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What Is an APU? A Basic Definition

AMD created APU (accelerated processing unit) processors in 2011. They refer to AMD CPUs that have integrated graphics. While these processors weren’t the first to accommodate integrated graphics, they did add the ability to game at an appropriate frame rate and resolution.

Llano was the the name of the first generation of AMD APUs. The current generation is called Picasso and is the successor to Raven Ridge; although AMD has moved away from using the term APU in its branding.

Raven Ridge APUs have CPU cores built on the AMD's Zen architecture, plus AMD's Radeon Vega graphics technology and allow for strong gaming at 720p and acceptable gaming at 1080p with the right settings.

The new Picasso APUs (U-series and H-series) were announced in January. The U-series Picasso APUs also have Vega graphics but Zen+ CPU cores. They're supposed to have 8% better CPU and GPU performance than Raven Ridge. The Picasso H-series APUs are similar to the U-series but with a higher TDP, which lets the processor part of the component boost more frequently and for longer.

Upcoming AMD APUs: Renoir and Dali

AMD is expected to release two new APUs in 2020, codenamed Renoir and Dali; however, AMD hasn't confirmed this.

Renoir is rumored to be built with the 7nm manufacturing process with Zen 2 cores and Vega 10 graphics and be AMD's first chip to support LPDDR4X-4266 memory. It's expected to target both mobile (laptop) and desktop use cases.

Dali is expected to be a budget APU for mobile devices. It may be based on AMD's Raven Ridge architecture, so it's uncertain if it'll have Zen 2 cores 

This article is part of the Tom's Hardware Glossary.

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Scharon Harding has a special affinity for gaming peripherals (especially monitors), laptops and virtual reality. Previously, she covered business technology, including hardware, software, cyber security, cloud and other IT happenings, at Channelnomics, with bylines at CRN UK.