This morning AMD is releasing the first APUs in their Kaveri family, their most advanced APU ever with up to 12 compute cores and is a big push forward with their overall HSA architecture. We managed to get our hands on a Kaveri system with A10-7850K APU and in the days/weeks ahead there will be many Linux benchmarks looking at the next-generation AMD APU. Here's what Linux users need to know right now about AMD Kaveri APU Linux support.
While it didn't look like we'd get Kaveri pre-launch, given AMD's mixed Linux interest in recent times, etc, at the last minute we were offered an AMD Kaveri test system for providing the Linux community with the necessary information they need for making an informed purchase. A friendly engineer also ended up sending out a second A10-7850K that will be used for other benchmarks and ultimately used as part of our OpenBenchmarking.org / Phoromatic test farm. While we were sent an A10-7850K review sample in advance, its delivery date of this past Friday was unfortunately postponed by FedEx over the nasty weather situation in Chicago. Fortunately, I was able to pickup the Kaveri system on Saturday afternoon, to at least have some launch-day AMD A10-7850K Linux information to share. Unfortunately, this didn't allow enough time to have our complete launch-day coverage we usually have with major hardware launches.
While there isn't the full onslaught of AMD A10-7850K "Kaveri" Linux benchmarks to share today, there will be the proper performance benchmarks in the days ahead -- including comparing the A10-7850K to older AMD APUs and various Intel Core i3/i5/i7 CPUs. There will also be the many other Phoronix articles we always do when getting a new CPU/APU microarchitecture from compiler optimization testing, driver comparisons, Linux kernel tuning, distribution comparisons, etc. Your feedback on tests you would like to see is listened to as well from Twitter and our forums.
Kaveri features up to 12 compute cores in the form of two dual-core x86 modules and then eight GPU cores that are GCN derived. AMD expects Kaveri to deliver up to 20% better IPC performance for these four processor cores that are of the "Steamroller" microarchitecture. Steamroller is 28nm based and features improved instruction schedulers, larger caches, an improved memory controller, and various other improvements. Kaveri has a transistor count around 2.41 billion and a die size of 245 mm2.
The Kaveri APUs are a big push for AMD's Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) with the GPU and CPU cores having uniform visibility to the entire memory space, improved flexibility in dispatching work, and the design can allow for better tapping the full potential of the APU. In system performance AMD's Windows-based slides claim 24% better system performance over the Core i5 4670K and 8% better performance over the previous-generation A10-6800K "Richland" APU.