AMD launches "Richland" A-Series APUs: slight speed bump, better power management

By on March 12, 2013, 1:30 PM

AMD has formally announced its next generation of A-series processors, codenamed Richland, ahead of their planned availability in laptops starting next month. As we’ve mentioned before, this new APU uses the same base silicon as Trinity, including a Piledriver-based CPU and a GPU rooted in the Cayman architecture launched in 2011 as the HD 6970. It’s even made on the same 32-nm process as Trinity, but AMD promises some clock speed improvements, better power management, and a few new software features.

The line-up

Four chips are being introduced today and they’re all 35W parts intended for non-ultrabook class notebooks. These include a couple of quad cores, the A10-5750M and A8-5550M, as well as two dual cores branded as the A6-5350M and A4-5150M. Overall they offer around a 10% CPU frequency boost compared to the Trinity chips they are replacing as well as 4-7% faster graphics performance in base and Turbo Mode.

Model Cores CPU Clock GPU GPU Clock GPU Cores L2 Cache Max DDR3 TDP
A10-5750M 4 2.5 / 3.5GHz HD 8650G 533 / 720MHz 384 4MB DDR3-1866 35W
A8-5550M 4 2.1 / 3.1GHz HD 8550G 515 / 720MHz 256 4MB DDR3-1600 35W
A6-5350M 2 2.9 / 3.5GHz HD 8450G 533 / 720MHz 192 1MB DDR3-1600 35W
A4-5150M 2 2.7 / 3.3GHz HD 8350G 514 / 720MHz 128 1MB DDR3-1600 35W

Power management

Despite keeping the same power ratings as its predecessors AMD isn’t just claiming a slight performance boost with Richland, it also says that the new platform should draw less overall power too under certain scenarios. AMD claims Richland consumes 17% less power than Trinity at idle and close to 40% less when playing 720p video, for example, but the new chips will draw just about the same power when browsing the web.

Much of this improvement is credited to a new Hybrid Boost power management scheme that uses on-die temperature sensors to determine what needs to be clocked down and what can keep running at higher frequencies, thus handling power consumption and clock speeds more effectively. This is similar to what Intel started doing with Sandy Bridge and Nvidia with GPU Boost 2.0 on the new GTX Titan.

In addition to temperature sensitivity, AMD also improved Richland's power management with smarter algorithms to determine if the CPU or GPU is bottlenecking system performance, and either save power or raise the voltage and clock speed for the corresponding component accordingly.

Software enhancements

AMD has introduced several platform-level enhancements, including support for the quick resume and wireless connect tech built into Windows 8, as well as a bundle of AMD-branded software that will supposedly enable new “experiences” for a more natural and differentiated user/PC interaction.

These include the gesture and facial-recognition features that AMD showed off at CES earlier this year to translate hand waving into commands for things like media playback or web browsing, and using your laptop’s webcam to log into Windows -- not ground-breaking or terribly useful features, but “Richland exclusives”.

Perhaps more exciting is the introduction of Screen Mirror, which will let you stream video across a wireless network to any DLNA-compliant device. This is essentially AMD’s answer to Intel’s WiDi technology.

Other extras as part of the software bundle include AMD Quick Stream (prioritizes media streaming over other PC functions so no hiccups will occur), AMD Steady Video (uses processing algorithms to stabilize video images), and AMD Perfect Picture HD (de-interlacing, contrast enhancement, color saturation, and vibrancy).

Availability and the road ahead

As mentioned above, Richland APUs should arrive in regular laptops starting next month, while 17W variants for ultra-thin notebooks as well as desktop parts should get here by the Summer.

The new chips are somewhat of a stopgap solution for AMD, however, as the company is reportedly on track to replace Richland later this year with Kaveri. The latter is built on a 28nm process and will feature updated Steamroller CPU cores alongside a new integrated GPU based on the Graphics Core Next architecture.




User Comments: 15

Got something to say? Post a comment
JC713 JC713 said:

I feel like they should rename this APU junk, no normal consumer understands that

RH00D RH00D said:

I feel like they should rename this APU junk, no normal consumer understands that

If a sales person saying "An APU contains the CPU and GPU in one chip." can't enlighten the consumer enough, then I'm not convinced they would even understand "CPU" or "GPU" in the first place.

JC713 JC713 said:

If a sales person saying "An APU contains the CPU and GPU in one chip." can't enlighten the consumer enough, then I'm not convinced they would even understand "CPU" or "GPU" in the first place.

Yeah, but I feel like it isnt a good way of advertising a product: "an all new APU from AMD", it just sounds funky. It may just be me, but I feel like this could be a reason to their weak sales. Most people know CPU, but not APU.

5 people like this | Puiu Puiu said:

If a sales person saying "An APU contains the CPU and GPU in one chip." can't enlighten the consumer enough, then I'm not convinced they would even understand "CPU" or "GPU" in the first place.

