CES 2016: AMD announces new APU, new cooler, and motherboards

AMD Wraith CPU cooler slide

At CES 2016, AMD revealed more products for 2016, which included a new APU for the FM2+ socket, announcing a slew of new technologies for AM3+ and FM2+ motherboards from their partners, and perhaps the most interesting addition, in the new Wraith CPU cooler that AMD will ship in the box with future high-end products. As has been the case in the last two years, AMD hasn’t had anything really interesting going on in the CPU space, iterating on their existing designs and using process improvements to keep increasing the performance of their APUs bit by bit. This will soon change, but we’ll have to be patient for the Excavator and Zen processors which will hit the ground later this year.

The Wraith CPU cooler is not a redesign, but instead is the same old stock cooler with a different fan shroud and a larger 80mm fan. While effective, the old stock fan was a pesky and tiny 60mm unit. The larger fan on the Wraith promises to yield better temperature control and will run much more quietly. AMD’s claim of 39db is a little on the high end compared to some GPU coolers from MSI or Gigabyte, but admittedly having this thing in your system probably won’t be noticeable.

The shroud has a backlit AMD logo on one side facing the memory sticks when you install this in a tower chassis. It’s also a little taller, so it might not fit inside some thin or ITX chassis.

amd_a10-7890k slide

AMD also announced a new APU, the A10-7890K. This replaces the older A10-7870K which was AMD’s top-end stock-keeping unit (SKU). This is a quad-core unlocked processor, which features Radeon R7 graphics running at close to 900MHz, sporting 384 stream processors. The thermal design power limit (TDP) of the A10-7890K is 95 watts, which keeps it under the maximum supported TDP of the new Wraith cooler, which is 125W. DDR3 support for the chip maxes out at 2133MHz.

The only real difference between the A10-7870K and the new A10-7890K is revised clock speeds on the CPU and GPU, amounting to around 200MHz for the CPU cores. It boosts up to 4.3GHz, so out of the box it will be a bit faster than a stock-clocked A10-7870K. There are slight process improvements which might affect energy efficiency, but I don’t think these savings will be significant. The RRP for this new chip will be $139.99.

amd_new_mainboards slide

Finally, AMD announced that their board partners will be updating the feature set of socket AM3+ and FM2+ motherboards to allow them to support USB 3.1 Type C devices as well as new M.2 connectors. There’s no further information about that, but I’m certain that these new connectors are B and M-keyed to allow for different M.2 devices that use different connectors. This means that any of these boards should, in theory, allow the use of a Wi-Fi card in one M.2 port, while a second one would be open for use with a PCI-Express M.2 NVMe drive.

There are a few motherboards which have all these changes already. Check out the list below; all of the examples have USb 3.1 Type C connectors with a NVMe bootable M.2 connector.

The mechanisms used to get this flexibility will be third-party chips that increase the board cost, but overseas AMD boards generally tend to work out much cheaper than their Intel-based counterparts anyway. AMD, meanwhile, is on track to release the desktop Excavator-based APUs towards the middle of 2016, along with a new socket, AM4, and a new supporting chipset, derived from the A-series chipsets found on current FM2+ motherboards.