AMD is continuing its running streak of being one of the most diverse chipsets in the market. The global semiconductor company today announced its new Pro chips, code-named Bristol Ridge, which it said will feature in PCs from HP and Lenovo. The PRO badge stands for “Performance, Reliability, Opportunity”. And it sounds like AMD is making this release as power-packed as it can get.
It’ll utilize AMD’s monster Excavator CPU, which is a good choice, considering its reliability as well as GCN 3.0 (Graphics Core Next) with cores that have been built within the 28nm process. This may be a bit of a let-down, since fans would expect the much smooth Zen-based 14nm cores, which means AMD has something big planned for that release.
The AM4 chipset that will be a part of the new PRO series brings DDR4 speeds, PCIe 3.0, USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C, M.2 SSD connections and AMD secure processor support. AMD is integrating the PRO series to 65W TDP SKUs for desktops and 35W SKUs for smaller devices. For desktops, the PRO series will come in the following flavours – A12, A10, A8 and A6.
The A12 model will feature 12 cores (4 CPUs + 8 GPU), the A10 has 10 cores and… well, we see the trend there.
The “E” series of the AMD PRO chipsets will be made for the 35W devices, out of which the most powerful would be the A8-9800E running 4 CPU cores at a top clock-speed of 3.8 GHz.
Intel’s Kaby Lake processors allow vendors to alter the TDP range above the standard, but not with the PRO series. It only lets vendors configure them at a lower value than the standard. But AMD compares well in terms of power, clocking 1 GHz in top CPU speed over Intel’s current series of chipsets. While Intel’s lower chipsets don’t have a turbo boosting feature in them, AMD’s do.
On the graphics front, AMD’s Radeon graphics based on the GCN 3.0 properly outdo Intel’s HD Graphics by a large margin, with the A12-9800E offering 88% more graphics performance than the Intel Core i5-6500T.
AMD’s plan all along while releasing this series of processors is to provide a bridge towards the next generation Zen chips. AMD has also provided easy upgradability to the newer Zen model by making it possible to remove the processor from the socket and replace it with the Zen processors. To conclude, these chips aren’t exactly AMD’s biggest release just yet. It’s just a placeholder for the next biggest to come.
But the PRO series shouldn’t be mistaken for being a slouch. It’s a very capable processor that is just what the market segment is looking for. It’ll be compatible with Microsoft’s Windows Hello, as well as biometric logins for PCs. So we should be expecting this chip on a lot of popular business desktops. HP’s Elitedesk 705 G3 will use the full PRO family in its desktop series.