Review Index:
Feedback

AMD A10-4600M Trinity For Mobile Review: Trying To Cut The Ivy

Author: Matt Smith
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: AMD
Tagged: trinity, radeon, igp, gpu, APU, amd

Graphics Overview, Turbo Core 3.0

Adding The 7000 Series To The APU

The inclusion of a powerful integrated graphics component on nearly all modern CPUs means that the updates to the graphics component are at least as important as the updates to the processor cores. AMD realizes this better than anyone – after all, graphics is one area where they’ve retained a nice lead over Intel in the past. 

Llano’s Radeon 6000 series IGPs were able to hand Intel HD 3000 its hat in most games, but Intel HD 4000 has raised the bar. AMD’s response is to update its own APUs to the 7000 series. This time around the company is going to offer not three but five different IGPs. All of them are based on the same architecture but offer a different core count at different clock speeds.

View Full Size

Core counts are actually down slightly when compared to Llano, but this is made up for by significantly higher clock speeds. Llano IGPs were restricted to 400MHz or 444 MHz, but the mainstream Trinity APUs max out at 655MHz or 686MHz.

The expansion of the lineup from three to five IGPs is due to the new 25W and 17W APUs. AMD apparently ran in to power limitations which prevented these low-voltage parts from performing like their 35W cousins. Intel has done the same in the past with its own low-voltage processors. 

This means the 25W APU offers an IGP that has 384 cores clocked at 497 MHz, while the 17W APU has an IGP with 256 cores clocked at 424Mhz. This will significantly hamper the graphics performance of those parts, though they should still be a fair shake quicker than Llano’s best IGP.

AMD has included a number of feature enhancements in Trinity’s IGP. AMD Eyefinity is now natively supported by the IGP via DVI, HDMI and also DisplayPort 1.2 (on up to four displays). A new media acceleration feature will allow hardware assisted video conversion in supported applications. Tessellation is said to be improved, anti-aliasing is said to be improved and the IGPs are now compliant with DirectCompute 11 and OpenCL 1.1.

None of this is ground-breaking, though the inclusion of Eyefinity on up to four displays is a nice one-up on Intel, which just last month was boasting about support for up to three displays with the IGP on Ivy Bridge. Ultimately, as with the CPU, the real story is going to be told by our performance benchmarks.  

Turbo Core 3.0

View Full Size

Intel Turbo Boost is one of the best features introduced by the company in the last decade. AMD quickly introduced its own solution to try and catch up, but at first seemed a bit blind-sided by Intel’s success with Turbo Boost. AMD Turbo Core worked but was much less aggressive than Turbo Boost.

Turbo Core 3.0 is, of course, meant to close the gap. AMD has designed Trinity so that power can be shifted across both the CPU and GPU as a unit. The advantage of this is a better ability to place power where it’s needed most. It’s actually rather rare for any application to place a significant and roughly equal load on both components – some games do this, as well as some video or photo editing suites, and that’s about it. Most games and most applications only fully tap one or the other, and many applications don’t require the use of the GPU at all.

The results are obvious in AMD’s specifications. The A10-4600M, which is the fastest Trinity processor at launch and the one found in our reference platform, has a base clock of 2.3 GHz but can top out at 3.2 GHz when a single CPU thread is tasked – an increase of 900 MHz. That’s a 200 MHz improvement in relative Turbo Core clock speed and a 500 MHz improvement in maximum clock speed over the A8-3550MX, which is the quickest Llano quad-core. That part has a base clock of 2 GHz and a maximum clock of 2.7 GHz. 

Even the low-voltage components aren’t left out of the party. The A10-4665M, which has a 25W TDP, can increase its clock speed by up to 800 MHz. The A6-4455M, which has a 17W TDP, can increase its clock speed by up to 500 MHz. Intel’s Turbo Boost is still generally more aggressive, but AMD is on the right track.

