AMD Llano A-Series APU Sabine Notebook Platform ReviewMon, Jun 13, 2011 - 7:00 PM
AMD Llano APU Architecture
The “SABINE” mainstream notebook will feature processors up to and including Quad-cores. That isn’t necessarily the key point though, the various processors will feature discrete class graphics capable of DirectX 11 performance! AMD has introduced a pair of Fusion Controller hubs to match the “SABINE” platform. The first of the two is the A70M, the A70M will provide us with up to four USB 3.0 ports, 10 USB 2.0 ports and a pair (2) of USB 1.1 ports. The second of the pair is a slightly lower end version which doesn’t have USB 3.0. Though it will support up to 14 USB 2.0 ports and a pair of USB 1.1 ports. The notebook we are using has the A70M Fusion controller hum with Super Speed USB 3.0.
AMD has balanced the APU real estate between the CPU portion and the Graphics. We can see the location on the A-Series APU of the key points on the diagram above. Though one piece of technology that isn’t labeled is the integrated Northbridge. The integrated Northbridge is the dark spot between the top two CPU cores. Each of the cores feature 1MB L2 cache for a total of 4MB L2 cache. The A-Series APU features 24 PCI Express I/O lanes as well as digital display interfaces.
Taking a look at the AMD A-series GPU architecture Diagram we can see that the “Sumo” core is an updated version of the “Redwood” design. One of the changes that has been made for “Sumo” is the addition of UVD 3 as well as power gating. This has been implemented in GLOBAL FOUNDRIES 32nm process technology. We also have full DirectX 11 support with Tessellation, Shader Model 5.0, and Direct Compute.
There are 3 mobile variants of the AMD Fusion A-Series APU if you recall in the introduction and the slide above goes into the GPU differences between the A4, A6 and A8 variants.
The A-Series APU features UVD3 which is the third generation Unified Video Decoder. This is a hardware decoder with support for H.264, VC-11, MPEG2, WMV, DivX, MVC and Adobe Flash.
The A-Series APU takes advantage of Power Gating. This will maximize performance while maintaining batter life. Above you can see the different sections of the A-Series APU powered down depending on the operations the system is performing.
For those that want even more graphics performance the Sabine notebook platform also supports the use of discrete graphics and there are numerous options available. There are nine discrete GPU options for the platform and on our test system we have the Whistler LP or Radeon HD 6630M inside. For marketing purposes AMD calls the combination of the Radeon 6620G and the Radeon HD 6630M in the same system Dual Radeon Graphics 6690G2. Trying to figure out and remember all the combinations and the nomenclature of the chart above will make your head more than hurt.
Using AMD Dual Graphics Technology the A-Series APU and discrete graphics will form an extension of the existing AMD CrossfireX Alternate Frame Rendering (AFR) Technology