Yeah, but I feel like it isnt a good way of advertising a product: "an all new APU from AMD", it just sounds funky. It may just be me, but I feel like this could be a reason to their weak sales. Most people know CPU, but not APU.

Trust me most people don't know what a CPU is. I've repaired too many pc's and laptops and I know for a fact that 90% don't even know what Windows they have and what Office is, even though they use it daily for hours. (if I mention "browser" they look at me like I'm speaking in an alien language)

Ignorance is bliss.

JC713 JC713 said:

Trust me most people don't know what a CPU is. I've repaired too many pc's and laptops and I know for a fact that 90% don't even know what Windows they have and what Office is, even though they use it daily for hours. (if I mention "browser" they look at me like I'm speaking in an alien language)

Ignorance is bliss.

haha I hear ya man. I guess so.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Sadly, ignorance stretches all over the IT also. Not so long ago a client of mine asked me to assist his windows developers (well-paid ones) on a certain project. Imagine my shock when I asked one of the developers about the version of Visual Studio that he has been using for the project, and getting back - "let me check that...". It's like in an ordinary world someone is asked about his date of birth and in response promises to get back to you on this...

So I'm not surprised if APU makes no sense to the majority of readers.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

I laugh at those dubious ad-s like that guy in the kitchen. So, I imagine myself making my favorite mince and pasta, and I have a tablet PC in front of me.... Log-in - wave to the left, here goes the pasta hanging down the lampshade and the fridge; Pressing Ok - wave to the right, here go pieces of mince all over the floor, and window glass, to my cat's much liking...

Gee, I like my modern digital kitchen, and so does my cat, keeps him busy licking it out.

JC713 JC713 said:

Sadly, ignorance stretches all over the IT also. Not so long ago a client of mine asked me to assist his windows developers (well-paid ones) on a certain project. Imagine my shock when I asked one of the developers about the version of Visual Studio that he has been using for the project, and getting back - "let me check that...". It's like in an ordinary world someone is asked about his date of birth and in response promises to get back to you on this...

So I'm not surprised if APU makes no sense to the majority of readers.

Yeah, at my school I had to teach the "IT person" how to use VLC media player...

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

I just hope Richland ULV parts don't end up delayed like Trinity, they could be a very nice alternative to overpriced Intel Inside ultrabooks.

But even if they do, there's still Kabini.

JC713 JC713 said:

I just hope Richland ULV parts don't end up delayed like Trinity, they could be a very nice alternative to overpriced Intel Inside ultrabooks.

But even if they do, there's still Kabini.

I really like AMDs new CPU labeling. (design wise)

Chazz said:

I laugh at those dubious ad-s like that guy in the kitchen. So, I imagine myself making my favorite mince and pasta, and I have a tablet PC in front of me.... Log-in - wave to the left, here goes the pasta hanging down the lampshade and the fridge; Pressing Ok - wave to the right, here go pieces of mince all over the floor, and window glass, to my cat's much liking...

Gee, I like my modern digital kitchen, and so does my cat, keeps him busy licking it out.

I'd imagine someone who's deaf would be used to using motions with their hands with minimal effort, extreme accuracy and could rather adapt quite easily to that kind of tech. Especially with all of the voice interactions companies are experimenting with. But, then again maybe they'd become the deaf equivalent of "that Bluetooth guy" amongst friends. And the tech would flop.

Guest said:

AMD will gain market share year by year. New generation young people are interested in AMD APU and are admiring it. Those will suggest their relatives and friends to buy AMD laptops.

Most people don't know much about the computer they use. Once a girl came to me with problem in her laptop. I checked it. Virus infection caused every windows services to stop. It really took long time to start any program. no sound. no internet. bought around 2010. pentium processor, 1 GB RAM and windows 7. I fixed it by installing new OS and antivirus. Next day she asked me what else what can be done to increase the performance. so I said add more 1 GB RAM atleast. She said what is "RAM".

3 people like this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

AMD will gain market share year by year. New generation young people are interested in AMD APU and are admiring it. Those will suggest their relatives and friends to buy AMD laptops.

Wow, sounds like the new generation must be really tech savvy...

Most people don't know much about the computer they use. Once a girl came to me with problem in her laptop. I checked it. Virus infection caused every windows services to stop. It really took long time to start any program. no sound. no internet. bought around 2010. pentium processor, 1 GB RAM and windows 7. I fixed it by installing new OS and antivirus. Next day she asked me what else what can be done to increase the performance. so I said add more 1 GB RAM atleast. She said what is "RAM".

...except for the girls ?

/Guest account: Posting contradictory statements since forever.

spencer spencer said:

Ignorance is bliss, at my school we have macbook pros, and the IT dudes hardly know what a cpu is and then act better than you because they have a name tag, when I have a problem with the mac (I was unhappily issued) I just want to take apart the thing and fix it but no...Let the "professional" do it. even though they aren't certified at all.

JC713 JC713 said:

I love watching the IT people at my school fail though, if only I had popcorn.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.