In the mobile sector, AMD is pitting their newest Trinity APUs against Intel’s newest Ivy Bridge. There is a new architecture there, but how well it does compared to Ivy Bridge could be different from Llano vs. Sandy Bridge.
The last rotation of things – and the first time the A-series came out – Llano was based on an old architecture, K10.5, or Stars. The newest architecture, Piledriver, is based off of the Bulldozer with IPC tweaks.
Ivy Bridge has transitioned to the 22nm build process, which allows for more transistors in a smaller die size. Since this means more dies per wafer in the manufacturing process, the CPUs can be cheaper and more energy efficient. These are going to be quite strong in the CPU portion partially because its Intel, and the previous generation was quite strong. But will thee GPU portion deliver as Intel had demonstrated (playing back HD video in VLC)?
The Trinity APU has what AMD deems about the 7660G; it is, however, based more off of the 6900 series through no GCN and special instructions unique to the 6900 series. In almost every benchmark, this beats the HD 4000: sometimes it just wins, sometimes it thrashes it, and sometimes it performs less well. However, that is attributable to less developed drivers, so that problem would ironed out by the time.
The CPU performance is almost always better for Intel. The only time AMD really pulls ahead is when there is OpenCL acceleration that can take advantage of its powerful IGP.
The idle battery life of the APUs are advertised to be 12 hours – though this would obviously vary on the battery capacity/age and the other parts of the notebook. Intel, however is getting slightly better life when it comes to using the IGP; it has a weaker, lower power one while AMD’s IGPs are rather power hungry.
The price is a big deal for a real buyer, though. AMD is known to have far cheaper products (that is, until it comes to their highest end processors and most of their GPUs). The notebooks are expected to be around 200 USD (US Dollars) cheaper than Intel’s notebooks. In part, OEMs and Notebook designers don’t seem to want to give AMD a chance to have higher end equipment.
The other day, at a store with laptops, most of the laptops with Intel looked quite nice, and the one with AMD was either a C-60 or C-30 (this is the Intel Atom equivalent). This alone might not sound too bad, but it was paired had a rather lousy touch pad that was hard to use, since the buttons were also on the outside (and this is from a laptop user). Overall, it was a low end laptop that would surely bring shame to AMD’s name to one looking just at the processor companies; Acer could have made the touch pad a little nicer, and the store could have picked a better one to display.
Overall, AMD is still beating Intel in the graphics department, and Intel is still beating AMD in the CPU department. But not all is gloom and doom; AMD’s APUs have definitely improved compared to Intel’s Ivy Bridge from Llano (two ls: not Liano) compared to Sandy Bridge. The battery life and price are looking good for AMD, and Intel is trying to lower their prices. OEMs, however, don’t seem to be giving too much of a chance to AMD’s higher end solutions.