AMD's mysterious 'Van Gogh' APU promises to offer several significant improvements over its predecessors, with an RDNA 2-based graphics core and DDR5/LPDDR5 being perhaps the most important advances. Now it appears the new APU will also have a new audio processing block.
AMD has posted 12 patches for its Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) driver that enable its upcoming Van Gogh APU, reports Phoronix. The patches reveal that Van Gogh is set to feature AMD's new audio co-processor — ACP 5.x — with two I2S interfaces/controllers. As there are no prior mentions of AMD's ACP 5.x blocks that we could find, it looks like the Van Gogh APU will be the company's first platform to support the new audio technology (at least on Linux).
There is very little information about AMD's ACPs on the Internet. The only thing we found at press time is that AMD's Raven Ridge APU from 2017 relied on ACP3x, so perhaps AMD's contemporary APUs feature ACP4x. It is unclear what kind of innovations ACP 5.x brings (e.g., hardware decoding of Dolby Atmos or DTS:X streams?), but we do know that it is newer than its predecessors.
AMD's Van Gogh is indeed one of the company's most mysterious APUs ever. The processor is rumored to feature Zen 2 cores, an RDNA 2-based graphics processor, and a memory controller to support DDR5 and/or LPDDR5 memory. In addition, the chip is expected to be produced using one of TSMC's 7nm process technologies, which explains why AMD opted for a combination of relatively compact Zen 2 cores and high-performance RDNA 2 GPU.
Architecturally, Van Gogh will resemble custom SoCs found in Microsoft's Xbox Series X|S and Sony's PlayStation 5 consoles, but without knowing the exact configuration of Van Gogh, we cannot state that this is an APU aimed specifically at gamers.
AMD does not comment on unreleased products, so basically everything we know about the Van Gogh is from Linux patches and rumors. So consume everything with a grain of salt.