AMD teases are starting to become a bit of a joke. The last exciting release from them (for CPU enthusiasts) was the FX-8350. The chip made some good improvements on the previous Zambezi architecture, but after that things went downhill. Of course the FX-9590 was nothing more than a factory overclocked 8350. AMD announced they were done with the FX lineup. They refused to adopt Steamroller to the FX series. They announced FX but then said it wouldn’t come out til 2016 and finally, they teased an FX chip that was just a 9590 with a new liquid cooler even though they knew that AMD fans are wanting a new FX chip. So when AMD releases a video that says “Core is Back,” you can probably understand why we need to be slightly skeptical. With absolutely no official info, all we know is that there is an A series logo and a possible promotion image that shows 12 cores.
At this point, the A series logo seems to negate the possibility of an FX refresh. If that’s the case, then it seems pretty confusing to put this much hype into an APU. While APUs can fill a very appropriate computing niche, they usually don’t make up the kind of material that deserves major hype build up. Enthusiasts would want to see something big so that should leave two options here. Either this is going to be a type of high end APU aimed more at the enthusiasts market, or this is a marketing gimmick to try and pick up sales for something that may not deserve it.
This brings us to the second part of the tease which is the logo on the truck. If this was an architecture refresh, it’s hard for me to imagine that AMD called it “Trucking” architecture (Semi, Big-Rig?), but what really stands out is the 12 robots lined down the side.
This isn’t particularly new because Kaveri claimed to have 12 compute cores. With only 4 of those being actual CPU cores, the idea of this being another gimmicky marketing technique sounds all too likely. On the other hand, what if AMD has found a way to improve HSA? If you remember, HSA was software that allowed the CPU and GPU cores to work together on applications that would normally only work on CPU cores. The problem is applications need to be programmed to use HSA otherwise it’s almost useless. The possibility here is that if AMD found a way to make HSA work through chipset drivers rather than applications programmed to use it, then 12 cores will mean 12 cores that can also do graphics processing. This brings me to the final point which would be, what if every core is some sort of hybrid CPU/GPU core and this new chip will have 12 of them? That would be something worth teasing.
That’s a lot of speculation to go off of these teases, especially since the truck image isn’t official yet. Ultimately, I would recommend not getting your hopes up. What we all want to see is AMD release something that makes Intel sweat, but in reality, the only company who truly worries about what AMD does at the moment is Nvidia. Would it be awesome if this turns into something great? Sure it would, but based on the recent track record, all I can do is sit back and wait to see if AMD actually lives up to the expectation they are building this time.