AMD has come up with some rather imaginative names for when it combines one of its new APU's with a discrete Radeon graphics card and the company has moved away from the familiar CrossFire branding and simply gone for Dual Radeon Graphics. However, things get interesting when you start looking at the specifics, as depending on which APU is teamed up with which discrete GPU, the names change.

AMD has come up with some rather imaginative names for when it combines one of its new APU's with a discrete Radeon graphics card and the company has moved away from the familiar CrossFire branding and simply gone for Dual Radeon Graphics. However, things get interesting when you start looking at the specifics, as depending on which APU is teamed up with which discrete GPU, the names change.

Back at Computex AMD unveiled its new logos and branding for the APU's that were announced earlier today and it looked complicated and unclear at best back then, but thanks to a slide posted over at Anandtech today, things have gotten a lot more complicated. Some additional details on how it all works have also come to light and we have a feeling that this is not only going to be a headache for consumers, but also for the notebook makers and AMD itself.

Let's try to keep things as simple as possible, so we're going to do this bullet point style.

  1. We have three new A-series APU's, the A4, the A6 and the A8. All three have different graphics cores with the A4 sporting a Radeon HD 6480G, the A6 a Radeon HD 6520G and the A8 a Radeon HD 6620G.
  2. Each of the APUs can be combined with a discrete graphics option for better graphics performance and it works more or less like AMD's old Hybrid CrossFire, although it's now called Dual Radeon Graphics.
  3. The good news is that Dual Radeon Graphics is asymmetrical, so a faster GPU can be used with a slower discrete option, something that wasn't possible with Hybrid CrossFire, which makes this a lot more interesting and usable.
  4. One thing that isn't very clear and which Anandtech seems to have forgotten to mention is the fact that you need to run dual-channel memory for Dual Radeon Graphics to work. Considering how many notebooks out there that are shipping with a single stick of memory, this is a pretty big deal, but more on that later.
  5. If you take a look at the slide below you'll notice that the various APUs combine differently with the same discrete GPU and as such create various odd combinations based on, well, some kind of logic, we hope.
  6. AMD's Eyefinity technology is not supported by the graphics in the APU, nor in Dual Radeon Graphics mode. Hopefully this is something AMD will be fixing in the future though.

If the slide above hasn't gotten your head spinning, then you've done better than we did the first time we looked at it. The peculiar thing is the two topmost options, as here the A6 and A8 APU's end up with the same naming scheme for the Dual Radeon Graphics which adds further confusion as to how it all works. It's possible that the Radeon HD 6750M and 6770M are fast enough to take precedence here while the other discrete cards are not, but that doesn't quite make sense either.

The dual core A4 APU also get crippled here as it only works with the Radeon HD 6400M series of discrete GPUs which means that there's no real performance option in place here, at least not as long as the integrated graphics is still being used. We can sort of see what AMD has done here, but then why bother at all with a Dual Radeon Graphics option?

Back to point 4 above, the part about dual-channel memory. Apparently AMD is expecting the notebook manufacturers to put a different sticker on notebooks with only a single stick of RAM in them, as the integrated graphics in the APU will be disabled in these machines if there's also a discrete card in them and as such they'll not pass some kind of sticker certification from AMD. However, we have a feeling that this won't be followed to the letter, especially considering how easy and affordable it is to add a second stick of RAM to a notebook.

The reason behind this is simple, there isn't enough memory bandwidth for the integrated graphics in the APU to keep up with the discrete card in single channel mode and this is also one of the reasons that AMD is pushing for DDR3 1600MHz RAM for Llano based notebooks (and 1866MHz for desktops), as it'll help boost the performance of the integrated graphics.

There's a lot more to the new platform and a few things aren't quite making sense, but we're not going to go into that here and now. We have a feeling that AMD's new naming scheme is going to cause plenty confusion on its own, not taking into account all the different configuration options available. We'll most likely only see one or two discrete options per notebook SKU from AMD's partners, but this is also limiting the purchasing options and might lead to certain notebook manufacturers ending up more favourable than others.

Source: Anandtech