AMD 2012-2013 mobile APU Roadmap
During Thursday's Financial Analyst Day, AMD revealed details of their 2012 and 2013 APUs. There will be 3 models, including Trinity for the performance market, Brazos 2.0 for low power devices, and Hondo for ultra-low power devices. These new products will feature up to 4 cores, with an improved Piledriver CPU core and a superior integrated GPU, compared to the expected competition.
Trinity 2nd generation A-Series APUs have been optimized to offer significant improvements to both performance and power usage. With 2-4 Piledriver CPU cores, there will be two power options. Standard products will have a TDP of 35W, while low voltage chips will have a TDP of 17-25W. There will be models suitable for both performance and mainstream devices. Ultra-low voltage models in a BGA package will be thin enough for production of notebooks that are only 18mm thick.
C-Series and E-Series APUs, with the Brazos 2.0 core, will have a low operating voltage, with a TDP of 9-18W. They will have 2 Bobcat CPU cores, and feature Turbo Core and USB 3.0. They will be targeted at what AMD calls Essential devices. Then for tablet devices and fanless applications there are the ultra-low power Z-Series APUs, with a Hondo core. They have 1-2 Bobcat cores, and operate at ultra-low voltages with a TDP of just 4.5W. All the second generation APUs have a DirectX 11 GPU.
Trinity is expected to offer double the performance per watt of Llano APUs. With a 25% improvement in x86 performance over Llano, and up to 50% improvement in graphics performance, Trinity also uses half the power. According to AMD, ultrathin devices with a ULV Trinity APU will offer up to 12 hours or more battery life, which is expected to be better than competing products.
2013 will see APUs with GCN GPUs. At the performance end of the market, we will see Kaveri, with 2-4 Steamroller CPU cores, and HSA application support. The essential market will have a Kabini core, with 2-4 Jaguar CPU cores, while the Temash APU for tablet and fanless devices will have 2 Jaguar cores.
AMD Performance Labs tested an A6 ULV 17W Trinity APU and an A10 LV 25W APU in a Comal reference design Pumori board against a Core i5 ULV 2537M (also 17W) in 3D Mark Vantage. The A6 scored 2355 3D Marks, the A10 scored 3600 and the i5 scored 1158 marks. Giving Ivy Bridge an estimated 30% performance boost over Sandy Bridge would give a similar IB processor a score of around 1505 3D Marks. With these figures, A6 would appear to perform 56% better than the projected IB score, and the A10 is 139% better.
AMD demonstrated a prototype of an A6 ULV Trinity based laptop at FAD. It was a reference design sporting a quad-core APU with 17W TDP,and was only 18mm thick, with a 13 inch monitor, and it was designed by AMD and Compal. It is possible that Compal will use this design to build notebooks for customers, and it is also likely that other companies will build their own similar devices using AMD Trinity APUs. The expected cost of such a device is estimated to be in the region of $600-$800.
One of the first devices announced using Trinity APUs comes from Arctic, who are currently planning to sue AMD in a dispute over the Fusion brand. They have revealed a very plush looking HTPC, based on the A8 and A10 Trinity processors. Model MC101 (and MC101 barebones) uses a Trinity A8 APU with HD 7640G graphics. The second model, MC101 Pro, utilizes an A10 APU, which has an HD 7660G GPU. These will be available when AMD release Trinity, although the dates are not yet known. The price of Arctic's offerings is also not yet known.
Related News (newer articles):
May 23, 2012: AMD announced R-Series embedded processors
Apr 03, 2012: Ivy Bridge announcement on April 23; AMD Trinity to launch on May 15
Mar 16, 2012: AMD A6-4400M "Trinity" CPU sighted in HP laptop
Related News (older articles):
Oct 26, 2011: New AMD Bobcat APUs in Q1/Q2 2012