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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  • Vi0cT - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    Still don't think 5100 can do a lot to the AMD A10-5750M GPU, I believe that at best it can offer equal performance to it and AMD stills wins in the price/performance (take into account driver optimizations too since ). Also VLIW is a more parallel architecture, so it should fare better in non-mainstream GPGPU stuff, however who runs that kind of stuff on a mobile device is beyond me, the best usage case I can think of (for a notebook) is Nebula 3 and the Volterra kernels on CUDA(Professional Audio) but that is on NVIDIA hardware.

    Still believe the market for both is a bit different, I mean Intel is focusing into getting more mainstream devices meanwhile AMD is kind of stuck in this kind of devices (GX60).

    Even being better than the Intel solution price/performance-wise any design aimed at mainstream will prefer the Intel's lower TDP and power consumption.
    Reply
  • whyso - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    Look at the 4770k igp results from the iris pro article. It looks like HD 4600 SV is quite on par with even the top range of AMD's apus (4770k is around 10-15% faster than trinity, richland is marginally faster than trinity [sometimes slower] so it looks like 8650G is barely faster than HD 4600). Reply
  • Vi0cT - Saturday, June 29, 2013 - link

    In the desktop Richland is 34% faster than the HD4600 in avg.

    The only comparison point we have here for now is 3DMark 11 (Sadly :/) and that puts Richland at 29% advantage vs the HD5100 in the MBA.

    Again the peak theoretical performance difference between the HD4600 and the HD5000 is 63%. Between the HD5000 and the HD5100 there's is only 18.3% even taking into account throttling the best I can see the HD5100 doing is being on par with Richland.

    Also take into account driver optimization and the optimization for AMD/NVIDIA's GPU architectures.

    Still with Richland we're still talking about VLIW, with CGN (Kaveri) AMD will gain ground against Intel.

    If done right AMD can get this performance into the 15-20W targets and beat Intel at 28-35W with less problems in CPU intensive games.
    Reply
  • Khato - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    Pricing is definitely a legitimate concern... too bad that we have no clue how much AMD's mobile parts even cost isn't it? They don't even publish recommended pricing. If we compare similar models that differ only in their processor manufacturer (Lenovo Edge E531 vs E535) then you're talking a $50 premium for the Intel chip on the base offering... though Intel's recommended pricing is the same for the upgraded i5-3230m as the base i3-3110m, so let's figure that the i5-3230m actually costs that recommended $225. In that case we arrive at roughly $100 for the base AMD Trinity and then something around $200 for the A10.

    Regardless it doesn't matter too much. For comparison, Iris Pro models start at a recommended price of $440 for the i7-4750HQ. And then all the non-i7 28W Iris parts have a recommended price of $342. But yeah, who knows what actual prices are? The i3-4158U (28W Iris 5100 part) may well be cheaper than AMD's A10-5750m. And as esgreat already stated, expect Iris 5100 to be quite a bit faster than HD 5000.
    Reply
  • Vi0cT - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    I'm pretty sure AMD is giving lower prices to OEMs (else they will get almost 0 design wins) many OEMs will try to get extra margins from the AMD. Also don't underestimate 50 USDs. In developing countries (being from one myself) what looks like "50 bucks" makes a huge difference for the avg Joe.

    It's the difference between the guy actually buying or not the AMD one.
    Reply
  • Khato - Saturday, June 29, 2013 - link

    Oh, I wouldn't be surprised if AMD is giving lower prices to OEMs for their low-end models. But they want to make more money on their 'high end' SKUs same as Intel. Heh, and if Intel's i3-4158U outperforms AMD's top end mobile offering then I'm sure that the AMD part will be priced a bit lower than it. But it's hard to claim that AMD has a massive lead in price/performance if that's the case. Regardless, it's all speculation since neither AMD nor Intel give real pricing information for mobile parts. Reply
  • Vi0cT - Saturday, June 29, 2013 - link

    However we can see it like this, maybe both sell the SKUs at the same price (let's say 5% more or less whoever gets it) and the OEMs get those "50 bucks" just cause it says Intel (there is a lot of change that is happening), then it's not Intel's pricing problem :P Reply
  • Vi0cT - Saturday, June 29, 2013 - link

    there is a lot of chance* Reply
  • FwFred - Saturday, June 29, 2013 - link

    Why would you think the maximum turbo rate has anything to do with the average GPU clock for a 15W part vs 28W? Reply
  • kyuu - Saturday, June 29, 2013 - link

    There is no mobile GT3e part, so what are you even talking about. Or does your definition of "fair" somehow involve comparing mobile Richland to desktop Haswell? Reply

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