AMD has introduced its mainstream processors, the Fusion A-series, as part of its accelerated processing unit (APU) range which the vendor claims will revolutionise the computers industry.
APUs are multi-core processors which combine CPU and GPU chip technology.
The chip vendor released the Fusion APU range in February with the E-series, designed for mainstream notebooks, all-in-one PCs and small desktops along with the C-series for HD netbooks and emerging devices.
At launch, AMD touted the APUs as a big leap in improving battery for notebooks and graphics performance for all compatible computing devices.
With the A-series, the vendor has marketed it as a game changer, claiming the chips will shift the entire computer industry from a CPU centric world to a “heterogeneous computing world”.
Blending CPU and GPU technology on a single chip is not particularly new to the industry. Intel launched its Sandy Bridge processors, which integrate graphics silicon onto the main processor, in January, a month before AMD’s APU launch.
But AMD has supercharged the A-series’ graphics capability with a discrete-level DirectX11-based graphics engine combined with four x86 CPU cores, dedicated HD video processing and dual graphics function.
What dual graphics essentially does is when a discrete AMD Radeon graphics card is paired with an A-series APUs, they can combine their graphics processing power. This, according to AMD, cannot be done if the graphics card is combined with a competitor’s processors.
Armed with these features, AMD is adamant the A-series performs better against processors from its main competitor. With some can even see an 80 per cent graphical performance improvement, the vendor claimed.
At the A-series launch event in Sydney, AMD ran comparisons between its A8 chips, the best from its range, between an Intel i7 and two i5 processors. AMD did indeed blitz the graphical performance tests although it is worth noting that it might have been a bit unfair A8 chip with Intel i5 chips they rank lower than the i7s and the A-series is the best of the Fusion range.
The new APUs are the first in the family to have AMD Steady Video, a feature which stabilises and smooths out the “shaky cam” effect during video playback. It also natively supports USB 3.0.
For notebooks, the A-series can dramatically improve battery life, according to the AMD.
“When we launched our last series of APUs back in February, we took a major leap forward in battery life and we’re definitely doing the same thing with the A-series,” AMD director of client product marketing, Bob Grim. “It is with a lot of smiles and happiness that we say we are number one in battery life.”
The battery improvement applies to when a notebook is in idle mode and when it is being used consistently.
“It is a giant step forward to where we used to be,” Grim said.
AMD has not disclosed the price range for the A-series yet but the, Grim said prices are comparable to Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors.
The A-series will be in more than 150 notebooks and desktops starting from launch.