As you know, it is the graphics subsystem that determines the performance of the entire platform equipped with pretty high-speed processors in the majority of contemporary games. Therefore, we do our best to make sure that the graphics card is not loaded too heavily during the test session: we select the most CPU-dependent tests and all tests are performed without antialiasing and in far not the highest screen resolutions. In other words, obtained results allow us to analyze not that much the fps rate that can be achieved in systems equipped with contemporary graphics accelerators, but rather how well contemporary processors can cope with gaming workload. Therefore, the results help us determine how the tested CPUs will behave in the nearest future, when new faster graphics card models will be widely available.
The picture here is dramatically different from what we saw in our previous test session, when we tested processors with their integrated graphics cores. With a discrete graphics card that doesn’t cap the power of the x86 cores Trinity doesn’t look so rosy any more. Of course, it does outperform Llano, just the way it should. However, it doesn’t bring it any closer to Intel Core i3, which run much faster under gaming load. You could object that we are testing Trinity in a non-typical usage scenario, and that they will primarily be used with activated integrated graphics, for which the x86 cores performance would be quite sufficient. But we disagree. AMD obviously anticipates that their new APU will also be used with discrete graphics. Otherwise, why would they roll out A85X chipset with CrossFireX support and add processor models with the GPU disabled on the hardware level to their product line-up?
All in all, as we can see, a Socket FM2 platform with a pretty fast discrete graphics accelerator is not such a good fit for a gaming system. And the main reason for that is the low performance of the Piledriver cores in games. However, I would also like to remind you that Trinity processors do not support PCI Express 3.0 bus.
In addition to our gaming tests we would also like to offer you the results of the Futuremark 3DMark11 benchmark (Performance profile):
Here the quad-core Trinity APU is very close to Llano, because 3DMark 11 uses floating-point calculations, and each Piledriver module has one shared block for calculations of this type. Therefore, we can’t expect it to be very fast: this defect was first present in Bulldozer, and Piledriver now has inherited it, too.