It’s been a while since AMD released a new platform for its CPUs. The last time this happened was in 2011 when Team Red launched its Bulldozer CPUs and the AM3+ platform.
This week AMD announced its new AM4 platform which will support the new 7th generation Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) it announced as well as the highly anticipated Zen CPUs coming next year.
We’ll start off with the seven Bristol Ridge APUs AMD announced.
From the above spec table we can see, firstly, a massive improvement in performance per watt. In a report by Digital Trends, AMD’s A12-9800 APU displayed performance equal to that of an Intel Core i5-6500.
What is interesting is that when comparing the graphical capabilities of the two processors in 3DMark 11, the A12-9800 out performed the Core i5-6500 by as much as 99%.
Now, you could argue that this is Intel’s old generation but its a dramatic improvement from the AMD side where they’ve played second fiddle to Intel for as long one can recall.
Digital Trends also points out that the new APUs will support the latest UHD streaming standards such as H.264 and H.265 as well as the 1080p VP9 standard for high compression video.
An all new, all inclusive socket
Rather than having a separate socket for its APUs and high-end FX CPUs, AMD is using the same socket for both these new chips and the forthcoming Summit Ridge Zen chips.
The platform also boasts new chipsets.
For the average PC users that wants to plug everything in and go, there is the A320 chipset while for users that want to game but don’t quite need to crank the dials up to 11, there’s the B350 chipset.
The “enthusiast” grade chipset is yet to be announced by AMD but will reportedly be suitable for over-clockers and users that want multi-GPU setups,
For the small form factor builders there will be a choice of the X300, B300 and A300 chipsets.
From that we can draw the conclusion that if you want unabridged performance look for “X” in the chipset name, if you want value and performance look for a “B” and if you want to leave your budget intact look for “A”.
Stand out features of the new chipset include support for; DDR4 memory, USB 3.1, NVMe storage and SATA Express.
Now for the bad news
AMD has not announced a consumer launch date instead it has said that these APUs and chipsets will be made available only to original equipment manufacturers for now.
The first two manufacturers that will produce Bristol Ridge based PCs this year will be HP and Lenovo. Once AMD announces a consumer launch date for this equipment we’ll be sure to let you know.
From all of this the biggest take away for us is that AMD is actually competing with Intel.
Of course this is just on a performance basis, the real test will be how Team Red performs when consumers are faced with a choice of which brand to put in their PCs.[Source – Digital Trends] [Image – AMD]