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  (Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC)
Chips have been shipping to OEMs since last quarter

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) is playing the timing game very well.  While NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) ultimately outdid it in performance, AMD arrived first to market and capitalized by months of unchallenged domination.  Likewise in the ultra-mobile ("ultrabooks", "ultrathins", or whatever silly moniker you choose to throw at them) category, AMD is getting the jump on rival Intel Corp. (INTC) timing wise.

Intel's ultrabook charge will be led by Ivy Bridge, but OEMs aren't expected to ship those ultrabooks until June.  By contrast, AMD reported today that it has been shipping OEMs Brazos 2.0 and Trinity accelerated processing units.  Phil Hughes, AMD's senior PR manager writes:

Stay tuned: “Trinity” and “Brazos 2.0” systems will be available globally soon!

Prices on OEM partners' sweet Trinity-packing ultrathins are expected to be under $500 USD, versus the $800 to $1,000 USD most Ivy Bridge ultrabooks will cost.

This means that AMD will likely enjoy two months of unchallenged system-on-a-chip dominance.  If the new chips are anything like the last generation, they will fall well below the price of Intel's current offerings Sandy Bridge, while offering superior integrated graphics.

Trinity in the wild
Picture top to bottom: BrazosTrinity (middle),
Tahiti (whom Trinity's on-die GPU is partially derived from)

The new chips will pack a graphics core that blends elements of the Radeon 6000 and 7000 series, for much improved DirectX 11 performance.  At the same time Brazos 2.0 packs more powerful enhanced Bobcat cores, while the Llano replacementTrinity, packs Piledriver cores -- an improved version of the Bulldozer core.

It would not be surprising to see Ivy Bridge best Trinity on a graphics front and the power efficiency front as well, but AMD may yet stay competitive on a pricing basis.  In the meantime, it can enjoy a couple months of dominance.

Intel's approach still feels like something is missing.  There's a high-end chip (Sandy BridgeIvy Bridge) and a low-end chip (Atom), but no mid-range chip.  By contrast AMD delivers a low-to-mid end chip (Brazos 2.0) and a solid mid-range chip (Trinity).  Pricing wise and performance wise, AMD is targeting the middle -- a sweet spot Intel has thus far been neglecting.

The millions of APUs sold in 2011 speak to the wisdom of this approach and have been the salvation of AMD amid slumping server/desktop CPU sales.

Source: AMD

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By digigator on 4/20/2012 7:36:37 PM , Rating: 5
It would not be surprising to see Ivy Bridge best Trinity on a graphics front

Yes it would be, it would be very surprising, that should be the one sure thing Trinity's got

RE: yes
By StevoLincolnite on 4/20/2012 7:41:02 PM , Rating: 5
Even if Ivy Bridge had a faster IGP... I still wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.
People complain that AMD's drivers are horrible, I doubt they have seen Intel's.

For example it took Intel a good year or so just to enable TnL on the x3100 and even then it's performance was erratic at best. - Direct X 10 games were unplayable, Direct X 9 games were slow and even ancient Direct X 7 games were as slow as more modern Direct x 9 games.

Or how Intel got a 3rd party (imgtech) to handle the GMA500 drivers which were buggy.

Heck... Intel have a game compatibility page on their website for their IGP's, that just shows they aren't up to snuff just yet.

It's great they are taking some good steps in improving the performance and compatibility situation though, and it is allot better than it used to be, but allot more still needs to be done before I drop my "Intel Decelerator" Mantra.

RE: yes
By someguy123 on 4/20/2012 10:21:53 PM , Rating: 2
Outside of the HD gpus that came with SB and up, intel's gpus have still been pretty terrible. On the other hand, they are free, and a few devs seem to be working with them to fix their awful drivers. If they fix their gpu they could really open up the market considering they have massive marketshare.

RE: yes
By lucyfek on 4/21/2012 11:14:26 AM , Rating: 1
I don't see much problems with drivers (besides random stability issues on Windows XP - could be as much specific implementation by laptop maker or just that nobody cared about legacy platform the system had not been really designed for).
Performance is another story - everything seems to work (including flash videos etc) but even during windows 7 login the background transitions would tear and scrolling through some pdf, in-design and some other graphics files was so bad we needed to provide external video cards to the team that does that kind of work (seemingly easy on graphics, no 3D).
Plus after switch to intel HD (still under windows xp) bunch of user complained on graphics quality (laptop or external screen) - it was just so obvious on clear type fonts that you could not deny it (washed out/purple edges, turning off CT would not fix the issue completely, vga or dvi didn't matter). Hard to say whether this issue was resolved under 7 as either everyone got used to it by now (with ensuing headaches) to notice much of difference after upgrade to 7.

