At Computex 2015, AMD has launched their new Carrizo APUs, which are primarily focused on bringing great performance to mainstream laptops at lower power consumption levels than its predecessors.
Carrizo debuts with new 'Excavator' x86 CPU cores, which AMD claims will provide 4-15 percent better clock-for-clock performance than its predecessor, while using no more die space. AMD has reduced L2 cache from 2 MB of 1 MB per 2 core module, while doubling each core's L1 cache to 32 kB, which helped reduce power consumption by around 50% for acceptable performance levels.
Each Carrizo APU is built on the same 28nm process as AMD's previous APUs, but despite the lack of a new process node, AMD claims Carrizo is highly optimized for operation at 15W, providing better performance than Kaveri in a similar power envelope. Carrizo also scales to 35W, again providing better performance, although AMD says that optimizations at 15W were a higher priority.
On the GPU side, Carrizo ships with eight GCN 1.2 compute units, delivering 512 stream processors, plus DirectX 12 and FreeSync support. AMD claims peak performance for Carrizo's GPU is 819 GFLOPS, with improved performance at both 15W and 35W compared to Kaveri, thanks partly to higher frequencies and more compute units in 15W models.
Carrizo is also AMD's first HSA 1.0 compliant APU, and their first APU that comes with a dedicated HEVC/H.265 hardware decoding block. AMD claims that video playback power consumption has been cut in half with Carrizo, allowing users to watch videos for a significantly longer period of time on systems with similar hardware.
AMD hasn't revealed any specific specifications for their Carrizo parts, although it appears all models will come with four Excavator CPU cores and eight GCN 1.2 CUs. The highest-end and presumably 35W Carrizo part will see CPU cores run at up to 3.4 GHz, while the GPU will boost up to 800 MHz.
Carrizo is primarily designed for laptops in the $400-700 range, and AMD expects systems packing their new APU to arrive near the end of June. It'll be interesting to see what systems choose Carrizo over an Intel Broadwell part, especially as AMD touts better compute performance at similar 15W power levels. However Intel has always been an OEM favorite, so AMD faces an uphill battle to get their silicon into the latest products.