamed Kaveri and it’s the first to use some of AMD’s latest technology.
AMD have been talking about “Heterogeneous Systems Architecture” (HSA) technology for years now and with its inclusion in Kaveri it becomes one of the big selling points. HSA essentially allows every core, whether they be regular CPU cores or the on-board GPU graphics cores, to work together on completing tasks. It also means that the graphics cores no longer have to rely on the CPU to schedule processing tasks for them lowering the overall workload for the chip.
So far the biggest chip in the Kaveri family sports a quad core processor with eight graphics cores but, because of the HSA technology, AMD has taken to referring to all 12 of them all as “compute cores”. While calling it a 12 core processor may feel like marketing jargon, AMD is promising comparable levels of performance with Intel’s latest Haswell chips. AMD are quick to throw around some in-house benchmarks that compare the top of the range Kaveri A10-7850K with Intel’s Core i5-4670K accross a number of games. The results show a similar level of gaming performance from both chips even though the Kaveri chip costs nearly 30% less than its Haswell rival.
While AMD may well have matched, or even exceeded, Intel in the graphics department and with the benefits of HSA bringing up the overall performance you may be forgiven in thinking that the tide has turned to AMD favour. However Intel will still hold an important power consumption advantage over its rival. Haswell’s newer 22nm manufacturing process makes for significantly more energy-frugal processors than Kevari’s 28nm transistors can provide which will all but secure Intel the lions share of the notebook market where battery life figures are increasingly more important.
While Kaveri may not be the silver bullet that solves all of AMD’s problems it could well set the foundation for the next generation of chips to close the gap even further.
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