Skip to main content

AMD’s Carrizo processors arrive this summer with revised core architecture, H.265 hardware decode

amds carrizo processors arrive summer revised core architecture h 265 hardware decode amdcarrizo
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Perpetual underdog AMD has had a rough go of it as late, as Intel’s rapid development cycle and better production processor has helped it achieve world-leading performance and efficiency. Yet AMD hasn’t thrown in the towel; quite the opposite. Instead it has re-doubled its efforts to bring out a new APU this summer.

Code-named Carrizo, the chip will use the company’s latest “Excavator” x86 core, which AMD says can reduce power consumption by as much as 40 percent while increasing instructions per clock by five percent. The design is also the first “AMD high-performance APU” to integrate the Southbridge, which handles input/output functions such as USB, into the processor itself. Intel has taken the same approach since Sandy Bridge, better known as the second-generation Intel Core.

Related: AMD’s new Radeon 300 series rumored to be near the finish line

Get your weekly teardown of the tech behind PC gaming
Check your inbox!

Improvements are always to be expected with new hardware, but in this case they’re made more interesting by AMD’s inability to shrink its production process. Unlike Intel, which owns its fabrication facilities, AMD has to rely on production partners, and that means the company is stuck with an outdated 28nm node. To counter this the red team’s engineers have used “high density libraries” to pack 29 percent more transistors into a similar space.

AMD is also using a number of power management techniques to extract maximum performance per-watt from the existing 28nm process. Carrizo will feature adaptive voltage for both the CPU and GPU and include special sensors that let the chip’s firmware closely monitor voltage and frequency, enabling precise adjustments to power delivery.

This is reminiscent of the techniques Nvidia used to improve the latest GTX 900 chips, though the exact engineering differs. AMD’s competitor also improved efficiency without moving to a more advanced production process.

Carrizo boasts a number of new, previously unavailable features. H.265 hardware decode is standard, giving the company an edge over Intel, which relies on software decode of H.265 in all its current chips. AMD’s own Mantle graphics API, along with DirectX 12, will be supported by the bundled Radeon graphics component. And the chip will be fully compatible with HSA 1.0, a graphics compute standard, which can provide a performance boost in compatible applications.

Related: What is H.265? Here’s everything you need to know

All these facts and figures sound great, but they unfortunately don’t mean Carrizo is right around the corner. AMD is not revealing any laptops with the new APU at this time, and the exact release date remains unknown aside from a mid-year target. Hopefully it’ll come soon enough to beat Skylake, the sixth-generation Intel Core, which is expected sometime in the late second or third quarter of this year (depending on the rumors, leaks and speculation you believe).

Matthew S. Smith
Matthew S. Smith is the former Lead Editor, Reviews at Digital Trends. He previously guided the Products Team, which dives…
AMD previews Ryzen 7000 Zen 4 processors with Halo Infinite tease
Dr. Lisa Su presents the new AMD Zen 4 CPU.

A long-awaited announcement is finally here: AMD has just teased the upcoming release of the next generation of processors, dubbed the AMD Ryzen 7000 series.

The CPUs are set to release in the second half of 2022. AMD previewed the performance of one of the upcoming Zen 4 processors during CES 2022, showing how it fared during a Halo Infinite gaming demo.

Read more
AMD may use Samsung’s 4nm node for Chromebook processors
A digital depiction of an AMD Ryzen 5000G chip.

AMD may soon work with the Samsung chip foundry in order to prepare 4nm Chromebook processors, according to Gokul Hariharan, an analyst at J.P. Morgan.

AMD has previously only worked with two semiconductor factories -- TSMC and GlobalFoundries -- but if the report proves to be true, the cooperation with Samsung may also extend to graphics cards.

Read more
New reports indicate AMD’s Ryzen 5000 processors may be failing at a high rate
amd ryzen 5 2400g 3 2200g processors hands on review imageamd and

If you've been among the few fortunate enough to get your hands on AMD's newly launched Ryzen 5000 series processors, you may think that the headache is over. We're learning that may not be the case, as there are reports that Team Red's new CPUs have a high failure rate.

Gamers who have upgraded to this family of processors will want to hang on to their receipts and packaging in the event of a Ryzen meltdown, as dealing with a return could be easier than having to navigate the manufacturer's warranty process for an exchange.

Read more