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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  • TiGr1982 - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    By the way, more generally, if I'm not mistaken, Carrizo and Carrizo-L seem to be the only APUs to be released in 2015 (no other x86 AMD CPUs.APUs this year), so, until 2016, no new x86 stuff from AMD besides Carrizo(-L). Pretty boring for the consumers and enthusiasts concerned.
  • silverblue - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    AMD released Steamroller and Puma+ APUs in 2014. They're releasing Excavator and re-engineered Puma+ APUs this year. Same story, and even Intel doesn't generally release more product lines than that per year. In any case, AMD can't really release more x86 products or accelerate releases; Intel's policy of throwing Atom at OEMs for a loss will be hurting AMD.

    If we look away from x86, AMD have their first ARM-based Opteron launching as well.
  • Ancalagon44 - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    But Carrizo does not compete in the same segment. I don't want a Kaveri and I don't want a Carrizo. I want to be able to buy an 11 inch laptop that contains a low power, low cost APU that AMD "released" nearly a year ago.

    If they could not get Beema and Mullins into laptops, why would things with Carrizo be different, and even if they were, why would I care?

    It looks like AMD has rehired a lot of good talent and they are making a lot of good products that they can be proud of. It's just that, you know, I might want to buy some of them, and apparently AMD does not want that to happen.

    Ever seen the South Park episode with the Underpants Gnomes?
    Step 1: Design APU
    Step 2: ????
    Step 3: Profit

    Hey AMD, what is Step 2?
  • 4KHomePage - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    Seriously? There's nearly 100 notebook configurations with the Beema A8 alone.

    Take your horse hockey somewhere else.
  • superunknown98 - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    I looked through the list a bit and only saw one 10 to 14in laptop. A Hp 13.3 inch convertible. It was $600. I would bite around the $300 to 350 mark. But otherwise not much choice in the small laptop range.
  • 4KHomePage - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    Intel can afford to not make money anymore. They are practically reversing their margins to block AMD out of market. The sad part is that AMD has no ground to stand-on in declaring a monopoly suit against Intel.

    Intel is pretty much daring AMD to try and take them to court, because they're prepared to quash them and gain a new precedent.
    AMD can't cry monopoly and mean it when they're pivoting out of x86 as their primary market.
    They made a pretty bold(stupid) move when divesting their tech into ARM ISA.

    Intel can make an argument in court that x86 is no longer the most inundating ISA (Thanks to smartphones, tablets, ARM, and mobile ISA's for Android) in the tech market, and by them exclusively holding the x86 market, they are not holding a monopoly.

    They have a lot of supporting evidence to point to, (x86 no longer being the most popular ISA in tech, AMD divesting and pivoting out of x86 market themselves anyway) and if Intel won that court battle, Intel could turn around and permanently remove AMD from x86, with no one to stop them.
  • Nagorak - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    I don't think the argument you are presenting is very strong. ARM may control the tablet/phone markets, but for PCs the vast, vast majority are still X86. Even Chromebooks run on X86, and WinRT severely failed to catch on.

    X86 basically means the PC market, and if Intel had a monopoly there it wouldn't stand. ARM has been around in things like set top boxes forever, so if that argument were going to fly, Intel could have made it years ago.
  • silverblue - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    ...leaving AMD to yank x86-64 from underneath Intel's feet? I think it'd be harder than you might imagine for Intel to do such a thing.
  • tipoo - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    Aren't all DX11 GPUs with systems being upgraded to Windows 10 going to support DX12? So really, AMD said nothing here about NGGCN.
  • jb14 - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    If AMD could somehow wrangle a design win, say the new Dell xps 13 and drop the base unit price by maybe $200 with the ssd most folk may not notice a difference (excluding maybe a shorter battery life and maybe a higher RPM fan?) Why can't AMD just commission someone like ASUS to design a system? Margins?

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