A leaked roadmap from AMD suggests that their new APU, codenamed Kaveri, may launch together with a new socket.
AMD has had a long history of supporting various processors on different chipsets. AM2+ motherboards can support AM2, AM2+ and some AM3 processors and AM3+ boards support AM3, AM3+ and some AM2+ processors. It’s been a given that if you buy a big name-brand board at the beginning of a new CPU family’s lifespan, chances are it’ll support the launching CPU family, the refresh of that and the ones designed for the next socket.
In 2011, AMD broke that tradition with their APU family. The first out of the gate, Llano, used socket FM1. FM1 is physically smaller than AM3+ and the new design was required for the advanced power savings and the enhancements AMD were feeding into their APUs. FM2, along with the new Trinity APUs, came along with socket FM2, breaking compatibility but bringing more performance and better power efficiency.
The updated roadmap now includes some additional information we’ve never had before, including the fact that Kaveri will launch on an as-yet-unannounced socket, FM2+. In the past, the “+” denoted compatibility with a previous CPU family and with FM2+, this may mean that Trinity and Richland APUs, built off the Piledriver architecture, should be compatible. Additionally, AMD has no plans to roll out Steamroller cores for the AM3+ socket this year.
Why would Kaveri need a new socket? One possibility is that the power efficiency may have been dramatically adjusted and as such requires a few things to change. Because the GPU is based on the same refreshed GCN design featured in the Kabini and Temash APUs, as well as the Sony PS4 and the Xbox One, in addition to AMD’s new low-cost Opteron lineup and (gosh, this is exhausting) the Radeon HD7790 and the upcoming mobile Radeon HD8790M.
The refreshed GCN cores support new low-power states as well as offer better variance in how the GPU works with AMD’s PowerTune boosting technology. PowerTune now scales clock speed according to heat and voltage, not, as in previous products, GPU load and electricity consumption.
Kaveri will offer an updated memory controller similar to Richland (now DDR3-2133 dual-channel support) as well as new HSA (heterogeneous system architecture) features that make using the GPU and CPU for the same workload an easier task. In addition, AMD has confirmed that you’ll be able to buy the same APU that’s featured inside the Playstation 4 for use as your own personal computer.
AMD will probably tell all at their keynote at Computex Taipei on the 4 June 2013.