 

May 14, 2012 | 10:07 PM - Posted by Saumya (not verified)

http://liveoncampus.com/wire/show/3379815
Here is the AMD Demonstration of the Next Generation Trinity Fusion APU For Notebooks.
Further here is an Exclusive interview of the Prominent industry analyst Rob Enderle discussing the future of PC benchmarking in advance of AMD's Second-Generation A-Series APU launch.
With next DX11 capable integrated graphics, the new mobile CPU will still maintain a 17 Watt power envelope.

May 14, 2012 | 11:06 PM - Posted by Shashwat (not verified)

waiting for pcper awesome video series :)

Just like you did for LLano

Thanks for the review :)

May 14, 2012 | 11:14 PM - Posted by tbone (not verified)

good improvement over llano!

wow impressed with battery life against ivy bridge.

looking forward to the 17w version in retail

May 14, 2012 | 11:17 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

I agree. While the 17W part is going to have a fairly gimped GPU (compared to this 35W A10) it will be fast enough for on-the-road use and cheap. I'd really like to see a nice $500 Trinity ultraportable... preferably made by ASUS or Lenovo.

May 15, 2012 | 03:00 AM - Posted by Prodeous (not verified)

Now all we need is for someone at PCPer to take an FX-4100 and downclock it to same speeds and lower voltage accordingly to have a direct (well nearly as the L3 cache difference) comparison between Piledriver and Bulldozer.

As for the review it self, well done Matt.

May 15, 2012 | 04:05 AM - Posted by iExcellero (not verified)

First of all, I want to say I'm a HUGE AMD fan, so this was not easy for me to write...

The Trinity is a BIG disapoitment! Why? Because they (AMD) fail to deliver strong graphics performace with usual lack of CPU power to follow that. Ok, A10-4600 has a decent iGPU BUT that is the fastest one! All others are significantly slower. So HD4000 will be faster over all :( And OMG every Trinity APU has its own iGPU specifications! That will not confuse ordinary customer (who only cares about performanse) at all... NOT! And why the 25W and 17W APUs have bigger model numbers?!
And question that was bothering me from release od Bulldozer, who is the genius, better say wizard, in AMD who thought that AMD should sell processors as 1 module = 2 cores? It is 1 module = 1 core with 2 threads, same as Intel. And if they sold them like that it would lower performanse expectations and actually gave AMD better fighting chance. It's not the same to say "8 core AMD can't compete with 4 core Intel i5" and say "ok, 4 core AMD is little bit slower than Intel's i5". Am I right?!
So, lose - lose situation for AMD. I hope that GCN and Steamroller will be step foward for AMD (GPU's FPU integration with CPU modul and real 1 modul = 2 cores performance).

May 15, 2012 | 06:52 AM - Posted by Daedric (not verified)

hi.
Am a bit confused over the results. Anandtech shows Intel HD4000 beating amd in skyrim ??? What driver was used here?
Just wondering ...

The price is what is going to sell this. though I expected better gaming performance , this is gonna get my cash (assuming I manage to avoid pos 1366x768 gloss)

May 15, 2012 | 08:42 AM - Posted by Matt Smith

I don't think our settings were exactly the same, since I used the straight medium detail presets, as they tweaked the AA settings a bit. If I have time I'll try running it again, and seeing if there is any change.

May 15, 2012 | 08:15 AM - Posted by Zanthis

Shout out to my fellow portlander, nice review matt.

May 15, 2012 | 10:30 AM - Posted by Uncle Bob (not verified)

Trinity works for me. It's better in every possible way - CPU/GPU performance and battery life.

Few people use their laptop all day long for number crunching. Unless that is all you do Trinity is by far the better platform and value than Intel even IB with HD 4000 graphics. If you want to pay more and get less, then Intel is the way to go. If you want to pay less and get much more of what typical laptop users need, then Trinity is spot on for the majority of consumers and that's where my paycheck is going.

