Introducing the AMD A10-5750M and Mobile Richland

As an incremental release, AMD's Richland is a little bit hard to build up enthusiasm for. Architecturally almost identical to its predecessor, Trinity, Richland's chief refinement is a substantial improvement on its implementation of AMD's Turbo Core technology. Richland is able to manage its power states with finer granularity, which allows AMD to in some cases substantially beef up the clocks that the CPU and GPU halves of the chip can hit.

On the flipside, despite the branding shenanigans going on at AMD, we're still fundamentally dealing with the same architecture as Trinity. That means one or two Piledriver CPU modules paired up with VLIW4 GPU clusters. It's a little bizarre that we saw Kabini and Temash first, since those chips marry AMD's updated Jaguar low-power CPU architecture with their current generation GCN GPU architecture; Richland is essentially old technology that's seen a healthy refinement. The market segments that Kabini and Temash serve are the fastest growing, so it's understandable, but AMD's "high end" APU architecture looks a little antiquated by comparison.

While desktop Richland has been a little underwhelming, the mobile version should have a lot more teeth. Here's a comparison, generation by generation:

AMD A-Series Mobile APUs (Mainstream TDP)
Model A10-5750M A10-4600M A8-5550M A8-4500M A6-5350M A4-4000
Modules/Cores 2/4 2/4 2/4 2/4 1/2 1/2
CPU Clock 2.5 2.3 2.1 1.9 2.9 2.7
CPU Turbo 3.5 3.2 3.1 2.8 3.5 3.2
Graphics HD 8650G HD 7660G HD 8550G HD 7640G HD 8450G HD 7520G
GPU Cores 384 384 256 256 192 192
GPU Clock 533 496 515 496 533 496
GPU Turbo 720 685 720 685 720 685
L2 Cache 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 1MB 1MB
Max DDR3 1866 1600 1600 1600 1600 1600

With the new generation, everyone gets a 200MHz bump in CPU base frequency and a much more modest 20-40MHz jump in base GPU clocks. Turbo clocks jump 35MHz on GPUs across the board, nothing to write home about, while CPU turbo clocks jump 300MHz across the board. Since Trinity was chiefly CPU limited, virtually any improvement in core clocks can be a big help. What we really need is for Richland to hit and sustain turbo clocks for longer periods of time, though, and hopefully AMD's improved Turbo Core technology can make up the difference.

Unlike with Trinity, AMD didn't seed Richland reference notebooks to reviewers, so our reference unit is the updated MSI GX60. Part 2 of my review will cover the MSI GX60 specifically, but for now, here's the spec table:

MSI GX60 (2013) Specifications
Processor AMD A10-5750M
(4x2.5GHz, Turbo to 3.5GHz, 32nm, 4MB L2, 35W)
Chipset AMD Hudson-3
Memory 2x8GB A-Data DDR3-1600 (originally 1x8GB)
Graphics AMD Radeon HD 8650G
(VLIW4; 384 cores; 533/720MHz base/turbo frequencies)

AMD Radeon HD 7970M 2GB GDDR5
(GCN; 1280 cores; 850MHz/4.8GHz core/memory; 256-bit memory bus)
Display 15.6" LED Matte 16:9 1080p
LGD0259
Hard Drive(s) Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB 7200-RPM SATA 3Gbps HDD
Optical Drive TSSTCorp SN-406AB BD-ROM/DVDRW
Networking Killer Networks e2200 PCIe Gigabit Ethernet
Atheros AR9485WB-EG 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
Audio Realtek ALC892 HD audio (THX TruStudio Pro)
2.1 speakers
Mic, headphone, line-in, and line-out jacks
Battery 9-cell, 87Wh
Front Side -
Right Side Mic, headphone, line-in, and line-out jacks
1x USB 2.0
Optical drive
Left Side Vent
3x USB 3.0
SD card reader
Back Side Kensington lock
AC adapter
Ethernet
D-SUB
Mini-DisplayPort
HDMI
Vent
Operating System Windows 8 64-bit
Dimensions 14.97" x 10.24" x 1.77"
380mm x 260mm x 45mm
Weight 7.7 lbs
3.49kg
Extras Webcam
USB 3.0
Card reader
THX TruStudio Pro audio
Killer Networks wired networking
SteelSeries keyboard
Warranty 2-year parts and labor
Pricing $1,199

Without getting into the details, relevant to testing is that the GX60 actually ships with only one DIMM channel populated. While the CPU isn't heavily affected by operating in single-channel mode, the IGP takes a nearly 50% hit to performance virtually across the board. It also doesn't ship with any solid state storage, so PCMark7 is going to be heavily impacted by the mechanical hard disk. In the second part of this review, when I tackle the GX60 specifically, you'll be able to get a better idea of what the loss of that second DIMM means.

