AMD today announced their Brazos 2.0 APUs, also known as their 2012 AMD E-series APU. Brazos has actually been a major success for AMD, particularly in emerging markets, as it handily beats Intel’s Atom offerings and costs very little to manufacture. AMD has shipped over 30 million units, and there are over 160 different designs using Brazos. So what exactly is new in the world of Brazos for 2012? Not much, actually, other than names and model numbers. Here’s the short list of the new APUs:

AMD E-Series APU for Essential Notebooks and Desktops
APU Model GPU Model TDP CPU Cores CPU Clock
GPU Clock
L2 Cache Max DDR3
E2-1800 HD 7340 18W 2 1.7GHz 80 680MHz/ 523MHz 1MB DDR3-1333
E1-1200 HD 7310 18W 2 1.4GHz 80 500MHz 1MB DDR3-1066
E-450 HD 6320 18W 2 1.65GHz 80 600MHz/ 508Mhz 1MB DDR3-1333
E-350 HD 6310 18W 2 1.6GHz 80 492MHz 1MB DDR3-1066
E-300 HD 6310 18W 2 1.3GHz 80 488MHz 1MB DDR3-1066
E-240 HD 6310 18W 1 1.5GHz 80 500MHz 512KB DDR3-1066

If that looks strikingly similar to the current E-series APUs, that’s because “Brazos 2.0” is using the same die. The E2-1800 is the replacement for the current E-450, with CPU clocks that are 50MHz higher, while the E1-1200 is also a dual-core die but with a lower 1400MHz clock—100MHz more than the previous E-300. The GPU gets a few more changes: first, AMD has rebranded the HD 6310/6320 as the HD 7310/7340, and second, the GPU clocks are higher. E-300 clocked the GPU at 488MHz, so the E1-1200 is only 12MHz (2.5%) faster; E-450 had the GPU clock at 508MHz with a max Turbo clock of 600MHz, so the 523/680MHz clocks of the E2-1800 are 3% and 13% higher, respectively. How often you’ll actually hit the higher GPU clocks isn’t exactly clear, but don’t count on being able to play the latest gaming blockbusters regardless.

If you’re a little depressed about the rebranding of the Brazos Zacate as Brazos 2.0, you’re not alone. This looks like a marketing driven move, particularly with the HD 7000 branding of the GPUs. There’s nothing even remotely similar to Southern Islands chips in Brazos, and the 80 core design has its roots in AMD’s 5000 series of GPUs. That still gives you DX11 and OpenCL 1.1 support, and given the CPU performance of Brazos—still substantially slower than any modern laptop CPU other than Intel’s Atom—there’s not really a need for more GPU performance. The 7000 branding essentially carries over from what we’ve seen on the other laptop GPUs, where everything below 7700M is simply a rebranded HD 6000M chip (which in some cases were rebranded HD 5000M chips).

While the new APUs don’t appear to have changed from previous Brazos chips, the platform has seen some updates. The real changes are in the Fusion Controller Hub (FCH), “Hudson-M3L” or A68M, which now supports two USB 3.0 ports as well as native support for SD card readers. AMD also lists support for their Steady Video Technology and Quick Stream Technology, though why those aren’t supported on older Brazos chips isn’t clear. Finally, AMD lists the FCH idle power as 750mW, down from 950mW on the previous A50M FCH.

All told, the changes and tweaks appear to have improved battery life slightly along with adding a few new features—or at least, the process technology is more mature and yields have improved to the point where the latest chips are better than the first models. AMD lists battery life improvements of 5% at idle for E2-1800/E1-1200 compared to E-450/E-300. There’s no indication of expected availability, but other than the changes to the FCH, the new APUs should be drop-in replacements for previous E-series APUs, so we expect to see updated designs sooner rather than later. Pricing as always will be up to the OEMs, and choices of memory, storage, and other components will largely determine how inexpensive Brazos 2012 products will be, but as long as OEMs can continue to push prices down in lieu of more substantial upgrades they likely won't catch too much flak from buyers.

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  • Jumangi - Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - link

    Cause their APU's are all cheap so they don't make much profit. They probably have to sell 10 of them to get the profit Intel gets from a single IVY Bridge chip.
  • XZerg - Tuesday, June 5, 2012 - link

    When will AMD start to include dual channel in these things? I am sure the integrated graphics can definitely make use of the extra memory bandwidth.

    Maybe AT can run a bench on these IGP CPUs with a single vs dual channel memory setup to see how much difference it makes to GPU related activities (games, specifically).
  • XZerg - Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - link

    I found a bench:

    Wow!!! it is over 50% hit for using single channel. That really begs the question - why won't they just include dual channel support?
  • veri745 - Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - link

    If by "over 50%", you actually mean "up to 42%", then yes.

    I'm guessing they don't include dual channel support on Brazos because the die only has a single DDR controller.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - link

    Hold on now... just because Llano benefits by 55% on average going from single-channel to dual-channel doesn't mean the same thing would happen with Brazos.

    Llano has a CPU core that's roughly twice as fast per core at similar clock speeds (e.g. E-350 1.6GHz vs. A8-3500M 1.5GHz + Turbo Core), and it's about three times as fast in heavily threaded tests thanks to having twice as many cores ( More importantly, the GPU core in Llano is up to FOUR TIMES (!) more powerful than the GPU in Brazos (80 cores @ 500MHz vs. 400 cores @ 444MHz).

    AMD's engineers aren't stupid. I'd guess the reason Brazos isn't dual-channel is that AMD ran simulations in software before completing the design and determined that adding dual-channel support wasn't a good choice. It might have been cost-ineffective in terms of die size, power, and/or performance; for example,on a 75mm^2 chip, adding the second memory channel would bump up the pin count (and thus package size) by something like 200 pins. Even if the die size doesn't increase much, that makes the package size probably 50% larger. (FT1 is a BGA-413 socket; that means 413 pins, so you'd need around 600+ for dual-channel if I'm not mistaken.)
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - link

    I'm not sure you can even fit a dual channel controller on a chip that small. Some quick paper napkin numbers indicate that you might be pad limited coming off of the die, which could only be fixed by making the die bigger altogether.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - link

    the lenovo x131e with amd's brazos chip has 2 ram slots. it can run the ram in dual channel.
  • ET - Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - link

    There's little need in my experience for GPU improvement in these chips considering the slow CPU.

    I ran City of Heroes on an E-350 (at low graphical setting), and I get about the same (low) frame rate at 1080p that I get at the notebook's native 1366x768. So CPU bottlenecked to the extreme even with such a weak GPU. So better GPU performance will basically let you up the graphics settings a bit while retaining the low performance. Nice, but not that helpful.
  • ET - Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - link

    I agree that a more minor naming change would have been in order. Looks like E-350 to E-450 was more of a change.
  • duploxxx - Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - link

    it's a pitty that they didn't bring real brazos 2.0, perhaps we will see a new version on the node shift once mature enough. The E2-1800 will be a very good netbook....

    On the other hand lets see what trinity 17-18W series will bring to the table, although they will be more expensive they probably have a way better performance

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