AMD Kaveri APU Architecture Overview


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In addition to its HSA implementations, Kaveri improves performance through the use of hardware acceleration in areas that would normally require the CPU or the GPU to handle the load. The first of these accelerators is AMD’s TrueAudio Technology Architecture. We first saw TrueAudio implemented on a couple of the R-series GPUs and the architecture has also been included in the Kaveri APUs.


TrueAudio uses a processor within the APU separate from the compute cores to take care of audio processing such as convolution reverb and GenAudio spatialization. AMD estimates that convolution reverb can take up to 20% of the CPU and GenAudio can use up another 6%. TrueAudio takes care of those processes so that the CPU can focus on other features. AMD played a demo of GenAudio Astound Sound Technology used to provide spatial audio and virtual surround from typical 2.1 speaker headsets. The demo was very convincing of TrueAudio’s capability to provide immersive spatial audio. I could very clearly locate the sounds without the use of a 5.1 or 7.1 solution.


TrueAudio is fully programmable, dedicated audio that is compatible with existing hardware. Some newer game titles, such as Lichdom, Thief, and Murdered Soul: Suspect, are already taking advantage of TrueAudio to enhance spatial computing. TrueAudio further allows for Natural UI speech interfaces to be used in a wider variety of environments. A demo of TrueAudio cleaning up a messy recording to enable clear audio recognition was pretty impressive. According the a representative from Nuance, Kaveri will allow for much better speech recognition for consumer products, where they are now relegated only to the commercial realm.


Another accelerator used by Kaveri is the Video Coding Engine (VCE 2). The Trinity and Richland APUs both utilized VCE 1 for H.264 YUV420 (I and P frames), H.264 SVC Temperal Encode, and VCE Display Encode Mode. VCE 2 in Kaveri includes all of those, but also adds B frames to the YUV420 and H.264 YUV444 (I Frames) for 60Hz Wireless Display.


The Unified Video Decoder (UVD 4) is another accelerator used by the Kaveri platform. We saw UVD 3 implementations in Trinity and Richland, including decoding for H.264 / AVCHD, VC-1 / WMV profile D, MPEG-2, Multi-View Codec (MVC), and MPEG-4 / DivX. The UVD 4 accelerator maintains each of those video formats and adds improved error resiliency to the H.264 / AVCHD decode.


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