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New Details Revealed on AMD's Upcoming Richland Chips

With the upcoming release of its Richland APUs, AMD aims to improve the attractiveness of its chips for mobile devices and is specifically targeting power consumption and dynamic load based on temperature and performance.

Based on the numbers AMD provided, Richland's overall power consumption appears to be slightly more conservative than Trinity's, yielding better efficiency, particularly in more demanding workloads. It's worth noting that the chart below does not include any benchmarks for full system load, but instead focuses on more realistic scenarios that an average user would encounter on a regular basis.

Based on the Fire Strike DirectX 11 test in 3DMark, Richland's graphics component appears capable of outperforming comparable chips from Intel's Ivy Bridge-based line-up, which would confirm what we've already seen on the desktop in benchmarks pitting Ivy Bridge against Trinity. With that said, this isn't a measure of Richland's x86 performance so much as its on-die GPU.

By far the most noteworthy improvement is "Temperature Smart Turbo Core" (TSTC), Richland's new temperature and clock management technology. TSTC primarily involves the use of 17 temperature sensors (five on each CPU and seven on the GPU) combined with a package sensor that allows the internal software to dynamically change the clock speed of both the CPUs and GPU based on load to enable the best possible performance whilst staying within the chip's thermal limits. For example, if the user is playing a GPU intensive game, the technology will reduce the CPU's clock speed which will then reduce its temperature and enable the GPU to run at a higher clock rate.

Though AMD's previous generation of Trinity chips also featured a similar system, it did not account for bottlenecks since the algorithm simply granted the CPU or GPU whatever power it demanded. Richland's algorithm, on the other hand, takes this into account and only supplies additional power if it will result in performance improvements or a more efficient operation.

The family also includes a number of new technologies to allow a more natural interaction with the computer such as AMD Gesture Control, AMD Face Login, AMD Screen Mirror, AMD Quick Stream, Steady Stream and Perfect Picture HD.

Richland will initially come to the market with four SKUs, the A10-5750M, A8-5550M, A6-5350M, and the A4-5150M.

APUCoresClock (Max/Base)TDP (W)L2 CacheGPUGPU Clocks (Max/Base)DDR3
A10-5750M43.5 GHz / 2.5 GHz354 MBHD 8650G720 MHz / 533 MHzDDR3-1866DDR3L-1600 DDR3U-1333
A8-5550M43.1 GHz / 2.1 GHz354 MBHD 8550G720 MHz / 515 MHzDDR3-1600DDR3L-1600 DDR3U-1333
A6-5350M23.5 GHz / 2.9 GHz351 MBHD 8450G720 MHz / 533 MHzDDR3-1600DDR3L-1600 DDR3U-1333
A4-5150M23.3 GHz / 2.7 GHz351 MBHD 8350G720 MHz / 514 MHzDDR3-1600DDR3L-1600 DDR3U-1333

The aforementioned quartet is currently being shipped to manufacturers with regional availability of OEM products tentatively scheduled to commence next month. Whilst AMD has revealed that low-voltage variants for ultra-thin notebooks will begin in Q1 / Q2 2013, it has yet to provide any information on desktop Richland chips.

Niels Broekhuijsen

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.