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CES: AMD Launches Kaveri APU With HSA Features

09 January 2014

Lisa Su, general manager for global business units at Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.) took to the stage at the Consumer Electronics Show to launch the company's 28nm Kaveri processor range, which is aimed at desktop and mobile computers.

The Kaveri is an APU or accelerated processing unit, which in AMD's parlance means it combines CPU cores and GPU cores. But Su went further making the claim that this is AMD's first APU with heterogeneous computing features. The idea of the Heterogenous System Architecture (HSA) was first pushed by AMD back in June 2011 and the HSA Foundation now has support from numerous chip companies including AMD, ARM, Qualcomm and Samsung and with the notable absence of Intel Corp.

So the thing that makes Kaveri different is that it supports the HUMA – heterogeneous unified memory access – enhancements that have been developed by HSA Foundation. This means that work can be shared more efficiently between two to four 'Steamroller' CPU cores and eight GCN Radeon R7 GPU cores. "This is the first time you will hear us say with confidence, that we have up to 12 compute cores able to be optimized, CPU, GPU, over 850-GFLOPS," Su told a press conference in Las Vegas.

The result of this portrayed by Su is benchmark superiority over the previous-generation Richland APU from AMD and over the Haswell processor from rival Intel. Su and AMD reckon the Kaveri A10-7850K is between 24 percent and 87 percent better than the Haswell Core i5 4670K from Intel depending on whether it is doing computing or graphics.

The A10-7850K is the top-of-the-range processor with a quad-core CPU, 3.7-GHz clock frequency and aimed at desktop units. It includes 4Mbytes of L2 cache and has a maximum power consumption of about 95 watts.

AMD supports Android-in-Windows PCs

AMD also announced that it continues to work with 2009 software startup BlueStacks Inc. (Campbell, Calif.), which through a form of virtualization allows Android applications to run on Windows PCs.

The two companies now have a joint solution that allows the complete Google Android OS to run on Windows-based tablets, 2-in-1s, notebook and desktop computers. Unlike traditional dual-OS systems, which require the user to disengage from one OS before using another, the AMD and BlueStacks solution runs Android virtually within Windows. The latest optimizations for Kaveri APUs provide a Android user interface and support for Android apps for entertainment and productivity.

As well as supporting hundreds of thousands of Android apps direct from apps stores the BlueStack software supports synchronization between the same apps running on Android clients and on Android-in-Windows PCs. Android apps can also access files in Windows.

"AMD shares our vision of Mobile Plus in providing users with easy access to their favorite Android games, mobile apps and productivity tools from all their devices and moving towards a more open/shared ecosystem," Rosen Sharma, CEO of BlueStacks, in a statement distributed by AMD.

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