Introducing AMD's Mobile Kaveri APUs

A couple weeks back, AMD flew us out to San Francisco for a briefing on their upcoming Mobile Kaveri APUs. Along with the briefing, we were given some time to run benchmarks on a prototype Kaveri laptop, though I'll note up front that the laptop isn't intended for retail and is merely a demonstration of performance potential. A funny thing happened about a week after the briefing, which some of you likely saw: AMD's web team accidentally posted all of the specs for the upcoming mobile Kaveri APUs ahead of schedule (for about half a day). We removed our coverage of the Mobile Kaveri APUs when AMD corrected the error, but we might as well jump right into things with the overview of the new mobile APUs.

Kaveri is AMD’s latest generation high-performance APU, and appeared first released on the desktop back in January of this year. We were a bit surprised – perhaps even perplexed – about the desktop first launch, considering AMD's "we're not going after the highest performance CPU market" stance. Then again, AMD-equipped laptops haven't been as strong as Intel-equipped laptops – not that the APUs aren't fast enough, but getting OEM partners to make a compelling AMD laptop seems rather difficult. As the saying goes, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." AMD has provided a compelling APU and platform solution for a couple years, but the perception is that AMD platforms are budget platforms, so basically almost every corner gets cut. I'll have more to say on that later, but it's still a major concern in my book. Regardless, since the desktop Kaveri launch we have been eagerly awaiting the release of the mobile incarnation.

The launch has been scheduled for H1 2014 for some time now, and with AMD able to offer significant GPU performance with their APUs coupled with the space benefits of an integrated GPU versus a discrete GPU, it should be an easy sell. Mobile of course is not without its challenges. Power use is paramount, and while AMD has always been able to meet the desired TDPs, there is often the matter of performance tradeoffs required to hit those TDPs. Mobile is also a highly contested market right now; Intel of course has their Bay Trail and Haswell parts, but we're now seeing tablets and ARM-based Chromebooks pushing into AMD territory.

Despite the somewhat questionable decision to launch first on desktop – particularly odd given both Llano and Trinity launched more or less simultaneously on laptops and desktops – it's now time to pull the wrappings off Kaveri for the second time and see what AMD has created. We're now almost exactly a year after the launch of mobile Richland, which was really just a minor tweak of Trinity that launched about two years back. This is the first major architectural upgrade for AMD laptop APUs in two years, and expectations and hopes are high.

Kaveri brings a number of improvements, including the higher performance Steamroller based CPU cores and modern GCN based GPUs. We've previously covered this material, so rather than rehash things on the mobile side I'll simply refer back to the desktop Kaveri launch information. (You can also view the full presentation deck in the above gallery if you're interested.) AMD's Kaveri will be going up against Intel’s existing Haswell products, and this is AMD’s best chance to claw back market share from the Haswell family. Of course AMD has other APUs as well – specifically, Beema/Mullins will target the ultra-low power and tablet markets – but those compete in an even lower price bracket and go up against Intel's Bay Trail offerings. For now, let's start with an overview of the new Mobile Kaveri APUs.

AMD Mobile Kaveri SKUs
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  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - link

    i7-4550u has a tray price of $426. It would be interesting to see that comparison, but what is the point ultimately? Also, they probably couldnt get their hands on one. Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - link

    While Kaveri seems like a good chip, it has two problems. It's cpu performance is still very poor compared to intel, and it is coming to mobile WAY too close to broadwell, which will probably be slightly faster, if intel bragging of 40% graphic improvement is correct. on top of that, anandtech, please compare the kaveri to 37 watt i5s. that's the real competition for this chip. leave the 19 watt to duke it out with the 15 watt chips. Reply
  • WorldMadness - Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - link

    You can look at tomshardware They reviewed FX7600 vs i7-4702 except the cpu performance everything else is not to shabby, decent enough but still not to my expectation as we know except MSI every single vendor would come out with shitty spec Reply
  • silverblue - Thursday, June 05, 2014 - link

    Yet there's still the unexplained matter as to why the last two generations of GX70s performed so badly... Reply
  • mga318 - Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - link

    Considering that the Kaveri FX has a 35W TDP part while the i7U+GT750M has 67W TDP, I'm quite impressed. This could have a lot of promise if OEMs would stop ruining everything Reply
  • HappyHubris - Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - link

    "For people that truly need compute performance, I suspect they're looking at much higher performance parts than an API"
    API=APU?
    Reply
  • Tikcus9666 - Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - link

    What i want is an AMD FX-7600P, in a 14/15" thin and light enclosure with Full HD screen
    8GB DDR 3 @ 2133 MHZ, 128GB/256GB SSD, i'd buy straight away, unfortunately what we will see is, a bulkier 15.6 " screen at 1366*768, 4GB of DDr 3 @ 13333MHz, and a 5400 rpm hard drive, and a GPU added in crossfire or on it's own which is only slightly more powerful than the APU
    Reply
  • Tikcus9666 - Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - link

    1333 Mhz (not being able to alter comments) Reply
  • Roland00Address - Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - link

    I hate dsylexia, my first time I read the first page I read AMD MOBILE KAVERI SKUS, as AMD MOBILE KAVERI SUCKS. Reply
  • kyuu - Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - link

    I did the same thing, and I don't even have dyslexia. I had to do a double-take and look at it carefully before realizing it was SKUS and not SUCKS. Reply

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