RE: yes
By Mitch101 on 4/21/2012 11:22:17 AM , Rating: 2
Most people dont play games especially high end games so if it provides video and plays the occasional movie no one cares whats inside.

RE: yes
By StevoLincolnite on 4/21/2012 1:19:48 PM , Rating: 3
Most people dont play games especially high end games so if it provides video and plays the occasional movie no one cares whats inside.

That used to be true.
But even decent basic graphics can go a long way.
These days casual games are getting more and more graphical, hell allot of people are addicted to those facebook games.

Even so, the GPU does handle more than just games these days, web browsers use them, flash video uses them, windows GUI uses it, as time has progressed the GPU has accelerated more and more, so it makes sense to go with a GPU that will be well supported for years to come.

RE: yes
By swizeus on 4/21/2012 2:45:08 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I just bought DSLR which can record AVCHD 1920x1080 and when I playbacked in intel's HD Graphics on laptop's Core i3, there is this green line everywhere. When I copied the file to my desktop which use nVidia GTS450, it plays fine (This of course using the same codec installation, in the same windows version and no tweaking whatsoever on anything) . I don't care about what's inside and I'm really happy that it is free and fast because it access central memory along with processor, but when it can't display a Full HD Movie starting to think about getting AMD's lineup

RE: yes
By someguy123 on 4/21/2012 4:48:17 PM , Rating: 2
Right...draw problems and random graphical errors are driver issues. The performance is alright in things where drivers are working properly, like some games, but there are random bugs causing visual errors every now and then, and compatibility issues with many games. The hardware seems to be capable, but the software isn't there yet.

RE: yes
By StevoLincolnite on 4/22/2012 3:11:58 AM , Rating: 2
On the other hand, they are free, and a few devs seem to be working with them to fix their awful drivers.

That's not really saying much, AMD's IGP's are free too.

Hell who are we kidding, the IGP's these days are integrated into the CPU, which takes up transistor space, power and bandwidth, that does cost the consumer. - One thing that a company hates is loosing on profit margins.

RE: yes
By Warren21 on 4/20/2012 7:57:51 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, where is JMick pulling this info from? Even with a boost to SNB's performance in the new generation of Intel HD in IVB, it will not be enough to catch the VLIW4 "Radeon 7000" arch of Trinity. It will improve greatly upon Llano which is even faster than SNB as it is -- it's not as if AMD is sitting still while Intel improves its IGPs.

I know I will be buying a Trinity A-series ultrathin over a $900+ CAD "Ultrabook". The ability to play a game or two on medium settings at decent framerates is too attractive to pass up.

RE: yes
By Assimilator87 on 4/21/2012 4:17:01 PM , Rating: 2
Hey Jason, in Anand's Ivy Bridge preview, benchmarks showed Llano beating the HD 4000, so there's absolutely no way Trinity could be bested.

RE: yes
By smitty3268 on 4/23/2012 9:48:08 PM , Rating: 2
I'd be mildly surprised if Ivy Bridge beats out Llano, so beating Trinity would be a huge shock. As surprising as it would be to find out that Ivy Bridge's CPU performance was lower than Trinity.

Sub $500...
By Operandi on 4/20/12, Rating: 0
RE: Sub $500...
By epobirs on 4/20/2012 8:24:26 PM , Rating: 5
AMD just makes the chips. You need to talk to the likes of HP, ACER, etc. about what goes around those chips.

RE: Sub $500...
By chµck on 4/20/2012 9:59:53 PM , Rating: 4
HP, ACER, etc. all just buy reference designs. You need to talk to the likes of Quanta, Compal, etc. about what goes around those computers.

RE: Sub $500...
By Operandi on 4/21/12, Rating: -1
RE: Sub $500...
By Mitch101 on 4/21/2012 11:41:48 AM , Rating: 2
Great sub $500.00 laptops are out there Im amazed when people think you cant make a solid laptop for under $500.00

My $300.00 Walmart Acer laptop has outlived two Lenovo laptops my employer has provided and is every bit as fast as them today. Thats no fluke my co workers have all had dead drives, cooling fans, backlit issues all lenovos and these are supposed to be business class machines.

