AMD Trinity APU Announced and Tested

AMD has finally released its revision on the revolutionary design of a CPU integrating graphics as powerful as discrete graphics.

As you may know, AMD has replaced the architecture with a newer, slightly stronger one that has more room for improvement than the fully tweaked “Stars” architecture. The highest end processing power is now better than the last generation, the Llanos, and also better (according to some benchmarks from engineering samples) than the Bulldozer-based FX-4100 and FX-4170. This is even at lower clock speeds, so AMD really worked hard on increasing its IPC. Some benchmarks show a growth of 6% in IPC over the Phenom II X4. Granted, this isn’t necessarily the X6 1100t, but at least it didn’t do worse, like its predecessor.

The A-10 4600m does not quite match the i5 2450m in CPU performance, unless the application supports OpenCL acceleration, which would take advantage of the GPU in the A-10. This might not be thrilling, but it has still grown quite a bit – now it’s actually being compared to the venerable i5 line, not the Pentiums or i3s. The next architecture will feature a 28nm process from the current 32nm, so things could easily get better.

On the graphics side, things are looking sunny (which can easily be generated by the new APUs). They easily thrash Intel’s HD 4000 quite a bit, except in Skyrim, Batman, and Dirt 3, where Intel does slightly better – though not much. However, Batman is known to do better with Nvidia, so it may be that it is just not optimized for AMD.

The graphics architecture, though branded with a shiny new 7000 series, still looks more like the 6900 series. It carries a VLIW4 design – as opposed to GCN (Graphics Core Next) – and may seem worse than the Llano’s  VLIW5. And it has 384 stream processors down from 400, so how could it do better? The answer is that VLIW4 uses 4 textures units per SIMD engine – one fewer than that of VLIW5- but each engine usually only gets  to use 3 or 4 of the texture units at a time. This means that the 384 stream processors will be more often active than the 400 in the older generation.

Price, however, is where AMD will most likely score successes; Intel is notorious with high prices with their high performance. The APU also claims long battery lives, which is optimal for users who don’t always have an AC outlet to plug their laptops into.

Leave a Reply