The New Turbo Core
In a workload using more than one CPU core, the boost frequency is reduced to 2.7GHz. Finally in a 3D heavy application the CPU frequency goes down to the stock 2.3GHz, while the GPU gets clocked up to 685MHz (up from 496MHz). It appears that GPU boost and CPU boost are exclusive, but this needs to be verified in independent tests.
Earlier we mentioned that AMD disclosed a 56% performance increase in 3D Mark Vantage for the 4600M over the 3500M. The former uses the Radeon 7660G, while the latter has the part called Radeon 6620G. Looking at our spec sheet a few paragraphs up, it becomes evident, that this performance increase doesn't come from either shaders or texture units. The big difference maker here is the GPU Turbo. As AMD detailed on the Turbo slide, when running graphically intensive workloads the GPU clocks up to 685MHz. That's a 54.3% clock speed difference compared to the Llano model it is compared to. The remaining 2% can be attributed to efficiency improvements of the VLIW4 architecture and possibly the higher CPU speed.
This brings us to the interesting part of this preview - performance projections. Trinity seems to scale almost linearly compared to Llano in 3D performance. Of course memory speed has to be taken into account, as Llano's GPU performance scaled nicely with faster memory. As things look, Trinity will be no different. We expect to see 3DMark Vantage scores of around 5550 to 5750 and 3DMark 11 scores of 1400 to 1490. This is for the maxed desktop SKU having a GPU clock of 800MHz (assuming it won't be able to boost GPU clocks even further) and a memory speed of DDR3-1600. This is up ~33% from Llano. One the notebook side of things the gains will be more in the 50% range due to GPU turbo. The same should be true for 65W models on the desktop.AMD promises a "Premium High-Resolution Display Experience". Can it deliver on that promise?
Real world game performance may vary, as different engines behave differently given certain GPU characteristics. This needs to be evaluated by reviewers in different settings. Even though it packs quite some punch, Trinity won't bring Full HD gaming to APUs. Some less demanding games might run decently smooth on Trinity in 1080p, but the vast majority still needs to be played at 1280x720. Some games might afford 1680x1050, which is popular among budget gamers. At least in 720p Trinity should allow to experience the games in their full DX11 glory.
We indicated earlier that the launch on Tuesday focuses on mobile SKUs only. For the desktop Trinity should emerge only in the third quarter, with the public announcement on Computex. As a huge chunk of the market for APUs is notebooks, this is a sensible approach. Also it should give Intel's Ivy Bridge a run for its money. AMD directly targets to compete with Intel's 17W Ultrabook SKUs and big OEMs like HP already announced very sleek designs based on Trinity. AMD wants to move these ultrathins (they are not allowed to use the Ultrabook moniker, as Intel trademarked it) more towards the mainstream price band, which AMD considers to span from $400 to $700
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