For anyone tracking AMD’s family of Accelerated Processing Units (APUs), the last generation Carrizo was launched back in the middle of 2015. This was based on the fourth iteration of the Bulldozer module design (the cores are codenamed Excavator), focused entirely on notebooks at a 15-35W power window. Today marks the pre-announcement of the 2016 line, Bristol Ridge, for notebooks.

The main difference between Bristol Ridge and Carrizo is the implementation of a DDR4 memory controller, along with minor microarchitecture manufacturing tweaks. We’ve already seen Carrizo/Excavator under DDR4 in the embedded space, and AMD is claiming that this latest generation of Bristol Ridge offers up to at 50% CPU improvement over Kaveri, launched in 2014, and Bristol Ridge is some 10% over Carrizo due to the new memory support.

Despite AMD quoting a 50% gain in Cinebench compared to Kaveri, AMD’s strengths in the notebook line are partly due to the integrated graphics, which historically gets a boost from faster memory. Although this depends on the underlying design by the OEM, as we detailed in our Carrizo OEM overview that pointed the finger at base single channel memory designs being the norm at retail, rather than dual channel.

Today is a pre-announcement, which means that details are very thin. The reason this is not a full launch lies in one of AMD’s OEM partners, HP, announcing a new notebook at GTC this week based on AMD’s Bristol Ridge designs. HP is AMD’s biggest partner in notebooks, and is launching the HP Envy x360 15-inch variant using a Bristol Ridge part under the AMD FX naming scheme.

We’ll go deeper into the Envy x360 announcements in a separate news post. But this pre-announcement means that AMD are happy to talk about high level details such as 3DMark performance compared to Carrizo and Intel, FreeSync sypport, Dual Graphics, DirectX 12 and so on, but we will have to wait until Computex 2016 when we’ll get the full breakdown of the APU advancements, SKU names, clock speeds and where these APUs will be implemented.

As mentioned in previous news posts, AMD on the desktop has confirmed that Bristol Ridge and the upcoming Summit Ridge APUs featuring a brand new microarchitecture design will share a platform. We could extrapolate (as others have done so) to suggest that this notebook platform will also be the one supporting Summit Ridge on notebooks when it is released, however AMD has not officially confirmed this for this pre-announcement. We will have to wait for Computex for more details.

Further Reading:

AMD Launches Excavator APUs for Embedded with DDR4 Support
Who Controls the User Experience? AMD’s Carrizo Thoroughly Tested
AMD Launches Carrizo: The Laptop Leap of Efficiency and Architecture Updates

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  • nandnandnand - Tuesday, April 5, 2016 - link

    14nm Zen should improve CPU/compute in laptops so much that it will allow AMD to be used for what you would prefer Intel for previously. Even if 40% IPC improvement is an exaggeration, the improvement will be tangible. It could also get a really nice boost in graphics... like double the performance or better. Skipping 20nm is a big deal. Now we just have to wait another year for it. Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Tuesday, April 26, 2016 - link

    AMD better mandate dual channel memory this time around Reply
  • HollyDOL - Tuesday, April 5, 2016 - link

    Seeing the first picture (with the chips photo) the first idea in my mind was like 'wtf that's as huge as floor tile'. Reply
  • extide - Tuesday, April 5, 2016 - link

    I'd love a high res version of that pic with all the die shots. I love die shots and it's cool to see the progression. Although, I think it's weird that AMD is counting Beema as an entire generation when it is technically the lower end line, isn't it, compared to the rest of them? Oh well. Reply
  • artk2219 - Wednesday, April 20, 2016 - link

    Id love a die thats as big as a floor tile, zero real world use but damn could i use a new space heater Reply
  • Pissedoffyouth - Tuesday, April 5, 2016 - link

    I'd love an AMD replacement for my A10-7800. Hopefully soon! Reply
  • jjj - Tuesday, April 5, 2016 - link

    Stoney Ridge should be a lot more interesting, if it's cheap enough. Reply
  • psychobriggsy - Tuesday, April 5, 2016 - link

    I think this pretty much matches what everyone was expecting really. Sure, some people hoped for more, but even for them it was just hopes (14nm, 16CU, etc).

    10% over Carrizo is good for laptops (especially if they are dual-channel ...).
    And it's good to see Kaveri finally buried on the desktop. The 50% improvement is probably mostly from the improved power management, letting the chip run faster for longer at lower temperatures.

    For the price they are very good chips. And at least AM4 will come with compatibility with future Zen SoCs.
    Reply
  • extide - Tuesday, April 5, 2016 - link

    Yeah ... we will not be seeing 14nm CPU's or APU's from AMD until Zen, and for APU's we still have a good year's wait. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Tuesday, April 5, 2016 - link

    "Pre-announces!"

    Apple announces an iPad and a few days later you can pre-order. A few days after that it's ready to go.
    Reply

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