AMD Trinity for laptops review
AMD’s latest mobile processors make their debut, and promise some much needed competition in the laptop market
Review Date: 15 May 2012
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed:
It’s been almost a year since AMD’s Llano platform made its mobile debut, and now its successor has landed in PC Pro’s Labs. Promising twice the performance per watt of the previous generation, an upgraded graphics core and a whole host of improvements, AMD’s pinning its hopes on Trinity in the battle to win back market share from Intel.
It’s a major move forward for AMD’s mobile chips. Where AMD’s Llano used a tweaked version of the aged Phenom II architecture, the new generation sees AMD’s updated Bulldozer technology, codenamed Piledriver, make its debut alongside revisions of the integrated Radeon HD 7000 GPUs. It’s this partnership that forms the new Trinity-class accelerated processing unit (APU).
Trinity is still built on a 32nm process, but the transistor count has swelled from Llano’s 1.178 billion transistors to 1.303 billion in the new chips. AMD has added support for the AVX, AVX 1.1 and FMA3 instruction sets, and memory support takes a step forward, too, with the Trinity APU now capable of harnessing DDR3 at up to 1,600MHz and supporting low-voltage, 1.25V DIMMs.
Power efficiency is a driving force behind the new design, with power gating, dynamic voltage and speed control on offer across the whole chip, while individual CPU or GPU cores can be powered down when idle. AMD’s Turbo Core technology also reaches its third generation in the Trinity APU. Turbo Core 3 intelligently adjusts clock speeds on the CPU and GPU, clocking down the GPU and boosting the CPU for single-threaded CPU-based operations, or limiting the CPU to its rated speed while delivering more power to the GPU for gaming.
Trinity’s GPU has received a welcome upgrade too. The Radeon HD 7000 Series GPUs tout up to 384 stream-processing units apiece, and offer DirectX 11 and Shader Model 5 support as well as a significantly improved tessellation engine. AMD is keenly pushing the GPU’s computing capabilities, with the redesigned GPU cores providing higher GPU compute performance than the Llano generation. And, as ever, the integrated GPUs are capable of combining forces with a discrete AMD GPU in CrossFireX mode.
The new architecture will roll out across the A6, A8, A10 and FX ranges, including dual- and quad-core parts, but the new architecture also brings with it the potential for a whole host of new low-powered APUs. Where the most efficient Llano APUs had a minimum TDP of 35W, the new Trinity APUs span 17W, 25W and 35W TDP designs suitable for everything from budget laptops, through to the new HP-branded Ultrabook rivals, Sleekbooks, right up to enthusiast-class gaming laptops.
- US cybersecurity official: What does ISP mean?
- Cameron: 5G networks will download movies in a second
- Europol warns: public Wi-Fi isn't safe
- Privacy groups challenge Facebook's WhatsApp buy
- IDC: iPad intertia opens door for Windows tablets
- Chip breakthrough to eliminate checkout queues
- Rivals put on notice as Spotify snaps up The Echo Nest
- Windows 8.1 Update 1 leaks via Microsoft's website
- Bitcoin "founder" says: you've got the wrong man
- Has bitcoin creator been found?
- Move over Delia: IBM Watson is cooking tonight
- Eric Schmidt on the double-edged smartphone: friend and foe
- Getty joins the race to the bottom
- Hour of Code: five steps to learn how to code
- Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review: first look
- Sony Xperia Z2 review: first look
- Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 review: first look
- Nokia XL review: first look
- Samsung Galaxy S5 review: first look
- Nokia X review: first look
- Make the most of your mobile data
- Old-school internet scams: five that just won't die
- Bitcoin believers not worried by Mt. Gox disarray
- How to hack your car
- Small server vs cloud: which is best for SMBs?
- Block party: why do millions play Minecraft?
- What to do if you’re still on Windows XP
- Microsoft Word: top 20 secret features
- Measuring me: is your body the future of security?
- The best mobile apps for business
- Headings vs headers: how to use both in Word
- Windows Server 2012 R2: how the Datacenter edition could change SMBs
- Invoices and VAT: how to set up your documents correctly
- Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Active: the best phone for avoiding screen burn
- How much is a social user worth?
- The key to choosing a secure password
- Thunderbolt Bridge: a fast Mac migration tool
- Should you advertise on Twitter?
- How to track a lost smartphone
- Self-publishing success: the best way to sell your book