In our visit with AMD we got to see something I wasn’t really expecting: a functioning Carrizo laptop. (Note that AMD wouldn't let us take pictures, but they did provide some pictures for us to use.) AMD apparently only received initial silicon back from the fab a few weeks back, and they already have a laptop up and running with the early hardware. In fact, not only did they have a functioning Carrizo laptop but they also had several other working Carrizo systems running Windows. Of course, last year AMD had Kaveri up and running and that launched about five months later, so we’re a bit earlier than that for Carrizo but it’s coming along nicely.

One of the features of Carrizo is full support for H.265 decoding, and as an example of why this is needed they had an Intel system running next to the Carrizo system attempting to playback a 4K H.265 video. While the AMD system was easily able to handle the task without dropping any frames, the Intel system was decoding at what appeared to be single digit frame rates. The 4K content was essentially unwatchable on Intel. Of course that’s easy enough to remedy by adding an appropriate GPU that can handle the decoding, but AMD’s point is that their APU on its own is able to do something that a high-end Intel CPU cannot do without additional hardware.

As far as other aspects, we do not have any details on the system specifications or expected final clocks. I did see the clock speed of the prototype laptop, but it’s certainly not final so there’s not much point in going into more detail. AMD also indicated that their eventual goal is to have the prototype laptop equipped with a discrete GPU for Dual Graphics support, but that isn’t in the current prototype.

In terms of using the system, we were unable to run any benchmarks or really do anything more than open Windows Explorer and the system properties. Given this is early hardware there are sure to be some kinks to get worked out over the coming months. AMD is still on track for a Q2/Q3 release of Carrizo, and we’re looking forward to seeing what the Excavator core can do in terms of performance. Also note that the GPU will be “Next Generation” GCN (from the redundant department of redundancy?), with support for DX12. It should be an interesting fall when Carrizo ships.



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  • Calin - Thursday, January 08, 2015 - link

    I remember it as "Department of Redundancy Department"...
    Good job for AMD, but 4k content... when will we see an AMD laptop with 4k display?
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, January 08, 2015 - link

    Carrizo will also exist for desktops, and it can be used with external displays. I do agree that I'll be very surprised if anyone ships a 4K AMD laptop, though. It's basically a problem that AMD is viewed as the budget APU option, and as soon as an OEM goes "budget" in one core element, everything else quickly follows in a race to the bottom. Reply
  • yankeeDDL - Thursday, January 08, 2015 - link

    It's a real pity that there aren't better laptops with AMD's APUs.
    I bought myself a Lenovo Z50 for casual gaming, and IMHO it's a HUGE value for $450.
    With "normal" settings it swallows anything I throw at it, and it handles everything else with ease.
    I wish it had a 1080p screen, but gaming at native resolution is OK and 1080p is probably too much for Kaveri.
    It's a matter of perception, I suppose: my opinion is that for home users AMD's APUs are far more versatile than Intel's.
    Unless one uses the PC/laptop only for office work (where efficiency may make a difference), or for hard-core gaming (where a discrete GPU is needed), I, personally, find AMD's APUs a better choice. More cost effective, and capable of handling light gaming *and* accelerating a lot of apps thanks to the much more powerful GPUs.
    Just my 2 cents.
  • eanazag - Thursday, January 08, 2015 - link

    AMD needs to white box a reference laptop for all the manufacturers that rebadge already. They need to get out of the total budget machine mentality, at least somewherein the market. Reply
  • yankeeDDL - Thursday, January 08, 2015 - link

    I am not sure that the problem is AMD. Or at least not only AMD. Only too often I read reviews that bash AMD and prais Intel. Which from a purely technical point of view, is correct: Core architecture is overall "better" than the Buldozer-derived cores.
    But does it matter? I use 8+hrs every day a Core i3 laptop for work. Moving to the Z50 was completely transparent for me: the bottleneck is, by far, the HD (mechanical in both laptops) so the CPU is so powerful that becomes "irrelevant" for all home/office users which use their PC for email, browsing, preparing documents ...
    The GPU, on the other hand, accelerates photo and video editing (which are become relatively common things to do) as well as Flash-based games (also very popular these days).
    So -I think- the vast majority of non-professional/enthusiast users would be better off with an AMD-based PC but they just don't know it, because everywhere they read they see that Intel's CPUs are faster and more efficient, which is true, but just as a BMW is faster and more efficient than a Ford (generally speaking), it is also much more expensive and because of that, it doesn't mean that a BMW is the right car for everyone.
  • azazel1024 - Thursday, January 08, 2015 - link

    Except the Ford that is similar, probably is actually more efficient as a measure of miles per gallon (maybe not in HP/lb-ft per liter of engine displacement) than the BMW.

    Efficiency does matter. People often care about battery life, and Intel generally seems to be better than AMD in most cases, which means you have either a lighter laptop, or one with better battery life, or both. AMD's sub-20w TDP mobile line of processors are EXTREMELY anemic for CPU performance and generally aren't as powerful on the GPU side either, than Intel's processors in that TDP range. Which means Intel has the best of everything, except maybe price tag.

    Move in to a higher TDP range over 20w in mobile and AMD pulls a clear iGPU win, but generally their CPU performance is still a stinker, but it probably doesn't matter to the average user as they are at good enough (I've used an AMD laptop with a "dual core" single module processor, it was an A6-7000 in it. I thought I had fallen unconcious and woken up in 2008. The performance was really just painful and it wasn't down to the mechanical drive in the thing. Things were just noticably slower than even my tablet generally is (Asus T100) and compared to my couple of year old i5-3317u based laptop...well I choose to find it comical rather than tragic.

    Now some of the dual module or quad module mobile chips, especially ones with decent clock speeds in combination with that, it might be a different story, but then you still have CPU performance that is often punching with a low voltage Intel mobile chip, but at standard voltage CPU power consumptions, even if the graphics are better (to be clear, on the better chips. AMDs 15-17w line up has below the GPU performance of Intels current 15w line up (and I am not including the upcoming Broadwell in that comparison)).
  • yankeeDDL - Saturday, January 10, 2015 - link

    azazel1024, BMW series 3 does 32/45MPG (city/highway) vs 29/40 of a Ford Focus, with the BMW being much more powerful.
    But we're splitting hair: I think the point I was trying to make is clear enough for who wants to understand.

    Regarding the battery life, you seem to have missed the part about non-professionals. Does anyone who is not traveling really care about having 6 vs 8 hrs of battery life?
    If I am using the laptop at home, or I want to bring it to a friend's house, does it really matter?
    No, it doesn't.
    Also, the A6-7400K costs $65: at that price point you need to compare its performance with some low-end Celeron, not with a core i5 which are all above $200.
  • Alexvrb - Saturday, January 10, 2015 - link

    You're comparing the turbodiesel model BMW at $40K+ to a much cheaper naturally aspirated gasoline model Focus. Further diesel fuel is typically more expensive than the 87 octane gasoline the Focus burns. The gasoline model 3 series is turbocharged so it has decent pep to economy ratio but it's a bit fat so it loses on fuel economy. So... yeah. This doesn't change your point but as a car guy I had to mention it. Reply
  • yankeeDDL - Thursday, January 08, 2015 - link

    Put another way: for $159 I can buy a A10 7850K ( or a Core i3 4370 ( The Core i3 is "only" better at single-threaded tasks. For everything else, there's no comparison ( Reply
  • silverblue - Thursday, January 08, 2015 - link

    Your comparison link proves nothing except for two things - 1) AMD's iGPU performance is superior, and 2) Intel's dGPU performance is superior. Reply

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