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AMD Trinity mobile processors launched

CEO says new chips are "fundamentally awesome"

AMD has just lifted the lid on its new range of mobile processors, codenamed Trinity. Last year’s Llano mobile processors impressed us with their gaming capabilities and low power consumption, but overall application performance lagged behind Intel’s processors.

AMD Trinity diagram

AMD is bullish about the prospects for Trinity, with its President and CEO Rory Read describing the product as “fundamentally awesome” and “faster than Llano in every dimension”. AMD provided us with a prototype laptop containing one of the new processors – see how it performs in our in-depth test.

The new chips are certainly very different to their predecessors. Trinity processors, which will inherit the Llano processors’ A-series designations, have the same 32nm process as the Llano models, but instead of two or four K10.5 cores have one or two x86 modules, each of which contains two Piledriver processor cores. Piledriver is derived from Bulldozer, and AMD claims a 29 per cent performance increase in productivity applications over the Llano processor’s cores. The higher-end A10-4600M and A8-4400M processors available at launch will have 2MB of level 2 cache per processor module, while the lower-end A6-4400M will have 1MB cache for its single module. The table below shows the specifications of the processors that will be available at launch.

AMD Trinity specs
Trinity launch processor specs – click to enlarge

The two different clock speeds for each processor show that, as with all modern processors, the chips can boost beyond their clock speeds to improve performance when the processors have the power and thermal headroom.

The new Trinity processors also promise significantly faster graphics than the previous generation. The top-of-the-range A8-3500M Llano processor had 400 Radeon cores running at 444MHz, while the high-end Trinity A10-4600M chip may only have 384 Radeon cores, but these run at a quicker 497MHz. The graphics hardware can also dynamically overclock, and AMD claims that the processor can dynamically manage its power and thermal envelope between the CPU and GPU.

AMD demonstrated this at the Trinity launch in Texas on an A10-4600M-equipped laptop. When running the Cinebench benchmark, which is highly CPU-intensive but doesn’t hammer the GPU as much, the CPU cores shot up to 3.2GHz while the GPU stayed at its base 497MHz clock. In 3DMark 11, which needs the GPU more than the CPU, the graphics hardware boosted up to 685MHz while the processor stayed at its base clock speed of 2.3GHz.

Another advantage of all this dynamic overclocking and power management is, of course, lower power usage, and AMD is also keen to stress that its processors can help a laptop achieve battery life equivalent to or surpassing the competition from Intel. As seen in our review of the AMD Trinity-equipped prototype laptop, Trinity processors will definitely give you all-day battery life.

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