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Piledriver: Half Of The Trinity Story

AMD Trinity On The Desktop: A10, A8, And A6 Get Benchmarked!
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AMD is eager to deemphasize the importance of x86 performance, instead focusing on the potential of workloads accelerated by its powerful graphics architecture. The company willingly dubs its implementation “good enough,” pointing out that basic productivity-oriented workloads reliant on user input aren’t sped up at all by a faster CPU.

On the other side of the fence, synthetic benchmarks and diagnostics easily quantify the potential delta between architectures like Ivy Bridge and Bulldozer.

As with most debates, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Many (if not most) of the benchmarks in our suite measure the alacrity of x86 computing resources in a very real-world way. Others focus more intently on graphics performance. And we’re increasingly adding tests able to leverage what AMD calls heterogeneous computing—improving performance by drawing from multiple subsystems concurrently.

The point is that x86 cores are still first-class citizens in the APU world, and there is such a thing as performance that’s not good enough. That’s part of the reason why so many of us want to know how the Piledriver architecture improves upon Bulldozer. So let’s get that out of the way first.

We took the A10-5800K, set it to 3.8 GHz, turned off Turbo Core and any power-saving feature that’d spin the chip down. Then, we took FX-8150, overclocked it to 3.8 GHz, and disabled all of the same features. By running a single-threaded workload like iTunes, we could neutralize the difference in core count (though, if anything, FX could have benefited from its 8 MB L3). Nevertheless, Piledriver clearly completes our workload much faster, yielding a 15% improvement, per clock cycle, over Bulldozer.

Turning off two of FX-8150's Bulldozer modules gives us the opportunity to run a threaded workload like 3ds Max without slanting the result toward Bulldozer. And once again, the Piledriver-based APU wins by roughly 15%.

Ivy Bridge was only about 4% faster at a given clock rate than Sandy Bridge. So, while we’re fairly certain that a Piledriver-based FX wouldn’t overtake the newest Core i7s, it should be more competitive than today’s Bulldozer-based CPUs. Where does the speed-up come from? Doesn't appear to be cache latency; Sandra shows the same results for Bulldozer and Piledriver.

As far as its role in Trinity, the benchmarks will show that the Piledriver architecture generally outperforms Llano’s Stars design, particularly in applications that emphasize integer math. When you start taxing Piledriver’s shared floating-point resources, older Llano-based APUs still wind up delivering better performance, though generally by slim margins.

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Top Comments
  • 30 Hide
    Youngmind , June 14, 2012 4:38 AM
    This is so exciting! AMD is probably going to dominate the lower-end and give the poor gamers like me more bang-for-buck as their IGP get better and better :) !
  • 26 Hide
    Anonymous , June 14, 2012 4:54 AM
    Well, where are the Ivy/Sandy i5's and i3's???

    Once they are pitted against each other, that will be A TRUE measure of the APU Trinity's marketability
  • 22 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , June 14, 2012 4:26 AM
    Nice scoop, Chris!
Other Comments
  • 22 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , June 14, 2012 4:26 AM
    Nice scoop, Chris!
  • 30 Hide
    Youngmind , June 14, 2012 4:38 AM
    This is so exciting! AMD is probably going to dominate the lower-end and give the poor gamers like me more bang-for-buck as their IGP get better and better :) !
  • 21 Hide
    dudewitbow , June 14, 2012 4:42 AM
    depending on how its priced, its a really nice alternative for bare budget gaming that opens up a quad core as well
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , June 14, 2012 4:45 AM
    I can't WAIT for this, HAIL AMD!!!!
  • 12 Hide
    dudewitbow , June 14, 2012 4:53 AM
    JiggerByteSo this means that a 'Crossfired' Trinity APU would beat ANY similarly-priced Intel (CPU+discrete GPU) ???Well at least in gaming


    really the question is what gpus are able to hybrid crossfire with it. the information was never public. not all amd gpus will hybrid crossfire with it.
  • 26 Hide
    Anonymous , June 14, 2012 4:54 AM
    Well, where are the Ivy/Sandy i5's and i3's???

    Once they are pitted against each other, that will be A TRUE measure of the APU Trinity's marketability
  • 13 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , June 14, 2012 4:56 AM
    in the OpenCL Winzip benchmark, when openCL is enabled the workload is done only by the iGPU or the CPU as well ?

    i mean what is the processor usage during the benchmark ? are all CPU cores used? or only one?
  • 12 Hide
    cangelini , June 14, 2012 4:57 AM
    mayankleoboy1in the OpenCL Winzip benchmark, when openCL is enabled the workload is done only by the iGPU or the CPU as well ?i mean what is the processor usage during the benchmark ? are all CPU cores used? or only one?