While it may have a cheaper feel and a bit of weight/size to it I prefer to use it over the lenovo. Im currently looking for a SSD to replace the internal hard drive and making the Hard drive a backup and storage drive. I did invest $18.00 into making it 4 gig from 3 gig and a 120gig SSD would breathe new life into it making it a rocket for what I do on a daily basis.

Not long ago I sent my friend a link of a $380 laptop with an internal blu-ray drive and HDMI connection. It already had 4 gigs of ram I would add an SSD and use the internal drive as a backup/extra storage just like Im going to do above. I believe it also had a USB 3.0 port.

Remember most laptops have a 1366x768 resolution so the graphics chips dont need to be the top end chips to play games on them if you wanted to.

RE: Sub $500...
By StevoLincolnite on 4/21/2012 1:23:02 PM , Rating: 2
Nothing wrong with $300 AMD laptops. :)

Bought my oldies one, all they do is play minecraft and facebook.
Minecraft will run on even a sun dial. So why waste more than you need to?

RE: Sub $500...
By Alexvrb on 4/22/2012 12:27:02 AM , Rating: 2
Actually Minecraft is written in Java, so it's pretty power hungry for how simple the graphics are. Also chews up way more memory (between MC and the VM) than it has any right to - again, Java. Run it on an older laptop with oldschool Intel GMA and it runs like crap. If you're running Intel you need at least HD2000 and two fairly strong cores for a good framerate with all the settings turned up.

The reason it runs so well on cheap AMD laptops is better integrated graphics and better drivers. It even is tolerable on a lowly AMD C-60 thanks to turbo core (which C-50 lacked), E-350 and up should have no problems either.

I will say that there are ways to boost Minecraft's performance tremendously on slower machines. Unfortunetely, that involves relying on third party modifications (Optifine, et al), which every update seems to break until the modders catch up. I have no idea why Mojang doesn't implement some of these changes in official releases, it really boosts performance on slower systems.

RE: Sub $500...
By Mint on 4/22/2012 11:20:34 AM , Rating: 2
I still want a good display, and you'd think that at least one manufacturer would stand out from the pack by charging $50 more for a high quality TN at the very least over the 200:1 contrast garbage we see now.

Give me a 3.5lb Trinity with a high contrast display and I would pay $700 for it if I didn't already give up waiting for a good display+GPU a year ago and purchase an Acer 3820TG.

RE: Sub $500...
By Taft12 on 4/23/2012 3:37:04 PM , Rating: 2
Your coworkers carry their laptops to work and back every day, throw them into the backseat, bash it off the doorframe as they carry it (lid open) into the meeting room for their presentation, etc, etc, etc. Your Acer probably has rarely even left the house. Lets compare apples to apples (but not Apples)

Good lord are we ever sidetracked :P

RE: Sub $500...
By spread on 4/21/12, Rating: 0
RE: Sub $500...
By SPOOFE on 4/22/2012 5:41:21 PM , Rating: 2
Dear AMD; I'm not in the market for a 15.4" heavy, low quality plastic commodity sub $500 notebook.

Dear Operandi; You're not almost everybody.

By geddarkstorm on 4/20/2012 7:37:52 PM , Rating: 3
My kingdom for performance data.

RE: Teasing
By fic2 on 4/20/2012 7:39:11 PM , Rating: 2
No kidding. How has this not leaked? Even if "last quarter" is March 31 that is still 20 days.

Definitely curious if Trinity will make up for the red-headed step child known as Bulldozer.

RE: Teasing
By bug77 on 4/21/2012 4:57:16 AM , Rating: 2
None of AMD's chips that failed to compete leaked. I'm thinking Phenom, Phenom II, Bulldozer (yes, I mixed them up).

RE: Teasing
By Amiga500 on 4/21/2012 5:11:04 AM , Rating: 2
When it first hit the market, Ph. II wasn't completely awful.

It did compete on the mid-range.

Obviously, now, its completely swamped by SB.

RE: Teasing
By someguy123 on 4/21/2012 4:51:36 PM , Rating: 4
Bulldozer leaked all over the place. People just weren't willing believe the leaks from overclockers and china breaking NDA. Coolaler leaked the cinebench scores months before launch and everyone assumed they were fake or that there was a huge cache problem with ES chips. They were right about the L2 problem, but the latency was never fixed even with the retail chips.

RE: Teasing
By ET on 4/22/2012 3:10:07 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I'm eagerly waiting the reviews. I wonder what Brazos 2 will be like, and would love performance data for that, but for Trinity I'm interested not only in the performance data but also the form factor it will appear in and what other hardware these notebooks will have.

