AMD Trinity On The Desktop: A10, A8, And A6 Get Benchmarked!

Turbo Core Finds Its Way Into APUs

Whereas AMD launched Llano with a limited number of SKUs, none of which were unlocked or equipped with Turbo Core functionality, all six of the Trinity-based APUs currently being discussed are equipped with Turbo Core, and three of them are unlocked.

Of course, because an APU contains x86 and graphics compute units, managing performance against thermal output requires communication between all of the chip's functional components. Each Piledriver module has its own power monitor, which reports to a manager in the on-die northbridge. The monitors keep tabs on power consumption in a deterministic fashion, based on the module’s activity. The GPU has a power monitor of its own, which also measures power use based on each compute unit’s activity.

Using data from those three monitors (on the four-core APUs), the northbridge integrates power over time. When consumption is less than TDP, active resources are able to run faster up to the available power headroom. As with FX, Turbo Core supports two levels of boosted P-states, which can be used to increase CPU frequency by any number of 100 MHz increments.

The behavior of Turbo Core is now being referred to as bi-directional, since data from multiple sources must be read as input before output (frequency control) can be applied. As a result, the APU operates at different clock rates depending on whether the workload is lightly threaded, heavily threaded, or GPU-intensive.  

It’s easiest to measure the effect of Turbo Core in a lightly-threaded application that leaves the most thermal headroom on the table. A run through our same iTunes conversion shows a 4% speed-up attributable to AMD’s third-gen Turbo Core technology.

Overclocking A10-5800K

Of course, there are going to be enthusiasts who, rather than allow Turbo Core to push performance modestly, wish to get more aggressive on their own.

AMD recognizes this, giving its K-series parts unlocked multiplier ratios for easier access to higher clock rates without affecting the frequency (and consequently, the stability) of other on-board subsystems. Because these APUs incorporate a graphics engine as well, though, that component's performance is also adjustable.

Despite the early status of our FM2-equipped motherboards, we managed to crank our A10-5800K up to 4.5 GHz using core voltage settings as high as 1.5 V. Windows would start to boot at 4.6 and 4.7 GHz, but never made it to the desktop before locking up. AMD says that, using a different platform, it's able to hit 4.8 GHz on air cooling. As we get closer to channel availability, we have to guess that platform vendors will better-optimize the overclocking headroom of K-series SKUs, particularly since there will be three of them at launch.

AMD also makes it a point to note that overclocking its x86 cores is far less effective than tuning the graphics engine. And while the Radeon HD 7660D on our -A10-5800K is set to operate at 800 MHz by default, it's running beyond 1 GHz in AMD's lab. Unfortunately, while our ASRock-based platform has a field for graphics overclocking, setting it higher currently doesn't seem to affect performance. We'll need to revisit overclocking later this year.

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  • Youngmind
    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 :)!
    31
  • Anonymous
    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
    25
  • mayankleoboy1
    Nice scoop, Chris!
    22
  • Other Comments
  • mayankleoboy1
    Nice scoop, Chris!
    22
  • Youngmind
    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 :)!
    31
  • dudewitbow
    depending on how its priced, its a really nice alternative for bare budget gaming that opens up a quad core as well
    21
  • Anonymous
    I can't WAIT for this, HAIL AMD!!!!
    5
  • Anonymous
    So this means that a 'Crossfired' Trinity APU would beat ANY similarly-priced Intel (CPU+discrete GPU) ???
    Well at least in gaming
    -10
  • dudewitbow
    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.
    12
  • Anonymous
    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
    25
  • mayankleoboy1
    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?
    13
  • cangelini
    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.
    12
  • monkeymonk
    This is awesome. Glad to hear pile driver is making improvements.
    13
  • bawchicawawa
    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.
    6
  • bawchicawawa
    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.
    10
  • Anonymous
    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
    17
  • shin0bi272
    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.
    8
  • cangelini
    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 ;-)
    12
  • bawchicawawa
    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.
    4
  • tonync_01
    Piledriver is looking good. I'm looking forward to the FX-8350.
    15
  • esrever
    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.
    4
  • army_ant7
    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!
    19
  • cangelini
    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 ;-)
    15