AMD's Trinity goes head to head with Intel's Ultrabooks

AMD has finally lifted the lid on its Trinity APUs, aiming to push into Intel’s Ultrabook market with its own “mainstream” devices.

The new Trinity processor moves on from the Bulldozer to Piledriver architecture, and will see AMD double the performance per watt of its previous generation Llano chips.

Crucially this means that the firm will now have 17 watt parts which can support a new generation of ultra light laptops, claiming up to 12 hours of battery life.   The first of these will be the recently announced HP device which will be AMD’s first response to Intel’s much hyped Ultrabook.

“We want to make sure that Trinity is taking the thin and light, making them mainstream and really opening it up to the masses,” AMD’s head of desktop and software marketing Sasa Marinkovic said at a recent launch.

AMD will be releasing the A-10 4655M and A-6 4455M processors aimed at its ultrathin range, clocked at 2.8GHz/2.0GHz and 2.6Ghz/2.1Ghz respectively.  

The quad core second generation APUs will also be available for traditional notebook form factors, with A6, A8 and A10 versions, with Acer, Toshiba, Lenovo and Samsung amongst those preparing to release devices.

Desktop processors will be also start shipping, though at a later date, with AMD also focusing on all-in-one form factors.

As usual AMD was keen to make noise about the superior graphics compared to rival Intel.
“When you are looking at the gaming experience, we were already running three times faster than Intel Sandy Bridge last year,” Marinkovic said.

“The fact that Ivy Bridge is fifty percent is faster, its still not playable.   Look at the 1080p gaming – you are going to be seeing a difference,” he said. 

However, central to AMD’s fightback against Intel is that graphics and the GPU are no longer only of interest to gamers.

The GPU is increasingly important for a variety of tasks which are performed by mainstream users, with browser rendering for example performed by the GPU.

“What people are doing is more multimedia, sharing photos, watching YouTube, playing games.  CPUs were built to run Excel faster, Word faster, PowerPoint faster,” Marinkovic said.  “That era of productivity is finished.”  

With this in mind, AMD has included features which aim to make video functions as easy as possible for mainstream users, alongside elements aimed at gamers such as Eyefinity availability without the need for a discrete graphics chip.  

This includes ‘Steady Video’ which automatically steadies film clips for those filming on smartphones, for example, or Quick Stream which prioritises video when downloading.