Published in PC Hardware

Kabini to be 10 percent faster than 28nm Bobcat

by on29 December 2012

Which AMD never built

AMD’s no frills Kabini APU is set to appear in a few months and it could be one of the more significant chips to roll out of AMD next year.

We already reported that AMD plans to introduce E-series and X-series chips, with the X4 5110 pegged as the top quad-core SKU. It’s a 25W part manufactured in 28nm, but we still don’t know the clocks. Thanks to forum member over at Anandtech who unearthed an interesting Q&A video, we now have some official info. However, rather than answering any questions, the video raises a few new ones.

The video apparently shows Jeff Rupley, head of Jaguar development at AMD, talking about his baby. Long story short, Rupley told the crowd that the new architecture will deliver more than a 10-percent micro-architectural frequency gain versus Bobcat in 28nm. We heard similar comparisons from AMD reps before, but we assumed they were referring to 40nm Bobcat parts, not 28nm chips. IPC performance should be 15 percent higher, so clock-per-clock is should blow Bobcat out of the water. However, the comparison doesn’t tell us much since AMD ditched Wichita and we never got to see it in action.

So that’s question number one. The fastest 40nm Bobcat part, the E2-1800, runs at 1.7GHz. That doesn’t help much, since the 28nm version was expected to feature higher clocks. A 10-percent increase over the existing 40nm Bobcats translates into 1.9GHz+, but since AMD is apparently comparing Jaguar to 28nm Bobcat, the clock could end up higher, possibly even quite a bit higher. We just don’t know yet.

The second issue is Turbo Core. Bobcat doesn’t have it, but Kabini does and we need to factor it into the equation. Depending on the base clock and a range of other factors, Turbo Core 3.0 can push Trinity clocks 300MHz to 900MHz higher. Even in quad-core Trinity ULV parts, with 17W and 25W TDPs, Turbo accounts for an 800MHz boost. Jaguar probably won’t come close to an 800MHz Turbo boost, but it’s an intriguing possibility nonetheless.

Now cue the speculation. My money is on 1.8GHz/2.2GHz for the fastest Kabini quad-core SKU. Optimists will probably go for 1.6GHz/2.4GHz, but I think that's too, er, optimistic.

Last modified on 29 December 2012
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