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Introducing the AMD A10-5750M and Mobile Richland

As an incremental release, AMD's Richland is a little bit hard to build up enthusiasm for. Architecturally almost identical to its predecessor, Trinity, Richland's chief refinement is a substantial improvement on its implementation of AMD's Turbo Core technology. Richland is able to manage its power states with finer granularity, which allows AMD to in some cases substantially beef up the clocks that the CPU and GPU halves of the chip can hit.

On the flipside, despite the branding shenanigans going on at AMD, we're still fundamentally dealing with the same architecture as Trinity. That means one or two Piledriver CPU modules paired up with VLIW4 GPU clusters. It's a little bizarre that we saw Kabini and Temash first, since those chips marry AMD's updated Jaguar low-power CPU architecture with their current generation GCN GPU architecture; Richland is essentially old technology that's seen a healthy refinement. The market segments that Kabini and Temash serve are the fastest growing, so it's understandable, but AMD's "high end" APU architecture looks a little antiquated by comparison.

While desktop Richland has been a little underwhelming, the mobile version should have a lot more teeth. Here's a comparison, generation by generation:

AMD A-Series Mobile APUs (Mainstream TDP)
Model A10-5750M A10-4600M A8-5550M A8-4500M A6-5350M A4-4000
Modules/Cores 2/4 2/4 2/4 2/4 1/2 1/2
CPU Clock 2.5 2.3 2.1 1.9 2.9 2.7
CPU Turbo 3.5 3.2 3.1 2.8 3.5 3.2
Graphics HD 8650G HD 7660G HD 8550G HD 7640G HD 8450G HD 7520G
GPU Cores 384 384 256 256 192 192
GPU Clock 533 496 515 496 533 496
GPU Turbo 720 685 720 685 720 685
L2 Cache 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 1MB 1MB
Max DDR3 1866 1600 1600 1600 1600 1600

With the new generation, everyone gets a 200MHz bump in CPU base frequency and a much more modest 20-40MHz jump in base GPU clocks. Turbo clocks jump 35MHz on GPUs across the board, nothing to write home about, while CPU turbo clocks jump 300MHz across the board. Since Trinity was chiefly CPU limited, virtually any improvement in core clocks can be a big help. What we really need is for Richland to hit and sustain turbo clocks for longer periods of time, though, and hopefully AMD's improved Turbo Core technology can make up the difference.

Unlike with Trinity, AMD didn't seed Richland reference notebooks to reviewers, so our reference unit is the updated MSI GX60. Part 2 of my review will cover the MSI GX60 specifically, but for now, here's the spec table:

MSI GX60 (2013) Specifications
Processor AMD A10-5750M
(4x2.5GHz, Turbo to 3.5GHz, 32nm, 4MB L2, 35W)
Chipset AMD Hudson-3
Memory 2x8GB A-Data DDR3-1600 (originally 1x8GB)
Graphics AMD Radeon HD 8650G
(VLIW4; 384 cores; 533/720MHz base/turbo frequencies)

AMD Radeon HD 7970M 2GB GDDR5
(GCN; 1280 cores; 850MHz/4.8GHz core/memory; 256-bit memory bus)
Display 15.6" LED Matte 16:9 1080p
LGD0259
Hard Drive(s) Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB 7200-RPM SATA 3Gbps HDD
Optical Drive TSSTCorp SN-406AB BD-ROM/DVDRW
Networking Killer Networks e2200 PCIe Gigabit Ethernet
Atheros AR9485WB-EG 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
Audio Realtek ALC892 HD audio (THX TruStudio Pro)
2.1 speakers
Mic, headphone, line-in, and line-out jacks
Battery 9-cell, 87Wh
Front Side -
Right Side Mic, headphone, line-in, and line-out jacks
1x USB 2.0
Optical drive
Left Side Vent
3x USB 3.0
SD card reader
Back Side Kensington lock
AC adapter
Ethernet
D-SUB
Mini-DisplayPort
HDMI
Vent
Operating System Windows 8 64-bit
Dimensions 14.97" x 10.24" x 1.77"
380mm x 260mm x 45mm
Weight 7.7 lbs
3.49kg
Extras Webcam
USB 3.0
Card reader
THX TruStudio Pro audio
Killer Networks wired networking
SteelSeries keyboard
Warranty 2-year parts and labor
Pricing $1,199

Without getting into the details, relevant to testing is that the GX60 actually ships with only one DIMM channel populated. While the CPU isn't heavily affected by operating in single-channel mode, the IGP takes a nearly 50% hit to performance virtually across the board. It also doesn't ship with any solid state storage, so PCMark7 is going to be heavily impacted by the mechanical hard disk. In the second part of this review, when I tackle the GX60 specifically, you'll be able to get a better idea of what the loss of that second DIMM means.

System and Futuremark Performance
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  • FwFred - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    I am very interested to see 28W Haswell GT3 vs. 37W Haswell GT2 vs. 25W/35W Richland, and 17/19W Richland vs 15W Haswell GT2/GT3. Reply
  • Gabik123 - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    Why not boot camp a 2013 macbook air to show Richland performance against a GT3 HD5000? Reply
  • takeship - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    Or just post the Tomb Raider - Value number from that review. ~28fps. This is really a chip in search of a market. Richland can't replace a discrete setup except at the margins, and has lost it's DX11 leg over Intel as well. Battery life was not mentioned for a reason. I'm very curious Dustin, what the performance of the MSI looked like before you populated out the last RAM slot. It seems that most OEMs would rather save the few dollars rather than even deliver baseline performance with these chips. Also, is there any chance at all that the Richland ULV line will get a review from Anandtech sometime in the future? Reply
  • xTRICKYxx - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    Battery Life was omitted because the laptop came with a 7970M. A 100W GPU is going to skew the results. Reply
  • wcg66 - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    The APU is a good niche for AMD. These gaming numbers are pretty impressive IMO given the cost versus the Intel competition. I hope the continue to improve to the point that they can offer midrange discrete graphics card performance in a single chip (say Radeon 7790 levels of performance.) Reply
  • mikk - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    desktop Haswell is a joke

    I would say Dustin Sklavos is a joke. Bad reputation for Anandtech.
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    While a bit harsh for a professional review, it's not wrong. Reply
  • superjim - Tuesday, July 02, 2013 - link

    ^ this Reply
  • solarisking - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    Actually I'm glad he put that in there. Somebody's telling it like it is. I was a little surprised Anand seemed as pleased as he was with the first Haswell performance article. Reply
  • claysm - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    I agree. Desktop Haswell is a total snooze. There's no upgrade incentive whatsoever from IVB or even SNB in my opinion. Reply

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