    Good question--I'll take a look for you.
  • 13 Hide
    monkeymonk , June 14, 2012 5:00 AM
    This is awesome. Glad to hear pile driver is making improvements.
  • 6 Hide
    bawchicawawa , June 14, 2012 5:00 AM
    dudewitbowreally the question is what gpus are able to hybrid crossfire with it. the information was never public. not all amd gpus will hybrid crossfire with it.


    It was public... It will crossfire with up to the 7670, which is a rebranded 6670 from what i know, but with some slight improvements.

  • 10 Hide
    bawchicawawa , June 14, 2012 5:05 AM
    Next stop is to overclock and bench the a10-5800k with some nice 1866-2100 memory. Also some dual gpu action with these apu's.
  • 17 Hide
    Anonymous , June 14, 2012 5:06 AM
    Intel fanboy here but I'd really hope AMD catches up this time, coz once they fail, it'll be all over for us consumers, we can't afford Intel to dictate their ultra-ridiculous pricing scheme yet again, in these tough economic times, fewer and fewer people can afford a 200-dollar CPU, so, PLEASE AMD, don't fail us again
  • 8 Hide
    shin0bi272 , June 14, 2012 5:16 AM
    Randy WestWell, where are the Ivy/Sandy i5's and i3's???Once they are pitted against each other, that will be A TRUE measure of the APU Trinity's marketability


    Thats what I was wondering... every time you get an intel cpu review they always throw in an amd or two for comparison. Why didnt they do that here? Cant make an informed purchase if you compare 3 versions of the same car make and model when there are other makes and models out there to look at.

    Oh and Jill... amd only has 10% of the market even with the APU's out there. So if they fail intel only goes from 89-99% of the market... dont see them changing their pricing plans over that.
  • 12 Hide
    cangelini , June 14, 2012 5:18 AM
    bawchicawawaNext stop is to overclock and bench the a10-5800k with some nice 1866-2100 memory. Also some dual gpu action with these apu's.

    Dual Graphics is actually in there ;-)
  • 4 Hide
    bawchicawawa , June 14, 2012 5:19 AM
    shin0bi272Thats what I was wondering... every time you get an intel cpu review they always throw in an amd or two for comparison. Why didnt they do that here? Cant make an informed purchase if you compare 3 versions of the same car make and model when there are other makes and models out there to look at.


    Because this is an article of amd's apus. They've already done a comparison between trinity's igp's and intels 4000 series.
  • 15 Hide
    tonync_01 , June 14, 2012 5:37 AM
    Piledriver is looking good. I'm looking forward to the FX-8350.
  • 4 Hide
    esrever , June 14, 2012 5:48 AM
    Hope to see these in retail soon, I want to put together a budget box for general web surfing and HD video and I'd love a 65w trinity for it.
  • 19 Hide
    army_ant7 , June 14, 2012 5:56 AM
    I want to point out an observation. If in floating-point intensive applications, Trinity is negligibly worse than Llano, meaning they're pretty much the same. Doesn't that mean the 2 floating-points units (2 modules) of Piledriver are acting on par with the 4 (4 cores) of Llano?
    Anyone tell me if I'm wrong and why.

    EDIT: Oh wait, they're clocked higher, but not by that much, though it is substantial. I would think it's still a big architectural improvement.

    Also, I've noticed that in multiple articles, the writers are strapped for time. This isn't good though it could be understandable. Maybe TH should hire more "hands" or something?
    I'm not sure how we'll find out when that video mentioned of the comparison with the A8-3870K and the i3-2100/2105 would show up. Well, unless we constantly check back.

    Don't worry TH, you haven't lost me as a fan. It's just constructive feedback. I love you guys!
  • 15 Hide
    cangelini , June 14, 2012 6:09 AM
    army_ant7I want to point out an observation. If in floating-point intensive applications, Trinity is negligibly worse than Llano, meaning they're pretty much the same. Doesn't that mean the 2 floating-points units (2 modules) of Piledriver are acting on par with the 4 (4 cores) of Llano?Anyone tell me if I'm wrong and why.EDIT: Oh wait, they're clocked higher, but not by that much, though it is substantial. I would think it's still a big architectural improvement.Also, I've noticed that in multiple articles, the writers are strapped for time. This isn't good though it could be understandable. Maybe TH should hire more "hands" or something?I'm not sure how we'll find out when that video mentioned of the comparison with the A8-3870K and the i3-2100/2105 would show up. Well, unless we constantly check back.Don't worry TH, you haven't lost me as a fan. It's just constructive feedback. I love you guys!

    Don't worry--I'm working on the data right now. As it stood, this story took more than a week of all day/all night testing, troubleshooting, new BIOS installing, and re-testing to nail down. It can go on indefinitely if you let it ;-)
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