Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Kaveri is launching soon. What to expect?

Long time since my last blog post. Since AMD is about to launch desktop Kaveri soon (in ~January) I wanted to write a couple of lines about what *I* think about this product launch.

During this year we have had a few "leaks" regarding Kaveri's performance. Conveniently none of these were solid enough to draw any meaningful conclusion regarding actual core performance or clock capabilities. We had a few low clocking and disproportionally low performing mobile parts listed at website and a few geekbench scores of desktop ES parts(single ch. memory). And that's it. Pretty vague and inconclusive.

Now people do have high expectations when it comes to Steamroller cores that power Kaveri, and the "blame" largely lies on AMD themselves. I know since I had them too. AMD did build up a hype with their presentations on HC last year and in a few interviews after that. We had hints of "solid" IPC jumps, new ISA support (turns out it's a few more instructions and not AVX2), quad channel IMC(GDDR5 mode ,4x32bit), 3 module parts, big iGPU perf. gains etc. What we have now is roughly the following:
1) 3 module version is scrapped due to reasons that will be obvious at launch;
2)quad channel GDDR5 support is gone also although IMC has the support sitting idle on-die(deactivated); figure that...
3)"IPC" can be substantially better BUT only if one was to cherry pick benchmarks and filter the "bad" ones(also related to number 1) and what constitutes a total performance of a chip )
4) If Richland had memory BW problem then it will be a minor one when compared to Kaveri.
 I think I've said enough.

I've always expected that the 3rd iteration of Bulldozer core will bring us the most tangible results when it comes to removing bottlenecks and bringing the best from the concept of CMT core but due to wrong decisions on AMD's part this I'm afraid will just remain a dream.
As for me I have my Piledriver based X4 and it's doing fine at 4.2Ghz. I personally see nothing that Kaveri will bring on CPU side to sway me over and swap it in my board. Yeah, sorry folks.


  1. Well it is too early to tell but if the rumors of 189$ for the top bin part ,no
    no context switching, and no gddr5
    if thats all true it won't be much of an improvement. to warrant spending 300$ on a new board and chip
    Computer industry is lurching to a standstill in terms of upgrading.
    parts are too expensive these days for the times
    and the impression that APU is the cheap gamers choice is shattered
    it will be a rough road for AMD if the rumors remain true.
    Carizo seems to be the one to upgrade to,if at all.

  2. Hi David
    I personally doubt the price point for top model will be anywhere near 170$.
    What AMD will likely do is lower the RIchland's prices across the board and in those old price brackets slide new 7xxx models.
    1st thing they have to do is convince anyone to buy more expensive Kaveri over RIchland of course. That will be interesting to see.