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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  • yeeeeman - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    They need to really accelerate the development. Also, good Kaveri equipped notebooks are still hard to find. It would've been better if they skipped Kaveri entirely and launched Carrizo earlier, meaning a winter 2014, because the jump from richland to kaveri wasn't enough. Just my 2 cents as someone before me said. Reply
  • yankeeDDL - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    The jump from Richland to Kaveri was massive in terms of power consumption! Reply
  • akamateau - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    This is Deja Vu all over again. Last year AMD presented us with Project Discovery Tablet. If AMD sold it on their website I would have bought one. After nVidia is selling Shield on it's website.

    This tablet by all benchmark evidence was a cutting edge performer and well received by the media. What was AMD's reponse? They killed it. No DIscovery Tablet and ZERO Mullins A10-6700T APU's sold.

    So now we are suppossed to get excited by another rconsumer product that AMD will never sell? I am just sick and tired of getting excited by anything that AMD markeing says.

    Since AMD will never sell this to the consumer why are we wasting our time?

    Intel will never allow the OEM's to buy Carrizo or place them into 4k displays either. The objective when maintaining a monopoly is to deny your competition fair access to markets. ANd Intel is doing quite well as an x86 monopolist.

    How many Mullins APU's have made it into Tablets?

    Jarred Walton why do you bother even writing this piece. AMD is wasting our time.

    If AMD sells this on their website the sign me up I'm all in. If not then they should stop wasting all of our time.

    Intel will never allow this laptop to hit the store shelves.

    And I lay this failure right in the lap of Colette Laforce; Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer .

    Colette needs to start doing her job.
    Reply
  • TiGr1982 - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    I totally agree with you regarding Mullins, but it won't be that bad with Carrizo APUs; no doubt, there will be some on the market, as it was the case with their "big" Llano, Trinity/Richland and Kaveri APUs; just not so much, but a few models and configs from HP, Lenovo, Asus and Acer will take place and be available to buy for the people interested. For example, I bought AMD Llano-based ASUS laptop myself back in Feb 2012, and my friends bought AMD Trinity-based Acer laptop later that year; so it's not that bad at all :) Reply
  • ppi - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    Mullins was killed by Intel, because Intel was basically subsidizing 100% of Bay Trail price, in order to get in tablet designs - but there Intel's competition was Qualcom, Mediatek and Rockchip. Reply
  • kallogan - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    release it already ! i'm bored Reply
  • Ancalagon44 - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    AMD, how about Beema and Mullins laptops that we can actually buy? That would be nice. Or a Beema/Mullins tablet? Or a Beema/Mullins mini PC?

    It is nearly a year after they were released, and only a handful of Beema/Mullins computers are available for purchase.
    Reply
  • TiGr1982 - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    Just wait just half a year, and you'll be able to choose from three Carrizo laptops. Or maybe even four!...
    Jokes aside, as is already said above, last 4 years AMD APUs are taking place in poor budgetary laptops in 90% of the cases, and this situation repeats itself over and over again each year.
    It's a closed loop, in a sense - if they don't have enough money to widely interact with laptop OEMs, then their chips are put in a small amount of budgetary laptops, usually with crappy outdated TN panels and poor slowest sluggish HDDs; as a result, they earn little money and again don't have the oomph to push OEMs for better laptops with their chips next year. I see it like that (sort of when VIA CPUs were in laptops in mid 2000s, but not that bad at all, of course), so I don't expect things to change much in the future. The only segment where AMD offers up to high end products inclusively, is the discrete GPU segment; the rest of AMD consumer products are all budgetary, unfortunately, and AMD suffers economically from this "budgetarity".
    Reply
  • Ancalagon44 - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    You know if there were budget Mullins/Beema laptops available, that would be something, but there aren't even those. Mullins and Beema do not exist in the 10-13.3 inch form factor. Period. Even if they were only in low quality 11 inch laptops, that would be something, but there is simply nothing!

    At this point, AMD should be negotiating it's hardest to get their CPUs into laptops. What is the point of Carrizo if no customers can buy them?
    Reply
  • TiGr1982 - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    Well, as I said above in my previous post above in this thread, I believe it won't be so terrible with Carrizo, as with Beema/Mullins - there certainly will be Carrizo-based notebooks on the market (as was the case with Llano, Trinity/Richland and Kaveri before), but one probably won't have a lot of Carrizo choices for any given region of the world.
    Anyway, Carrizo, having just 2 CPU modules (4 threads), may be only competitive with Intel dual core offerings such as just announced Broadwell-U, but since AMD has no 4-module APUs, Intel's top performance real quad core 8-thread laptop CPUs (like Core i7-4702HQ and so on) will remain untouched, and continue to live in the league of their own.
    Reply

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