May 15, 2012 | 10:39 AM - Posted by collie man (not verified)

So, what I take away from this review is if AMD can work this architecture down to a super low heat version {like 40c on full load} than the atom may finally be dead on the cheap silent system. That may be the only chance in hell they have left. Time will tell I supose

May 15, 2012 | 11:00 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

All is well, but the author of this review forgot about one thing... The iGPU is a standard Northern Islands part, and is going to be CrossFire'able with a discrete AMD GPU part. Why pay for an Ivy Bridge plus a low-to-middle end discrete GPU, if you can have a much stronger Trinity + discrete Radeon dual-GPU gaming rig - for a lower price! I agree it's not going to compete with Intel in raw CPU performance, but in games the Trinity + discrete Radeon combo will be the absolute budget-friendly gaming king. Just as it was with Llano.

May 15, 2012 | 11:52 AM - Posted by Matt Smith

I didn't forget about it. I just can't review what I don't have. I liked the old Llano+discrete system that ASUS K53T put out, and which we use for comparison in this review.

However, those systems are kind of hard to find. There's not much selection. Even the ASUS K53T I reviewed seemed like it was available at retail for a month or two. Then - poof! - gone. Now I can't find it anywhere.

January 31, 2014 | 08:11 PM - Posted by Sharyl (not verified)

In orɗеr to ցеt sоme fɑce time with a manager yyou will
want to mаke ѕure yoս don't show up duгing a rush.
Іt's ingrained, partіcularly if tɦey haѵe had, or ƙnoԝ someօne who haѕ haԀ a *bad* network marketiing experience.
Αlso you havе thе ability tօ watch videos tht ɦave bеeո categorized Ьy Featured, Μost Viewed,
Μost Receոt, аոd Ҭop Rated.

ʟoօk at mmy homepage; funny emails about friends

May 15, 2012 | 11:39 AM - Posted by ChrisB (not verified)

Typo: Trinity is still way behind Sandy Bridge, nevermind Ivy Bridge, in per-clock performance. It's not a stretch to say that Trinity is good enough for many users, but then again, why pay good "more" for less?

I think you want "money" there.

Solid review otherwise, was hoping for an improvement over K53T. (which is an awesome/cheap laptop btw)

May 15, 2012 | 02:04 PM - Posted by Zicoz (not verified)

Also isn't it supposed to be A10-4600M and not A6-4600M?

And anyone know when we can expect to see machines with the 17w part? And will we see computers that are as small as the ultrabooks "from Intel"?

May 15, 2012 | 06:32 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

Thanks, I have fixed this.

May 16, 2012 | 09:39 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

comparing the 35watt trinity to Ivy which has 45watts a 30% power advantage I'd say Trinity is a huge advancement for AMD

May 16, 2012 | 04:06 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

That ivy chip is priced at almost 400 bucks (for the cpu only) and its HD4000 is clocked at 1250Mhz, higher than most dual cores will be no doubt.

Joke of a comparison really. Not Pcper's fault, it's all that intel gave them for a reason.

May 16, 2012 | 12:41 PM - Posted by SEA (not verified)

35W 2 modules/4 threads AMD vs 45W 4 Cores/8 threads Intel is highly biased comparison. Particularly failing to show the 30% better battery live in AMDs notebooks

May 16, 2012 | 07:52 PM - Posted by Uncle Bob (not verified)

Tests have shown that Trinity is way ahead of IB HD 4000 graphics so IB is not going to save Intel in the laptop segment. Only a fool would pay hundreds more to get less performance from Intel.

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1928/1/

June 5, 2012 | 03:54 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Review weak and biased, especially with regard to the gpu. amd drivers are beta / alpha (not sure) of the intel are definitive. llano means already in these reviews. I saw the difference between drivers in a4 330m in 3D Mark06 was 3500pts to 5800pts. learn to predict what will be and not what is pre releases.

February 12, 2013 | 02:46 AM - Posted by VZT (not verified)

Can any1 tell me, if there is a chance/place to buy the same exact laptop that was tested. Or in the worse case scenario the test laptop itself?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.