The Platform

From a design perspective, Carrizo is the biggest departure to AMD’s APU line since the introduction of Bulldozer cores. While the underlying principle of two INT pipes and a shared FP pipe between dual schedulers is still present, the fundamental design behind the cores, the caches and the libraries have all changed. Part of this was covered at ISSCC, which we will also revisit here.

On a high level, Carrizo will be made at the 28nm node using a similar silicon tapered metal stack more akin to a GPU design rather than a CPU design. The new FP4 package will be used, but this will be shared with Carrizo-L, the new but currently unreleased lower-powered ‘Cat’ core based platform that will play in similar markets for lower cost systems. The two FP4 models are designed to be almost plug-and-play, simplifying designs for OEMs. All Carrizo APUs currently have four Excavator cores, more commonly referred to as a dual module design, and as a result the overall design will have 2MB of L2 cache.

Each Carrizo APU will feature AMD’s Graphics Core Next 1.2 architecture, listed above as 3rd Gen GCN, with up to 512 streaming processors in the top end design. Memory will still be dual channel, but at DDR3-2133. As noted in the previous slides where AMD tested on DDR3-1600, probing the memory power draw and seeing what OEMs decide to use an important aspect we wish to test. In terms of compute, AMD states that Carrizo is designed to meet the full HSA 1.0 specification as was released earlier this year. Barring any significant deviations in the specification, AMD expects Carrizo to be certified when the final version is ratified.

Carrizo integrates the southbridge/IO hub into the silicon design of the die itself, rather than a separate on package design. This brings the southbridge down from 40nm+ to 28nm, saving power and reducing long distance wires between the processor and the IO hub. This also allows the CPU to control the voltage and frequency of the southbridge more than before, offering further potential power saving improvements.  Carrizo will also support three displays, allowing for potentially interesting combinations when it comes to more office oriented products and docks. TrueAudio is also present, although the number of titles that support it is few and the quality of both audio codecs and laptop speakers leaves a lot to be desired. Hopefully we will see the TrueAudio DSP opened up in an SDK at some point, allowing more than just specific developers to work with it.

External graphics is supported by a PCIe 3.0 x8 interface, and the system relies on three main rails for voltage across the SoC which allows for separate voltage binning of each of the parts. AMD’s Secure Processor, with cryptography acceleration, secure boot and BitLocker support are all in the mix.

AMD Launches Carrizo: The Laptop Leap of Efficiency Efficiency and Die Area Savings
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  • AS118 - Saturday, June 6, 2015 - link

    I already signed up on the mailing list that tells you when Laptops with Carrizo come out and are ready to buy. You can do so on AMD's website if you're interested. The H.265 hardware decoding alone interests me, and all the other features like program-specific acceleration and the better GPU performance for mainstream games is nice.

    If you only play stuff like LoL or Counterstrike, or browser games or even older games on GoG and Steam, the A10 and up look like they'll be quite good.
  • ivyanev - Sunday, June 7, 2015 - link

    As the performance is more than enough for everyday use, and the price is good, using it in mini PC would be great.
  • watzupken - Thursday, June 11, 2015 - link

    I was thinking the same thing. If they can produce this for use in those NUC sized PC, I will consider getting one as HTPC if the price is right.
  • Fujikoma - Sunday, June 7, 2015 - link

    AMD not including VP9 support is a mistake. They could always drop it if YouTube isn't as popular, but a lot of video in media articles tends to be linked to YouTube.
    It would be nice to see a die shrink with AMD adding more CPU cores to make up the difference to at least compete with Intel in number crunching.
  • ivyanev - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    Try using h264ify plugin for chrome - it disables the vp8 and vp9 video, and youtube plays the mp4 versions - butter smooth and efficient
  • figus77 - Thursday, June 11, 2015 - link

    I think everyone should look at APU with respect, apu is the future of pc and notebook, HBM on next AMD GPU will be a start and test for new APU with HBM on chip ram, that will be faster and faster than any ddr4 now available in market and probably any 'on motherboard' ram we will ever see, AMD could start a revolution in PC market, and other will probably copy them in short, even with faster cpu, but IF that will happens we shall be grate to AMD.
    And sorry for my english...
  • JDub8 - Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - link

    Something I'm always interested in but is never addressed in these articles. The UVD playback and all its magical power savings - what codecs/players support it? If I have a CCCP installed will MPC-HC automaticall benifit? Or will that be reserved for some cyberpower payware dvd/bd player?

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