AMD Demos 17W Trinity Accelerated Processing Unit

AMD Shows Off Next-Generation ULV A-Series APU

by Anton Shilov
01/11/2012 | 07:30 PM

At the Consumer Electronics show, Advanced Micro Devices against demonstrated working sample of its next-generation code-named Trinity accelerated processing unit (APU). This time the company decided not only to show off a working chip, but specify that it has 17W thermal design power and is capable of a lot of things.


Up to now, AMD has demonstrated working Trinity-based notebooks for a number of times over the past six month, but at the CES the company decided to demo an ultra low-voltage version of the chip with 17W thermal design power and prove it can handle rather complex workloads. At CES, AMD demonstrated a laptop that played Dirt 3 video game in DirectX 11 mode one monitor and converted videos using Arcsoft MediaConverter on two other displays, a pretty tough task. Judging by a video posted by HotHardware web-site. the game did not run really smoothly, but still pretty fast.

It is unknown what exactly AMD demonstrated at CES since the company remained tight-lipped about configuration of 17W Trinity, hence, clock-speeds, number of x86 cores and number of Radeon stream processors is unknown. Still considering the fact that at present AMD cannot offer anything with 17W TDP, the forthcoming A-series ULV APU is a breakthrough for the company as it will allow it to address ultra-thin notebooks.

AMD’s second-generation code-named Trinity APU for mainstream personal computers (Comal for notebooks and Virgo for desktops) will be made using 32nm SOI HKMG process technology at Globalfoundries. The APU will feature up to four x86 cores powered by enhanced Bulldozer/Piledriver architecture, AMD Radeon HD 7000-series "Southern Islands" graphics core with DirectX 11-class graphics support, DDR3 memory controller and other improvements. The chips will be compatible with new FM2 infrastructure.

According to a slide that resembles those from AMD's presentations published by a web-site, AMD projects Trinity's Piledriver x86 cores to offer up to 20% higher performance compared to Husky x86 cores inside Llano. In addition, the newly-architected DirectX 11 graphics core will provide up to 30% higher speed in graphics applications, such as video games. The 20% speed improvement represents AMD's projections "using digital media workload" and actual performance advantage over currently available Fusion A-series "Llano" vary depending on the applications and usage models. It is unclear whether AMD used an early silicon (which it has at hands) for its projections or makes its predictions based on theoretical data. 

AMD expects the new Trinity APUs to be not only faster than Llano, but also more available because of improved yields as well as because increased number of 32nm SOI/HKMG wafer starts starting from the fourth quarters.