AMD releases Bristol Ridge 7th Generation APU

Think 6th gen with less power but more performance

2015 AMD LogoToday AMD is releasing their 7th gen APUs code-named Bristol Ridge. SemiAccurate thinks the best way to look at these parts is not as a new CPU but as a new chipset with much needed features.

Today there are eight 7th Gen APUs starting at A6 level in five general categories with four cores, three chipsets, two DDR4 channels, and one socket called AM4. When starting that last sentence we thought there was zero chance we could pull it off using only real data but we actually got there. Who would have believed that? The basic lineup looks like this.

AMD 7th Gen APU SKUs Bristol Ridge

The numbers above are in this table

The main advance in Bristol Ridge is power savings, it is the same silicon as the older Carizzo. This may not sound impressive until you consider that the new 65W CPUs beat the old 95W CPUs with just tweaks, power savings tech, and DDR4/2400MHz. Better yet the clocks on the 8CU/512 shader GPU have been pushed beyond 1100MHz, 1108 to be exact. If you can live with a few hundred MHz less on the CPU side and 200 or so on the GPU, the 35W A12-9800E looks like the basis for an impressive HTPC rig. (Note: We know the Intel cores can put up better numbers on paper but their GPUs simply do not work right, they are abjectly broken. AMD and NVidia’s are not.)

AMD 7th Gen Bristol Ridge chipsets

Three plus none chipsets for the new line

Coupled to these CPUs are three new chipsets, B350, A320, and X/B/A300, plus a fourth one that breaks the naming convention called TBA. All likely use the same silicon but fused off to ‘add value’ or some such marketing term. If the connection between the units follows previous form it will be a PCIe3 4x link between the CPU and the chipset but SemiAccurate could not get specifics on the speeds before publication. Since the Northbridge and Southbridge are on the same silicon, they are likely running at higher than 8GHz but we can’t be absolutely sure.

AMD 7th Gen Bristol Ridge overview

Quite well-rounded consumer SoCs this generation

In any case the items chained off the ‘chipset’ are high bandwidth but PCIe3 4x should be enough to feed them in most cases. There may be a little added latency for the ports but it is unlikely to be measurable by the user just as it is for Intel chipsets which are on a different die. PCIe2 latency may be technically measurable but it won’t be anything more than a curiosity number. What will be useful is the added 2x USB3.2 Gen 2 (aka 10Gbps) ports plus two more Gen 1 (5Gbps) both type-C capable. In short the Bristol Ridge parts should have connectivity that puts the competition to shame.

So that is what we get with the new 7th Gen AMD APUs, a 6th Gen APU with new chipsets for 2/3rds the power draw. Graphics work right as usual, DDR4 replaces DDR3, much more USB bandwidth, and nice features sprinkled here and there. More than anything else it is a platform update that sets the deck up for Zen SoCs in the coming months. This is a long overdue improvement that users will notice, and that is the biggest change of all.S|A

 

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate