AMD A10-4600M Review: Mobile Trinity Gets Tested

Test Setup And Benchmarks

We’re keeping the focus on mobility for this launch, with three products to compare. AMD provided us with a laptop equipped with its top-of-the-line A10-4600M APU, a product we’re told will cost somewhere around $600 when it’s made publicly-available (although the company’s press deck indicates a price point closer to $700).  

With similarly-priced Ivy Bridge-equipped notebooks not yet available for testing, we turned to existing products for comparison. We picked a laptop armed with a Core i5-2450M to represent Intel’s comparable effort. And although prices range from $550 to just over $1000 for laptops equipped with this same CPU, most fall in the $660 to $900 range.

To see how Trinity compares to its predecessor, we added a machine equipped with an A8-3500M to the mix. As an added bonus, this laptop is equipped with Dual Graphics, so we were also able to benchmark a discrete Radeon 6630M for comparison in some cases.

AMD’s Trinity test bed came equipped with a 128 GB SSD and two 2 GB sticks of 1600 MT/s DDR3 memory. We’re not convinced that you’d ever find an expensive SSD in a $700 laptop. So, to keep things fair, we used the same SSD and memory in all three platforms. Surprisingly, the Llano-based A8-3500M-equipped system was unwilling to run the memory at 1600 MT/s, instead forcing it to run at 1333 MT/s with lower latencies. With no BIOS options available to manually configure data rates, we were forced to keep it at this speed for our tests.

The most popular laptop resolution for models in this price range is 1366x768, but we’ll benchmark at 1280x800 because it pushes almost exactly the same number of pixels and has better external monitor support. There are fewer (but still a significant) models available shipping at 1600x900, so we’ll test that resolution as well. Finally, we’ll add 1024x600 to the mix. Before you cringe at the thought of gaming at such meager dimensions, consider that  a 27” monitor at 1080p results in about 80 DPI. Setting 1024x600 on a 15” screen results in 85 DPI—higher pixel density.


AMD Llano A8-3500M
Test System
AMD Trinity A10-4600M
Test System
Intel Core i5-2450M
Test System
CPU

AMD A8-3500M (Llano)
Quad-Core, 4 MB L2
1.5 GHz (2.4 GHz Max Turbo)

AMD A10-4600M (Trinity)
Quad-Core, 4 MB L2
2.3 GHz (3.2 GHz Max Turbo)


Intel Core i5-2450M (Sandy Bridge)
Dual-Core, Hyper-Threading enabled, 3 MB L3
2.5 GHz (3.1 GHz Max Turbo)


Motherboard

Compal PCL10
Chipset: AMD A70
Fusion Controller Hub
With USB 3.0 Support

AMD Trinity Comal FF Platform
Chipset: AMD A70M

HP 1695
Chipset: Intel HM65
Networking
Onboard Gigabit LAN controller
Memory

4 GB DDR3 1346 MHz
2 x 2 GB, CL 9-9-9-23-1T
Micron MT8KTF25664HZ-1G6M1

4 GB DDR3 1600 MHz
  2 x 2 GB, CL 11-11-11-28-1T
Micron MT8KTF25664HZ-1G6M1

Graphics

Radeon HD 6620G (integrated)
444 MHz GPU, Shared DDR3 at 667 MHz
Radeon HD 6630M
444 MHz GPU, Shared DDR3 at 667 MHz

Radeon HD 7660G (integrated)
444 MHz GPU, 1 GB DDR3 at 667 MHz

Intel HD Graphics 3000
(integrated) 650 MHz GPU,
Shared DDR3 at 667 MHz

Hard Drive

Samsung SSD 830 Series
128 GB

Software and Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 x6, Service Pack 1
DirectX versionDirectX 11
Graphics Drivers

Intel Core i5-2520M Test System:Intel Graphics Driver 15.26.8.64.2696
AMD Llano A8-3500M Test System: AMD Catalyst 12.4 Mobility BETA
AMD Trinity A10-4600M Test System: 8.945-120328a-136239E BETA

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Metro 2033
Version 1.0.0.1, DirectX 9,benchmark tool, Low Detail,
No AA, 4x AF, advanced physX disabled, tessellation disabled, DOF disabled
Crysis 2
Adrenaline benchmark tool, lowest settings
DiRT 3
V1.01, Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml
The Elder Scrolls
V: Skyrim
Update 1.4.27, Celedon Aethirborn Level 6, 25 Seconds Fraps
Audio Benchmarks and Settings
iTunesVersion 10.4.1.10 x64: Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes, default AAC format 
Lame MP3Version 3.98.3: Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
Video Benchmarks and Settings
HandBrake CLIVersion 0.95: "Big Buck Bunny" (720x480, 23.972 FPS) 5 Minutes, Audio: Dolby Digital, 48 000 Hz, Six-Channel, English, to Video: AVC Audio: AC3 Audio2: AAC (High Profile)
Cyberlink MediaEspresso
Version: 6.5
Arcsoft MediaConverter
Version: 7.5
Application Benchmarks and Settings
WinRARVersion 4.1: THG-Workload (650 MB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
WinZip
Version 16.5: THG-Workload (650 MB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
7-Zip
Version 9.22: THG-Workload (650 MB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
Autodesk 3ds Max 2012
Version 12.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
Cinebench
Version 11.5 Build CB25720DEMO
CPU and OpenGL tests
Adobe Photoshop
CS 6 (64-Bit)
Version CS6 x64: Filter 15.7MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
ABBYY FinereaderVersion 10.0.102.82: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
PCMark 7Version: 1.0.4, Benchmark Only
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.3.0, Benchmark Only
3DMark Vantage
Version 1.0.2, Benchmark Only
SiSoftware Sandra 2012Version: 2012.06.18.47
Processor Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cryptography, Memory Bandwith, GPGPU/GPCPU Processing
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    Top Comments
  • cleeve
    duckwithnukesWhere is the Intel HD 4000 vs. AMD Trinity comparison? Lazy reviewing at its finest.


    A10-4600M laptops will be int eh $600-$700 neighborhood, and we're still waiting for Ivy bridge Core i5 to arrive in this price range.

    We go over this. We also talk about how we'll do a follow up as soon as an appropriate product is available.

    You need to read for it to make sense.
    41
  • fazers_on_stun
    ^ ^ Anandtech reviewed the A10-4660M with its HD7660G igp vs. the i7-3720QM with its HD4K igp and over a total of 15 games, the 7660G averaged 20% faster than the HD4K. Against the Llano 6620G igp, it was just short of 20% faster. Against the HD3K (Sandy Bridge igp), it was a whopping 80% faster. So, the conclusion is that if you want mobile gaming on a budget laptop, Trinity is the way to go...
    34
  • JAYDEEJOHN
    Hope its only the beginning of much more
    32
  • Other Comments
  • JAYDEEJOHN
    Hope its only the beginning of much more
    32
  • Anonymous
    Recently Charlie at semiaccurate (a massive amd fanboy) hinting an upcoming apple products, then I saw an article in thg that tells an upcoming mbp will using retina display... 15 inch retina will require huge gpu horsepower, my wild guess is mbp will use trinity as it's CPU.
    -17
  • Anonymous
    Based on this, gaming is much better than old i5, but everything else including application performance is still better on the old Sandy architecture. I'm not really sure why I would buy a Trinity other than for a casual gaming laptop. Unfortunately, budget says that my laptops have to be used for business first, play time later.
    -4
  • beenthere
    Nice to see that Trinity and AMD have delivered the goods. I want a Trinity powered Ultrathin. Intel can stick their crap where the Sun don't shine.

    BTW, Charlie @ SemiAccurate is not an AMD fanbois IME. He just calls it like it is. Reality bites sometimes be it Nvidia, AMD or Intel's problems. Denial never changes reality. It is what it is.
    8
  • cleeve
    duckwithnukesWhere is the Intel HD 4000 vs. AMD Trinity comparison? Lazy reviewing at its finest.


    A10-4600M laptops will be int eh $600-$700 neighborhood, and we're still waiting for Ivy bridge Core i5 to arrive in this price range.

    We go over this. We also talk about how we'll do a follow up as soon as an appropriate product is available.

