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Products And Platforms

AMD A10-4600M Review: Mobile Trinity Gets Tested

As it did with Llano, AMD is selling Trinity in mobile form first, and in desktops later. Because the APU is a  best-fit in the mobile space, this gives AMD an opportunity to show it off where it most belongs.

The laptop models require the new FS1r2 socket (or FP2 interface, for the low-voltage models), though this is going to be inconsequential for most notebook owners who don’t upgrade their processors. Unfortunately, an interface update is much more of a concern on the desktop, since Trinity requires a Socket FM2-based motherboard. Owners of Socket FM1 platforms must retire their boards after just a single generation. Ouch.

So far, we only have information on the first A6, A8, and A10 mobile models:

As you can see, the Trinity-based A8s and A10s are quad-core designs, while the A6s are dual-core implementations. This is both surprising and confusing, since Llano-based A6s come equipped with four cores.  

The A10 models sport graphics engines with 384 cores, while the A8s are armed with 256 shaders. The A6 either includes 256 or 192 shaders, depending on whether you’re looking at a standard 35 W model or the low-power 17 W APU.

 Speaking of low power, let’s talk about those LV and ULV APUs. At 25 W for the A10-4655M and 17 W for the A6-4455M, we expect to see both chips used in AMD’s new ”Ultrathin” initiative, which counters Intel’s Ultrabook and Apple’s MacBbook Air. AMD expects the first APU-powered Ultrathins to arrive from OEMs within a month or so, measuring between 18 and 22 mm thick.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any information on the Trinity-based desktop models. AMD tells us that when they land, there will be 65 and 100 W variants, and that CPU clock rates will range between 2.0 and 3.8 GHz, while graphics varies from 424 and 800 MHz. AMD also mentions an APU called the A10-5800K in its press material. So, it’s probably that that’s the flagship with a 100 W TDP, a 3.8 GHz core clock, and an 800 MHz GPU clock. The K designator indicates an unlocked multiplier, too.

Positioning and Pricing

The preceding chart shows what AMD suggests that notebooks armed with Trinity-based APUs will cost in North America. While it looks like AMD is being optimistic about competitive product positioning, based on processor performance, it may be underselling the potential of its graphics solution compared to Intel’s Sandy Bridge architecture (though this will change once Intel purges second-gen Core chips from the channel and starts shipping notebooks with third-gen Core i5s).

Dual Graphics

Dual Graphics, the ability to team an APU’s graphics core with a discrete GPU, is enabled on Trinity-based chips, as it was in the generation prior. AMD isn’t limiting interoperability to similar architectures; you can combine the APU’s VLIW4 design with add-in models based on the older VLIW5 implementation, including rebranded Radeon HD 7400 to 7600 GPUs.

Those aren’t the only possible Dual Graphics combinations—just the ones that AMD thinks make the most sense.

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