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Enhanced energy efficiency, a decent CPU gain and big improvement on the graphics front: no, we're not talking about Ivy Bridge, we're talking about AMD's second-generation A-Series Fusion APU, Trinity. And why are we talking about Trinity APUs, you ask? Because they officially launched today, that's why. Well, kinda -- only laptop and "ultrathin notebook" Trinity APUs are hitting the streets any time soon.
Trinity APUs are still based on a 32nm manufacturing process, shoving roughly 10 percent more transistors on a die that's slightly larger than Llano's. The CPU uses AMD's new "power-optimized" Piledriver core -- the follow-up to Bulldozer -- and beats Llano's CPU performance by up to 29 percent, by AMD's numbers, while the integrated Radeon 7000 series GPUs offer "an increase in graphics performance of up to 56% over the previous generation." Trinity also brings native Eyefinity support.
The AMD-supplied chart above shows how the top-of-the-line quad-core A10-4600M Trinity APU stacks up against Intel's i5-2520M performance-wise. It's pretty good, as you can see, but it would be more impressive if the new Trinity proc was compared against an Ivy Bridge chip rather than a Sandy Bridge variant.
Power efficiency is a big deal for this round of updates, with AMD claiming that Trinity sports "Double the performance per watt of the previous generation" and up to 12 hours of battery life in notebook variants. The ultrathin APUs clock in at 17W for a dual-core chip and 25W for a quad-core chip, while the mainstream notebook chips hit 35W. The chart above shows how long the top-end A10-4600M lasts while performing various tasks, compared against an Intel i5-2410M. Not too shabby, as you can see, although once again, we would've preferred to see a comparison against an Ivy Bridge chip.
Unfortunately, desktop and component channel Trinity chips won't be available until the somewhat nebulous "later in the year." For now, AMD's teased us with the slide above, which compares the 100W A10-5800K against Intel's i7-3770K. (Finally, an Ivy Bridge comparison!) As you can see, AMD claims Trinity's Radeon-powered graphics pretty handily trounces Intel's HD 4000 graphics; the advantage looks to be anywhere from 20 to 50 percent. Of course, we won't know if that's accurate without testing out Trinity's desktop variants for ourselves, but it whets our taste for more.
For more info, check out AMD's press release and press deck slideshow. So whaddaya think: was Trinity worth the wait? It looks like a solid improvement over Llano, but is it an attractive counterpart to Intel's Ivy Bridge chips?