AMD's Kaveri hitting desktops on January 14 with Mantle support

AMD started off its APU13 developer conference strong on Monday. After a brief introduction, AMD's Senior VP and General Manager of Global Business Units, Lisa Su, took the stage and gave attendees an update about Kaveri.

Kaveri, of course, is AMD's next-generation APU—the successor to the Trinity chip that powers current A-series offerings. Su confirmed that Kaveri is still on track to ship this quarter, and she added that "initial availability for FM2+" is scheduled for January 14, 2014. Translation: the first desktop-bound versions of Kaveri should show up in stores then. Kaveri is also supposed to target notebooks, servers, and embedded systems, but Su didn't share a schedule for those.

Even more interesting was the news that Kaveri will support both Mantle and TrueAudio, just like AMD's latest discrete Radeons. Mantle support should allow Kaveri to benefit from the same close-to-the-metal game optimizations as high-end Radeons and console APUs. TrueAudio, meanwhile, will serve up hardware-accelerated positional audio and reverb effects. I presume this means Kaveri will feature a TrueAudio DSP block on the die.

Some of the other details Su mentioned, like the fact that Kaveri will have hUMA support and up to four Steamroller cores, were made public before. I don't think AMD was ever quite so specific about Kaveri's graphics component, though. Su said the chip will dedicate 47% of its die to graphics and will pack "up to eight" GCN compute units. If the compute units have the same config as those of current Radeons, then each Kaveri chip will have as many as 512 shader processors—up from a maximum of 384 on Trinity.

Speaking of which, John Taylor followed up Su's speech with a demo of Kaveri running Battlefield 4. The game was set to 1080p with medium detail, and the frame rate hovered between 27 and 33 FPS during the single-player campaign's intro sequence. AMD showed the same demo on a Core i7-4770K machine with a GeForce GT 630, which sputtered along at 11-12 FPS. That was a bit of an odd comparison, though. The GT 630 is a $60 card, while the i7-4770K is a $350 chip, which I doubt will ever see direct competition from Kaveri. I also wouldn't call 33 FPS particularly playable, either—although, as AMD said, Mantle optimizations may improve Kaveri's BF4 performance in the future.

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