    You need to read for it to make sense.
    41
  • Anonymous
    FlippyFlap, Apple doesn't use AMD and an HD4000 can power a retina display. I'm sure Apple has worked with Intel engineers to get the drivers right for retina displays which is HD4000's problem. HD4000 is still lacking in terms of driver support (one can see that from the OpenCL benches around the net where only 1/2 get acclerated on HD4000). When the drivers work right, there isn't much difference between Ivy and Trinity.
    -2
  • Anonymous
    I agree with Cleeve and I personally hate comparing a reference system to a selling system anyway. Review 2 actual selling systems with similar parts and that gives you the benchmark.
    12
  • DRosencraft
    This looks like a very nice effort from AMD. I really, really need to replace my notebook. It's a six year old Toshiba Satelite with an AMD 1.9 GHz Turion 64 X2 with intergrated X2100 graphics.... yeah. Ancient now, I know. I've been trying to figure out a sweet spot in power since my needs are kind of complex. Typically I don't need it to do much more than handle MSOffice and web surfing. But I also tend to use it for video gaming when am interesting game comes around and some work in PaintShop when I'm out of the house, or don't feel like sitting at my desktop. This may be a little closer to what I'd like. It would be nice to get a notebook that combines this with a really good discrete card (sort of like how some MacBook Pros have their dual graphics setup). Nevertheless, Trinity looks to be just about enough power and performance, but the question is price. If tradition holds, it should be a good price competitor with Intel, which is the most important part, otherwise I'd just buy a core I7 already.

    In a related question, does Trinity's details and specs lead to any conclusions about what Piledriver desktop processors will be like?
    15
  • neoverdugo
    So this means that AMD can kick Intel's ass in the gpu department for the moment while AMD suffers greatly in the CPU portion of the apu battle. Didn't I said before that Intel is trying to make an (proprietary) Intel only PC with no third party strings attached? We all know that there is no competition in the CPU battle when it comes to Intel. Still, i would like to see that the morons of intel to drop the price of their hardware for once and for all and drop ridiculously low end hardware out of production.
    -7
  • dgingeri
    No WoW benchmarks this time? I was wondering if this might make a good laptop for WoW, but you guys failed me. :(
    2
  • fazers_on_stun
    ^ ^ Anandtech reviewed the A10-4660M with its HD7660G igp vs. the i7-3720QM with its HD4K igp and over a total of 15 games, the 7660G averaged 20% faster than the HD4K. Against the Llano 6620G igp, it was just short of 20% faster. Against the HD3K (Sandy Bridge igp), it was a whopping 80% faster. So, the conclusion is that if you want mobile gaming on a budget laptop, Trinity is the way to go...
    34
  • blazorthon
    AMD is stuck with~1333MT/s for this, so they get screwed over in the reviews because they are stuck with lower frequency RAM... Hopefully, this problem will be fixed and they will be able to use 1600MT/s and 1866MT/s with the notebooks that hit the markets. Honestly, I'm a little under-whelmed by Trinity... I was hoping for more. Granted, it is on the same process, so that it is significantly faster and uses less power than it's predecessor that uses the same process is a pretty substantial gain, but still... I was expecting a little more. It might just be the memory frequency problem.
    4
  • Anonymous
    neoverdugo

    just a side note, what you described is not an apu, it's a cpu with on die gfx. AMD's apu have not hit their full stride yet, once we have mature implementation of gpu assisted processing (opencl directcl et al) then the disparity may become significantly less, AMD strategy was always to leverage the massive computing power of the gfx core to bolster cpu performance in areas other than gaming unfortunately there was a fragmentation of the market with competing standards, once all that mess gets sorted out AMD can really flex the power of the apu
    11
  • cleeve
    Anonymous said:
    AMD is stuck with~1333MT/s for this, so they get screwed over in the reviews because they are stuck with lower frequency RAM...


    Hey Blaze:

    Llano's BIOS was uncooperative and limited the memory to 1333, but Trinity was benched at 1600 MHz. :)

    - Cleeve
    12
  • Wisecracker
    CleeveA10-4600M laptops will be int eh $600-$700 neighborhood, and we're still waiting for Ivy bridge Core i5 to arrive in this price range.We go over this. We also talk about how we'll do a follow up as soon as an appropriate product is available.You need to read for it to make sense.


    I hope you are wrong :)

    A10-4600M laptops in $600-$700 neighborhood in dual graphics with a Radeon HD 7670M, please.
    12
  • Anonymous
    Actually just A10 get the 7660G igp, the rest of the line get reduced version like A8 with 7640G while all the ivy mobile version equipped with HD 4000. A review on computerbase.de shows that HD 4000 totally outperform 7640G. So if you want mobile gaming on amd laptop, A10 is the only way to go.
    -8
  • CaedenV
    So with HD3000 being ~1/2 the GPU horse power of Trinity, and HD4000 being ~2x as powerful as HD3000 I guess that Intel will be slightly behind Trinity on gaming, while still holding the crown for all other performance metrics. All that is left to be seen is what kind of premium you will have to pay for the new IB laptops compared to the Trinity ones. Can't wait to see a review of both platforms in a head-to-head competition! I'm still an Intel fan boy at heart, but I would love nothing more than for AMD to give Intel a run for their money again :)

    @Flap
    It is not hard to push high resolution displays for most things. People have been using extremely old Matrox GPUs (g450 and g550) to do 4 high res monitors for ~10 years now with no issues. the problem comes when you want to game on that high resolution screen, and honestly neither side has a good solution for that yet. But at the same time, Macs are really not made with games in mind (other than web content which I am sure both Trinity and HD4000 would be more than capable of displaying).

