The 1st generation A-series ‘Llano’ APUs did not impress me when they were first released. The tweaks that AMD has done to Llano’s CPU cores weren’t drastic and was all about lowering power consumption with just a tiny pinch of performance boost, although, there’s no denying that their APUs were selling like pancakes thanks to the powerful integrated graphics and budget-friendly price.
So what’s new with the ‘Trinity’ APUs?
- Increased CPU performance by up to 29 percent thanks to higher processor speeds.
- AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series graphics.
- Double the performance per watt compared to the previous generation.
- Full DDR3 1600MHz support on all models.
- The Trinity series features AMD HD Media Accelerator (designed to optimize video quality and accelerate video file conversion).
- Equipped with the next-gen “Piledriver” CPU cores with AMD Turbo Core version 3.0 (AMD’s version of Intel’s Turbo Boost)
- Up to 12 hours of battery life through CPU and GPU power enhancements.
- Manufactured with 32 nm process technology for cooler operation and better energy efficiency.
- Maximum TDP of 35W.
The Trinity family of APUs will include three mainstream and two ultra-thin processors. The high-end A10-4600M features an AMD Radeon HD 7660G graphics chip boasting 384 cores running at 497MHz and four 2.3GHz ‘Piledriver’ cores with 4MB of L2 cache. AMD’s Turbo Core technology boosts the chip’s CPU clock speed to 3.2GHz CPU and 686MHz for the GPU.
As you can see, everything about the Trinity architecture is performance increase and energy efficiency. It is what Llano should have been.
The Radeon HD7000 graphics is the deal breaker for me, I’m a frame rate and graphics quality junkie. As far as I know, the HD7660G graphics chip on the A10-4600M APU is over 50% faster compared to the previous-gen AMD A8-3500M (HD6620G). I’ve already experienced using an Acer AS5560 laptop equipped with the previous-gen A8-3500M chip and it was quite a pleasant experience, don’t be fooled by the low price tag (It was priced around Php31,000 as far as I can remember), the GPU performance on that thing is almost comparable to Nvidia’s GeForce GT420m, I was able to play Call of Duty: Black Ops on the Acer AS5560 with graphics set to medium but resolution was set at full 1366×768, fps was kept at a constant 30s with minimal frame drops — no mean feat. Surely, the A10-4600M will perform much better.
AMD’s formula for creating a pleasant computing experience is pretty simple. Just fuse four adequate-performing CPU cores with a powerful GPU on a single die and it’s good to go. It keeps the cost down to a minimum without sacrificing performance and battery life. Also, It’s worth noting that AMD’s decision to prioritize GPU compute capabilities in a mobile processor is a smart move, the HD7000G graphics core supports the latest array of APIs such as DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.2 and most importantly, OpenCL 1.1 which lets you tap into the fast and efficient GPU cores to do most of the processing instead of the slower CPU.
The second-generation Series A APUs has just been announced last month, expect Trinity-powered laptops to arrive at your nearest computer stores within the next four to eight weeks.
For more info re: AMD’s Trinity APUs, click here.