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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.

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