    @article
    AMD is absolutely right; there are uses of a product that cannot be measured by benchmarks. However, the more interesting thing to me is what we are seeing in the desktop game benchmarks, that is slowly reaching into other areas of processing (and what we have seen in media playback benchmarks for years... or rather why we no longer have media playback benchmarks), where there is a level of speed impracticality.
    For gaming on a 60FPS monitor, it no longer matters if you are running 61+FPS because you simply do not see it, and anything above 30FPS is generally considered 'acceptable'.
    For office work on an SSD it does not matter if it takes your computer .5sec to open Word on a 5 year old PC, or .2sec on a new PC because there is simply no time for the human mind to react so quickly to move from the mouse to the keyboard and start typing. And anything slower than an SSD will rely on the bottleneck of the HDD anyways, making the CPU a moot point.
    The same goes for browsing the web where your internet speed is so slow (even on 'fast' internet connections) that there is no practical/perceivable difference between running an old system vs a brand spanking new system (much less AMD vs Intel).
    Media playback is another area where so long as you reach the requisite 12-30fps (depending on the source material) it does not matter if you are running on an Atom, or a high end duel 2011 platform. there is simply no difference so long as you reach a specific threshold of 'good enough' for the specific application
    For larger projects of video editing, 3D design, mass data compression, etc. There is still a need for benchmarks, but the markets that need these high demand applications for everyday use are willing to shell out the money for whatever is fastest because the lost productivity time is much more expensive than the hardware investment (and 'the fastest' hardware is not expensive like it use to be for end-user workstations).
    The point is that we need to find a new way to benchmark that looks at threshold requirements like we do with gaming benchmarks where there is a threshold of usefulness, and a threshold of imperceptible performance gains, and then finding a way to compare the relative usefulness of 'unbenchmarkable' feature sets (Like the value of CUDA vs Direct Compute, hardware based acceleration for specific software titles, and proprietary features such as Intel's Lightpeak/Thunderbolt technology). I think it means an evolution of doing hardware-centric benchmarks to more use-centric benchmarks, and even specific title benchmarks.
    As an example: What does it look like to use Adobe premiere on an AMD or Intel platform of similar cost? What features are available on one platform over the other? What performance gains are made by adding an SSD/RAID or dedicated GPU to the system? And which platforms use these additions most effectively? What types of tasks run better or worse on each platform (Is one better at specific filters than others? Is one better for production use while the other is better at exporting a final product?)?
    We are getting to a point where what matters more is the feature set/limitations of the motherboard and platform, than the speed of any individual component on the platform when it comes to the final experience of the end user. There is still a need for specific part reviews, but AMD is right; the individual parts many times do not paint an accurate picture for the speed or usefulness of a platform, and it is a trend that will only become more pronounced with time.
    11
  • blazorthon
    CleeveHey Blaze:Llano's BIOS was uncooperative and limited the memory to 1333, but Trinity was benched at 1600 MHz. - Cleeve


    Well, that's even worse. Trinity just doesn't seem like a good enough leap over Llano.
    -9
  • blazorthon
    The noobActually just A10 get the 7660G igp, the rest of the line get reduced version like A8 with 7640G while all the ivy mobile version equipped with HD 4000. A review on computerbase.de shows that HD 4000 totally outperform 7640G. So if you want mobile gaming on amd laptop, A10 is the only way to go.


    Intel's graphics gets weaker on lower end models... For example, the HD 3000 on the i7s is FAR faster than the HD 3000 on the i3s and is considerably faster than the HD 3000 on the i5s (although even within each family, there can be differences, all of this is because although they have the same graphics hardware, the clock frequency of the IGP differs). The same is probably true for the HD 4000. The cheaper i5s and i3s will probably have weaker graphics performance than the top i5s and the i7s do.
    8
  • deanjo
    Quote:
    and the x264 front-end HandBrake are all able to take advantage of AMD’s programmable shader hardware and fixed-function VCE logic for accelerated video transcoding.


    Ummm, no it can't. Handbrake is 100% cpu.
    0