In our visit with AMD we got to see something I wasn’t really expecting: a functioning Carrizo laptop. (Note that AMD wouldn't let us take pictures, but they did provide some pictures for us to use.) AMD apparently only received initial silicon back from the fab a few weeks back, and they already have a laptop up and running with the early hardware. In fact, not only did they have a functioning Carrizo laptop but they also had several other working Carrizo systems running Windows. Of course, last year AMD had Kaveri up and running and that launched about five months later, so we’re a bit earlier than that for Carrizo but it’s coming along nicely.

One of the features of Carrizo is full support for H.265 decoding, and as an example of why this is needed they had an Intel system running next to the Carrizo system attempting to playback a 4K H.265 video. While the AMD system was easily able to handle the task without dropping any frames, the Intel system was decoding at what appeared to be single digit frame rates. The 4K content was essentially unwatchable on Intel. Of course that’s easy enough to remedy by adding an appropriate GPU that can handle the decoding, but AMD’s point is that their APU on its own is able to do something that a high-end Intel CPU cannot do without additional hardware.

As far as other aspects, we do not have any details on the system specifications or expected final clocks. I did see the clock speed of the prototype laptop, but it’s certainly not final so there’s not much point in going into more detail. AMD also indicated that their eventual goal is to have the prototype laptop equipped with a discrete GPU for Dual Graphics support, but that isn’t in the current prototype.

In terms of using the system, we were unable to run any benchmarks or really do anything more than open Windows Explorer and the system properties. Given this is early hardware there are sure to be some kinks to get worked out over the coming months. AMD is still on track for a Q2/Q3 release of Carrizo, and we’re looking forward to seeing what the Excavator core can do in terms of performance. Also note that the GPU will be “Next Generation” GCN (from the redundant department of redundancy?), with support for DX12. It should be an interesting fall when Carrizo ships.

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  • yankeeDDL - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    Actually that's exactly what I wanted to show. Again, provided that the dGPU is needed only for gamers, AMD's offering is compelling and with the A10 7850K priced at least $30~40 less than core i5 it makes a difference on a $400 budget which should fit the vast majority of non-professional/gamers.
  • MikeMurphy - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    You don't need a 4K display to have the need to decode 4K content.
  • Spirall - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    Jarred, I'm glad to hear Carrizo will also have a desktop version (hopefully FM2+ socket). There're rumors it would not and with Excavator arquitecture it may be usefull to even crossfire (FM2+ boards are quite sheap locally). Thanks!
  • goop666666 - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    LOL, all you geniuses should be paying more attention: "Next Generation GCN" isn't redundant.
  • REAVER117 - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    How is "Next Generation Graphics Core Next" not redundant?
  • goop666666 - Friday, January 9, 2015 - link

    Same way next next week is not redundant.
  • Nincomp - Saturday, January 31, 2015 - link

    True, but "Next Generation Graphics Core Next" is still fun to say.
    [Note: Off-topic ramble following]
    I attended a University that had constructed a "New South Quadrangle." Eventually, of course, more housing was needed and "New, New South Quad" was built. Deep down I giggled every time I stated that I lived in "New New." Some spoil-sports have since renamed the buildings.

    ... and what about houses made in the "Contemporary Style" that was fashionable in the 1960's and 1970's ( ) . That old giggle returns when I hear a real-estate agent say something along the lines of : "This is one of those old-fashioned contemporary-houses."

    -- sorry... I have to end here, my nurse is telling me that it is time for my medication...
  • watzupken - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    I believe this is good if they used it in a small sized HTPC assuming they are able to do 60 fps with the appropriate display port.

    Actually the laptop does not need to have a 4K display, but rather connected to a 4K monitor or TV.
  • ET - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    Question is when they're planning to release desktop Carrizo. I really hope it arrives and is significantly better than Kaveri in terms of 3D performance, and then I'll stick it in an HTPC.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    Q2/Q3 is what AMD said, and they wouldn't be more specific than that. Even if it launches in Q3, we should still see Carrizo laptops by the holiday shopping spree, so that's probably what they're aiming for.

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