AMD's Q1 2016 Product CPU & APU Details Revealed

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅02.02.2016 14:01:55

If you kept tabs on CES this year it will come as no surprise that AMD are refreshing their CPU, motherboard and APU lineup this quarter, a move which comes ahead of an expect new motherboard chipset and processor microarchitecture later in 2016. They've now released more details of the updated product lineup, some of which are in stores as we speak and others that will be released in the not-to-distant future.

New Motherboard Features

The past few years have included new features which haven't seen wide-spread adoption in motherboards based on AMD's ageing AM3+ and FM2+ chipsets. Most notable of these are M.2 storage and USB 3.1, but a relative lack of peripherals and devices which demand this functionality (especially in the mainstream and low-cost market where AMD's product lineup is strongest) had meant that urgency was low. New products from the likes of Samsung however, especially in the performance-oriented consumer market, has lit a fire under AMD and their partners, hence the new designs for this quarter.

USB 3.1 support is being extended throughout the 2016 motherboard lineup, on both AM3+ and FM2+ models, and in most cases will include both standard Type-A and the compact reversible Type-C connector. Although not many Type-C peripherals currently exist it’s critically important from a future-proofing perspective, and will hopefully herald comprehensive support for the I/O standard in any future Socket AM4 chipset.

M.2 support by contrast will not be comprehensive, and will be tailored to the performance bracket of the motherboard. Top-end 990FX-chipset designs, such as the GIGABYTE GA-990FX-GAMING, will now have the options of one M.2 Gen2 (4 PCI-E lanes) slot for maximum performance. Mid-range 970-chipset designs, including the ASROCK Fatal1ty 970 A-G/3.1, could have one M.2 Gen1 slot (2 PCI-E lanes). Two A88X-Chipset FM2+ motherboards, the GA-F2A88XM-DS2P from GIGABYTE and ASRock’s A88M A-G/3.1 ASRock, also support M.2 storage. It should be noted however that a lack of available PCI-Express lanes on budget CPUs and APUs on the FM2+ platform could cause problems when using M.2 PCI-Express storage on a system also equipped with high-performance discrete graphics.

The key takeaway is that, although support isn’t universal, you should be able to find an AMD motherboard to meet your exacting requirements without too much difficulty. You should just make sure that motherboard tech. specs are double-checked before purchasing first though, to prevent confusion.

CPU And APU Updates, Inc. The Wraith Cooler

AMD are also complementing new 2016 motherboard designs with new or updated CPU and APU models that feature increased speeds, improved cooling solutions, or some combination of the two. The catalyst of this has been the development of a new CPU cooling solution that AMD are calling Wraith, a design which is being talked up as their best reference cooler to date and features of which are also being incorporated further down the product stack.

The Wraith is a new compact cooler design which will be bundled with selected high-performance CPUs. Outwardly it's reminiscent of most stock cooler designs, albeit with a more compact fin arrangement and thicker fan frame, but AMD are touting major benefits to this design over the previous:

- 24% more surface area than the previous reference cooler,
- Improved fixed-RPM fan generating 34% more air flow,
- One-tenth the noise level (39dbA) of the previous reference cooler,
- Backlighting for the fan.
- Able to hold its own against most <$50 CPU coolers.

In the past AMD's reference coolers, on but CPUs and GPUs, have come in for a lot of flack for being either inefficient or far too loud. If it can live up to stated claims AMD could be on to a winner with the Wraith, and undoubtedly tech sites are right now pitting it up again established solutions on AMD's AM3+/FM2 platforms. A fixed RPM fan in particular is an interesting step, especially when you consider the current trend of variable-RPM PWM fan solutions on coolers. It does mean that the noise level will be constant and, although unlikely to be 'silent', should also not reach the shrill levels of a compact high-RPM PWM fan when the CPU is at full load.

The Wraith will debut will be with retail packages of the AMD FX 8370 unlocked performance CPU, priced at $199.99 and representing no additional cost to the end-user compared to the older stock design. Non-retail package FX 8370 CPUs will retail for $189.99, and AMD have no current plans to sell the cooler separately.


Further down the product stack AMD are introducing three new processors for their FM2+ platform: the A10-7860K and A6-7470K APUs, and the Athlon X4 845 CPU.

The A10-7860K is a new high-end APU and the first “Godavari” part for the A10 APU product stack. A more mature manufacturing process and tweaked design has brought the rated TDP of the SKU down to 65W (from 95W of the “Kaveri” A10-7850K) whilst retaining the 4GHz boosted clock speed; furthermore, both base speed and GPU frequency have been improved vs the older Kaveri models. In other aspects the design is a familiar one, featuring 4 "Steamroller" CPU Cores and 8 GCN graphics cores as well as 4MB L2 cache and 16 PCI-Express lanes.

Retail A10-7860K packages also include an updated thermal solution rated at 95W. Although not the high-end Wraith, the new cooler designs which are being phased in to retail packages of AMD’s APU lineup should see better temps and most importantly more manageable noise in the long-term. In the case of the 7860K it should also allow for some overclocking headroom, a fact not often the case with stock cooling.

The A6-7470K APU by contrast is a more modest model with only two Steamroller cores and four GCN GPU cores. Fitting firmly at a new entry-level for APUs with GCN graphics, the target market for this SKU is a little unclear. It will be interesting to see how it performs compared to the older "Trinity" A6 APU models.

We should note that an A10-7890K is also reportedly incoming, sitting at the very top of their A10 product stack and supplanting the A10-7870K; no additional information on this part was provided.

The final new process released is AMD’s first desktop “Excavator” part, the Athlon X4 845. As an Athlon model this SKU lacks GPU and so relies on solid CPU performance as a draw, but it does also feature Excavator cores that are, in theory at least, more efficient on an IPC basis than the older designs. It’s noteworthy that this is a locked 65W part, but is cooled by the same 95W-rated cooler as the A10-7870K.

Four existing models - the Athlon™ X4 870K, AMD Athlon™ X4 860K, AMD A8-7670K and AMD A8-7650K – will also be receiving updated cooling solutions.

The following is the (US) pricing for new and revised members of AMD’s revised product stack:

AMD FX™ 8370 Wraith - $199.99 USD
AMD FX™ 8370 - $189.99 USD
AMD A10-7860K - $117.99 USD
AMD A8-7670K - $105.99 USD
AMD A8-7650K - $95.99 USD
AMD Athlon™ X4 870K - $89.99 USD
AMD Athlon™ X4 860K - $79.99 USD
AMD Athlon™ X4 845 - $69.99 USD


Revising your product lineup with the shadow of a new architecture release looming over the market is always going to have a mixed reception, but AMD are caught between a rock an a hard place. In this instance however they are at the very least updating the range with new features that will be necessary for computing in the next few years, as well as bringing meaningful on-paper benefits. So, whilst enthusiasts all hold their collective breaths for AMD Zen and AM4, AMD can at least provide what consumers need right now whilst staying under their banner.

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