Kicking off today is AMD’s annual developer conference, which now goes by the name APU13. There will be several APU/CPU related announcements coming out of the show this week, but we’ll start with what’s likely to be the most interesting for our regular readers: the launch date for AMD’s Kaveri APU.

First and foremost, AMD has confirmed that Kaveri will be shipping in Q4’13, with a launch/availability date of January 14th, 2014. For those of you keeping track of your calendars, this is the week after CES 2014, with AMD promising further details on the Kaveri launch for CES.

Second of all, we have confirmation on what the highest shipping APU configuration will be. Kaveri will have up to 4 CPU core (2 modules), which will be based on AMD’s latest revision of their desktop CPU architecture, Steamroller. Meanwhile the GPU will be composed of 8 GCN 1.1 CUs, which would put the SP count at 512 SPs (this would be equivalent to today's desktop Radeon HD 7750). Furthermore AMD is throwing around a floating point performance number – 856 GFLOPS – which thanks to some details found in AMD's footnotes by PCWorld gives us specific clockspeeds and even a product name. A10-7850K CPU clockspeed 3.7GHz, GPU clockspeed 720MHz.

Third, in a departure from how AMD launched Trinity and Richland, Kaveri will be coming to the desktop first. The January 14th date is for the availability of desktop socket FM2+ Kaveri APUs, with server and mobile APUs to follow (these are presumably some of the CES details to come). Pricing and specific SKUs will of course be announced at a later time, and there wasn’t any clarification on whether this was just for OEM hardware, or if we’ll be seeing retail CPUs too.

Finally, AMD has confirmed on the GPU side that Kaveri will be shooting for feature parity with AMD’s latest discrete GPUs, by supporting many of the same features. Specifically, TrueAudio will be making an appearance on Kaveri, bringing AMD’s dedicated audio processing block to their APUs as well as their GPUs. On the discrete GPUs this is a move that was mostly about functionality, but on Kaveri it should take on a second role due to the fact that it’s exactly the kind of CPU-constrained environment for which having dedicated hardware will be a boon. Furthermore, AMD has also confirmed that their new low-level API, Mantle, will also be supported on Kaveri – it is after all a GCN based GPU.

For AMD Kaveri is going to be a big deal; likely the biggest CPU/APU launch for the company in quite some time. Since the acquisition of ATI all the way back in 2006 this is what the company has been building up to: producing a processor with a highly integrated CPU/GPU that allows both of them to be leveraged nearly-transparently by software. Kaveri is the launch vehicle for HSA both as a specific standard and as a general concept for a PC CPU/APU, so it’s something that everyone inside and outside of AMD will be watching closely.

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  • MLSCrow - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    That is absolutely not true. I know many people who would buy a Kaveri over an Intel with discrete GPU. Not to bash Intel as I have all the respect in the world for them and their technologies, however, I definitely give about 10x more credit to AMD, because they are less than a 10th the size of Intel, their entire annual profits are less than Intel's R&D budget alone, and yet they are still able to come up with new, innovative products that are competitive with Intel, and which Intel is forced to copy as they are such great ideas. AMD came up with 64bit cpus first, multi-cores cpus first, APU's first, and now HSA as well as the first truly capable 3D directional audio technology, which they are including in Kaveri! People dont seem to realize that Kaveri isn't just a CPU, it's so much more and all on one chip. The result of which is that you can create an entire gaming PC for such a little amount of money. Not everyone has the cash to dish out for a 4770k, GTX Titan, and multi-hundred dollar sound card. Kaveri offers a nice quad core CPU (keep in mind that 3.7GHz is only what they are offering right out the gate. It is the early, rushed to market model. You can surely expect them to offer higher clocked, better binned versions in the future. I easily see 4GHz+ Kaveri to follow), a GPU that is as good as a low end discrete GPU, which is good enough to play just about everything, including the latest games (albeit at lower settings, but, possibly even at med+ settings if Mantle provides a decent enough boost in performance), and an awesome sound processor, all in one low cost part. With that, you can buy inexpensive and unobtrusive tiny form factor cases and build yourself a portable, respectable, little machine that will handle just about anything that most users will ask of it.

    The new Steamroller cores catch AMD up to Sandy Bridge levels, which to me, is finally an acceptable level of performance and finally a truly competitive position as opposed to before, so kudos to them for finally getting there, even though it's very late.

    In all honesty, I'm torn on what to use for my next build. I'm interested in a 4770K, an FX8350 (there is upside now that games are finally using the additional cores, are being written specifically with AMD 8-core hardware in mind since they own the gaming industry now, and because Mantle may increase the value of the hardware), and then Kaveri. If HSA takes off, Kaveri will truly be a kickass little piece of technology.

    If AMD just made an 8-core Steamroller FX chip, there wouldnt even be any contemplation for me in terms of what to buy. I'd buy it in a heartbeat, but sad face, I must keep my fingers crossed for a future 8c Steamroller or Excavator CPU.

    TL;DR - Kaveri is a lot more than it seems, especially for those on a budget, and there are power users, such as myself, who would indeed consider Kaveri over other options as it offers so much for so little, all with the potential to be amazing if HSA takes off. There's almost nothing bad about Kaveri for what it is. People should keep their minds a bit more open with regard to this little gem.
    Reply
  • formulav8 - Thursday, November 21, 2013 - link

    Also, the gpu should be more discreet-like in performance. If I read the article correctly the gpu and cpu can now share the same address space. Which will reduce the need for memory bandwith since the gpu doesn't have to access everything through the cpu. So this should be a quick gpu inside this chip. Reply
  • Randas45 - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    Hope the apu A10 -7850k will allow the gpu r9 -270x to work with it for better performance!!! :)
    Fingers crossed!
    Reply
  • ericore - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    The APU uses R7 graphics, so that might not work, but fingers crossed indeed.
    I just watched a video that shows the flagship kaveri run battlefield 4 1080 at minimum FPS of 28 (without mantle) on what looks like medium or medium low settings, but still looks great. Take your current A10-6800k, add 10FPS to the min FPS for a given game for Richland, 12 for trinity, and 15 FPS if you had the 256 SP APU and that's a good performance estimation of Kaveri; 15-20% improved single threaded performance, 128 more SPs, higher GPU clock, + still overclock-able albeit not as much, but you'll either be given the performance I state, or you'll be able to reach it.
    Reply
  • sireangelus - Monday, November 18, 2013 - link

    I'm really hoping to see some test of this little beast with bf4 on mantle... i might buy one as a desktop for a gaming rig. Reply
  • Troxie - Monday, November 18, 2013 - link

    now we are looking at apu's that might actually be usefull to casual gamers and power users alike, still not top end but we are almost at the end of the large form factor! Reply
  • boozzer - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    this is why I am holding off on buying a new gaming laptop! can't wait for this! Reply

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