AMD Launches “Trinity” Chipset, Challenges Intel

AMD’s new processors include a GPU, making them hot hits for gaming, but also for ultrabooks and for Windows 8

AMD has launched the second generation of its A-Series Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) codenamed “Trinity” today.

These processors integrate a GPU alongside the CPU on a single chip, and will power a range of ultrabooks, notebooks, traditional desktops and embedded systems. In common with most new chip developments, these chips are aimed first at the gaming industry, where users will pay anything for better performance. However, they are already planned to move into the general computing field where they will also be competing against Intel’s successful Ivy Bridge chipset.

Bang for the buck

The Trinity APUs offer double the performance per watt of the previous generation AMD processors. While bringing power consumption down, they provide an increase in CPU performance of up to 29 percent, with higher processor speeds thanks to the next-generation “Piledriver” CPU core.

Less power consumption means up to 12 hours of battery life for laptops based on Trinity chips. AMD Turbo Core technology also helps portables last longer by dynamically shifting power between the CPU and GPU depending on application needs.

Trinity should appeal to gaming enthusiasts, as AMD promises an increase of graphics performance up to 56 percent over the previous generation chips, thanks to the assimilated Radeon HD 7000 Series. When Trinity is used in a desktop, a discrete graphics card can be added for a further performance boost.

The APUs include post-processing algorithms and optimisation for video on the web, and are capable of prioritising streaming and making jittery, bad quality videos more pleasant to the eye, AMD says.

“x264 is the world’s leading video encoding library, used in applications ranging from web video to broadcast television, cloud gaming, telemedicine, Blu-ray, and more,” said Jason Garrett-Glaser, lead developer of the x264 project. “AMD has been a great partner, working openly as part of the open source community to help enhance x264 with GPU capabilities using OpenCL.”

AMD has already won a record number of Trinity-based laptop designs with global OEMs. Users will find the new chips used in products by Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba. And the best thing about them, according to Chris Cloran, corporate vice president and general manager at AMD’s client business unit, is the “price points that make sense.”

Microsoft thinks the new chip is well-positioned to take advantage of the upcoming transition to the Windows 8 operating system. “We are excited for the introduction of the 2nd-Generation AMD A-Series APU and are confident it will continue the great work Microsoft and AMD have done together on the previous APU,” said Aidan Marcuss, senior director of Windows Business Planning at Microsoft.

“We look forward to seeing the A-Series APU in action with Windows 8 to deliver a great user experience across a variety of hardware,” he added.

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