AMD A10 'Trinity' APU reviewed

Bulldozer V2 + Radeon HD 7000 = Ivy Bridge competitor?

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Introduction

Today AMD launches a new generation APUs, which is their term for processors with integrated graphics card. The new chips, codenamed Trinity, are the successors to the current AMD A4, A6 and A8 Llano processors. Because the performance has been significantly improved, the new series is labeled A10. The message from AMD is clear, compared to the previous generation both CPU and GPU performance has increased while the energy consumption has decreased. This means better performance per watt, which in laptops should translate to improved battery life.

AMD already is ahead of Intel in the integrated GPU department. It would like to keep this edge, so Trinity contains a new integrated graphics engine based on the recent Northern Islands GPU family. The CPU part has been overhauled even more, as Trinity is based on the so-called Piledriver cores. These are a new and second version of AMD's Bulldozer technology, known from the AMD FX processors.

AMD Trinity testnotebook
A prototype laptop by AMD with A10-4600M 'Trinity' processor

With these new processors AMD is initially focusing exclusively on the laptop market. Desktop versions of Trinity will appear as well, but right now it is unclear when exactly. It could have something to do with the moderate popularity of the A4, A6 and A8 processors in the desktop market, and the resulting overstock of existing CPUs and motherboards.

On the following pages we will first examine the technology behind Trinity, after which we will discuss the test results. AMD sent us a test laptop equipped with the new A10-4600M processors that we tested extensively and compared with Intel's Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge generation processors.


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