Though frankly I also expect to see Brazos 2 featured in "ultrathin" notebooks.

too cheap?
By frozentundra123456 on 4/21/2012 9:25:29 AM , Rating: 3
Sounds great, but I wonder how they can sell it for less than 500.00. Will they sacrifice the SSD? I can't imagine a very good screen at that price either. But I am excited to see the performance vs ivy. I also wonder how much gaming you can do on a thin and light chassis.
Would it not tend to run hot?

RE: too cheap?
By Novaguy on 4/21/2012 6:32:44 PM , Rating: 2
I imagine that the sub-$500 models are going to be 5400rpm hdds and 1366 x 768 monitors. probably 320 or 500gb.

I have an a8-3530mx llano laptop (the dv6zqe from HP) that I use for moderate crpg gaming and a regular old hdd works fine. I have dreams of putting in an ssd myself but will probably not bother. But I did opt for the HP 1080p screen.

RE: too cheap?
By ET on 4/22/2012 3:05:28 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sure it will be HDD at the low end, but frankly if my Thinkpad X120e had a 17W Trinity that would have been one sweet laptop. All I want is a low cost solution with enough CPU power and some gaming potential. Brazos was not really there (although much closer than anything Intel made).

RE: too cheap?
By Taft12 on 4/23/2012 3:39:01 PM , Rating: 2
But I did opt for the HP 1080p screen.


RE: too cheap?
By Targon on 4/23/2012 9:21:13 AM , Rating: 2
Take a look at the current offerings out there, and you can find many AMD A6 based laptops in the $500 range(give or take $50). Quad-core with decent integrated graphics works for most people, and the drivers are decent. When you compare these to the really poor quality Intel based machines at the same price point(better CPU with lower quality supporting chips and chipsets), the AMD offerings are NOT bad. I can see the price dipping a bit to get under $500 if you really look, rather than going to Best Buy.

By 2bdetermine on 4/20/2012 7:51:36 PM , Rating: 5
At lease AMD not trying to kill off PC gaming like Intel did with their garbages IGP for so long.

By HexiumVII on 4/20/2012 10:51:49 PM , Rating: 2
Also we have the last few years of crappy laptop gaming to blame on nvidia rebadging low end chips desktop users wouldn't touch with a 30 foot pole. I didn't use to be that way, my Geforce 7900GS laptop still running strong (back when laptop chips were just downclocked desktop chips!), and blows away a lot of current laptop graphics. Nowdays its so hard to gauge notebook graphics power.

5 or 6 benchmarks of the hd intel graphics look good but try using them. I was trying out a laptop and wanted to play some Warcraft 3, oh man the graphics were terrible lighting effects look a pixelly and shadows, hah! Good luck with that.

By Beenthere on 4/20/2012 11:21:39 PM , Rating: 2
AMD will take more market share as these two chip series are good performers and great values - which is what most people desire. Intel is definitely going to have a tough time selling Ultrabooks compared to AMD powered Ultrathins costing hundreds less and performing better.

By Jeffk464 on 4/21/2012 9:43:31 AM , Rating: 3
Intel will probably dominate in cpu performance and battery life. But AMD chips might actually be a better all around experience do to the superior integrated graphics.

By Amiga500 on 4/21/2012 11:59:08 AM , Rating: 2
Doubtful their (Intel's) battery life would be better... Llano completely turned that metric on its head.

Brin it on AMD!.
By fteoath64 on 4/21/2012 10:08:42 AM , Rating: 2
These chips seems to have nice looking integrated heat spreaders. If priced competitively, they do have a great market in small form-factor PCs and well priced laptops for the kids!. The most balanced processing given by these chips idea for mainstream web usage and some light to medium gaming. Thats about 99.9% of usage out there.

Actually small home servers would be great for these chips.Besides AMD chipsets have much better features at a way better price than any Intel made board.

RE: Brin it on AMD!.
By dgingerich on 4/21/2012 2:34:48 PM , Rating: 2
I'd love to see a Dell Zino 2.0 with a Trinity processor. The Zino my roommate has is great, but a little slow. I'd buy one with a Trinity and BluRay drive for a HTPC.

Where are they?
By Visual on 4/24/2012 5:56:01 AM , Rating: 2
OK, if they really "storm the market", why can't I buy anything with Brazos 2 anywhere? Or even read about upcoming products? Or even hear a rumor about some Brazos 2 tablet?

I am disappointed with the delays all the corps seems like conspiring to cause in this segment.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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