AMD Release 3 New Kaveri APUs
Published: 31st July 2014 | Source: AMD |
Featureset and the Future
OpenCL is the open, royalty-free standard for cross-platform, parallel programming of modern processors found in personal computers, servers and handheld/embedded devices.
Using an OpenCL framework for writing programs allows you to execute across several platforms CPUs, GPUs and other processors. It can greatly improve the speed and responsiveness of many applications in numerous markets from gaming and entertainment to scientific and medical software.
AMD APUs, which are in affect a merger of a GPU and CPU onto a single Die, are perfect for Open CL. Offering great performance on Open CL accelerated programs.
Learn more about Open CL here.
Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA)
Kaveri APUs are the first HSA enabled APUs made by AMD. Simply put HSA is a processor architecture that integrates a CPU and a GPU onto a single bus, allowing them to share tasks and memory.
This allows both to be much more highly compatible, in the eyes of a programmer, essentially allowing both the CPU and GPU units to be used for a single task without separate memory and scheduling. This in affect relieves the programmer of having to move data between devices and their disjointed memory, as has to be done with Open CL and CUDA.
One use for HSA that AMD show off is JPEG decoding, which is quoted as up to 64% faster than traditional CPU only compute. Any AMD HSA compatible system with AMD catalyst drivers can use HSA today for this purpose. At present there are very few programs that use HSA, but expect more to come in the future.
Learn more about HSA here.
Gaming, Mantle and TrueAudio
When it comes to Gaming there is only one thing that can be said for APUs, the GPU performance are very good for an integrated GPU. For a better gaming experience a dedicated GPU is advised, allowing your game settings and framerates to get ever higher.
If you do not game often, or prefer to play older or Indie games like Minecraft, Guacamelee, Fez or Transistor an AMD APU is all you need. Even most modern games are playable if you lower the graphical setting and resolutions. For gaming AMD beats Intel hands down when it comes to integrated graphics, but at the end of the day they are still integrated graphics.
Other advantages AMD have is Mantle and TrueAudio. Games running on Mantle will have performance advantages over Direct X, but these are at their highest with Dedicated graphics and a CPU limited scenario.
TrueAudio is AMDs attempt to bring game Audio into the 21st century, allowing more complex and realistic audio experiences to be created in-game by using a AMD GPU as a DSP (Digital Signal Processor). This is while also reducing the CPU cycles used in audio processing, which also benefits CPU performance.
At present Mantle and TrueAudio are not used in many games, but more games are coming. Mantle has the support of Multiple game engines and Developers. TrueAudio hasn't gotten as much support however, with only one game supporting it (Thief) and only one more game coming (Lichdom: Battlemage), at least that I know off.
The Future of APUs
AMD have also been working on combining their APU horsepower with their Dedicated GPU grunt, but not in ways that they previously had. Instead using AMD Crossfire with a low end GPU, why not use it in tandem with any AMD GPU? Well AMD have been working on that, with their newest example being GrassFX.
From the slide below AMD have almost a 10% gain in performance over not using the otherwise wasted integrated GPU compute resources. We do not know when we will see this affect or anything like this in games though, but it is pretty interesting concept none the less.
AMD's newest line of APUs are set to make the low-mid end home and business markets a competitive scene. With support for some great new programming options which offer great performance in a wide range of situations AMD may be set to finally gain some ground here.
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