System and Futuremark Performance
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  • kyuu - Saturday, June 29, 2013 - link

    I'm referring specifically to the GT3e parts, of course, in case it wasn't clear. Reply
  • trisct - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    AMD won't interest me again until there's a high end APU with GCN cores available. I wouldn't buy a CPU that is about to be surpassed by a game console. Reply
  • Rontalk - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    "Unlike with Trinity, AMD didn't seed Richland reference notebooks to reviewers"

    Ha ha, I wonder why!
    Reply
  • Shivansps - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    Why is compared to a ULT Haswell? it shouldt be compared to mainstream mobile Haswell parts? Reply
  • FwFred - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    To be fair, there are only i5 and i7 mobile Haswells released. The i5s only come in the 15W (GT2/GT3) and 28W (GT3) variety. The GT3 comparison would be very interesting, but I'm not sure Anand has any of these parts. Reply
  • Beenthere - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    Richland appeals to those who want the best performance/value relationship in a laptop. Few people know or care if a laptop APU is properly rated at 35w or falselty advertised as 17w like Intel does. What most laptop buyers care about is running actual software and reasonable battery life. Richland delivers what the majority of consumers desire and at a price that won't break the bank. When you compare performance based on retail price, Richland is the winner not the $200+ more expensive Intel models. Reply
  • junky77 - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    thanks for the review

    what about power consumption?
    Reply
  • Khato - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    In the many years that I've been reading Anandtech this may well be the first article of genuinely disappointing quality. It's clearly a conscious decision on the part of the author to omit the Haswell GT3 and GT3e benchmarks of previous reviews, apparently justified by the opinion expressed on the third page of, "The only reprieve AMD seems to be getting on this front is the unusual rarity of GT3-enabled parts in the market." And since the Haswell SKUs with faster graphics were omitted from the benchmark results leaving only the low-end 15W GT2 SKU to fight for the title against AMD's top of the line 35W Richland we get the bizarre conclusion of, "AMD continues to offer superior mobile graphics." What's even worse is that the author then acknowledges the fact that AMD has markedly slower graphics in their A8 and A6 lines. (The commentary on desktop Haswell in a mobile review is also a tad bit grating.)

    Anyway, I've always liked Anandtech as articles typically include all the relevant information along with informed commentary. Hopefully this review is merely a random anomaly.
    Reply
  • Vi0cT - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    I agree with you in the sense that Dustin can/should get higher quality stuff out but are you taking into account the price difference for GT3/GT3e enabled solutions?.

    The last time I checked, an Iris Pro 5200 enabled SKU was around ~600 USD with the price difference you can get a current gen discrete mobile GPU(from AMD or NVIDIA) then Intel doesn't stand a chance (GPU).

    As far as results goes in the HD 4000 <> HD 5000 comparison article the only benchmark we can relate to is Futuremark 3DMark 11.

    Resuming for you here:

    MSI GX60 (A10 5750M + HD8650G): 1336
    AMD Trinity (A10 4600M + 7660G): 1138
    Intel HD 5000 ( 2013 13-inch MBA): 1080

    So... HD5000 good lower results than Trinity, and considering that the HD5100 just got +0.1Ghz I don't think it's close to Richland.

    Then there is Iris Pro 5200, and then we get into HD 8850M /GT 750M territory price-wise.

    Not to mention that right now the AMD APU is a better option in the price/performance department (for gaming).
    Reply
  • esgreat - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    I the MacBook Air was power constrained (15W part). Iris 5100 is a better comparison not because of it's +0.1GHz nominal frequency change, but it's ability to operate at higher power (28W). This means it doesn't have to throttle down on power as frequently. Reply

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