AMD has gained considerable market share in the budget computing segment since last year's launch of the Llano APU, with "good enough" CPU performance balanced with entry discreet level graphics to boot. After the uncompetitive showing of Bulldozer with their FX enthusiast chips and Opterons, followed by harrowing departures of historically key personnel, the remaining team went back to the drawing board and made a few tweaks to their 32nm BD core architecture. Their efforts resulted in Piledriver, which will debut with the 2012 Trinity Mobile APUs today and then feature in server and desktop product refreshes later this year. Is this the light at the end of the tunnel or just another epic facepalm for AMD?

Introduction

AMD's 2012 Consumer top to bottom VISION product positioning with FX CPUs for the enthusiasts, Trinity APUs for the mainstream and Brazos for the entry level.

 

Summary of Trinity APU improvements – now using "Piledriver" modules (2nd generation of Bulldozer, still the obtuse 2 integer/1 FP unit per module design), featuring DDR3-1866 memory support (1600 for notebook) and depending on SKU, up to 384 Radeon "Cores".

 

Technical Specifications and block diagram of the partitioning inside the die

 

The desktop APUs are still rated at 100W TDP like Llano models (not too surprising considering that they are both on the same manufacturing process), with 17W/25W/35W models for mobile variants. Operating frequencies are expected to be between 2.0-3.8GHz on the CPU and 424-800MHz on the GPU. FMA3 instruction set (which is the one adopted by Intel on the upcoming Haswell, instead of FMA4 first seen on Bulldozer) makes its debut here. Improved scheduling, branch prediction and prefetcher also account for higher IPC than the Husky cores used in Llano.

 

Integrated northbridge and memory controller

 

The new Turbo Core 3.0 now balances power envelope of the CPU/GPU to fit within the TDP, dynamically throttling the clocks to fit the workload profile of the active running application. There is no indication on whether this is handled by hardware or software driver (ahem quack3.exe).

 

 

These are the 32nm Trinity mobile SKUs that are officially announced today:

 

AMD A-Series Mobile APUs (FS1r2 package, 35W TDP, DDR3-1600 support)

Model GPU CPU Cores / Modules CPU Clock (Max/Base) L2 Cache Radeon Cores GPU Clock (Max/Base)
A10-4600M HD 7660G 4 / 2 3.2 / 2.3 GHz 4MB 384 686 / 497 MHz
A8-4500M HD 7640G 4 / 2 2.8 / 1.9 GHz 4MB 256 655 / 497 MHz
A6-4400M HD 7520G 2 / 1 3.2 / 2.7 GHz 1MB 192 686 / 497 MHz

 

AMD A-Series Mobile LV / ULV APUs (FP2 package, DDR3-1333 support)

Model GPU CPU Cores / Modules CPU Clock (Max/Base) TDP L2 Cache Radeon Cores GPU Clock (Max/Base)
A10-4655M HD 7620G 4 / 2 3.2 / 2.3 GHz 25W 4MB 384 497 / 360 MHz
A6-4455M HD 7500G 2 / 1 2.8 / 1.9 GHz 17W 2MB 256 424 / 327 MHz

 

Expect to see desktop Trinity APUs surfacing in the next quarter, with the chips using the new FM2 socket and motherboards.