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AMD Trinity A8-4500M Graphics Performance Review

By on June 12, 2012
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How does it fare against Nvidia’s Kepler?

Good: Runs cool and easily switches between integrated GPU on APU and seamlessly works in CrossFire with dedicated GPU when plugged in.
Bad: Slower than similarly priced Nvidia GT 640M equipped notebooks and AMD Catalyst driver support a bit iffy.
Price: AED 3,100 (depending on notebook configuration)
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Trinity A8 APU

After the relatively successful; launch of the Llano APUs last year, AMD has come out with the successor, the Trinity APUs. While we’ve had a quick peak at the A10 APU’s performance, today we get to take an in-depth look at how well the A8-4500M performs in the real world.

Our review unit was an HP Pavilion G6, which came with the AMD A8-4500M APU (@ 1.9GHz), 6GB of DDR3 RAM and HD 7670M GPU with 512MB RAM (which CrossFire’s with the integrated HD 7640G GPU on the processor). The hardware is pushing pixels on a 15.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1366×768.

The Competition

Coming at $800, the Pavilion G6 is just in line with the Acer Timeline Ultra M3 I reviewed back in March. The M3 came with the Sandy Bridge Core i5-2467M (@ 1.6GHz), 4GB RAM and the GeForce GT 640M Kepler GPU with 1GB dedicated memory.

In essence this will be a standoff between the Nvidia GT 640m and AMD HD 7460G + 7670M (in CFX mode). Of course, the former is a discrete GPU with 1GB dedicated memory, while the latter is a combination of two cards (integrated GPU and discrete) with 1GB shared memory between the two cards. Not exactly apples to apples, but with the price of the notebooks being the same, there’s not much else to look at as far as the end-consumer is concerned.

Benchmarks

Now before I head into the actual benchmarks, let’s have a quick look at 3DMark 11, which is the only benchmark with the same settings across the board. While a good CPU certainly helps, the majority of the numbers are coming from the GPU itself.

We see that the AMD A8-4500M with 7670M is about 5% slower than the dedicated GT 640M, and just 7% slower than the HD 6850M dedicated high-end GPU from the previous generation. Let’s see if the close gap in synthetic test remains in real world games.

For testing the games, the following benchmark settings were used:

All of the above tests were run at the native resolution of 1366×768 with Sync turned off.

Gone is the miniscule 5% gap between the GT 640M and the HD 7460G + 7670M. Instead, what we see is the dedicated Nvidia GT 640M GPU leading the CrossFire AMD GPUs by a margin of about 29%. Unigine is the only place where the gap was 15%, but that too is a synthetic test.

Interesting to note is that with Medium settings of Battlefield 3, on the GT 640M an average frame rate of 36 was achieved, while the HD 7460G + 7670M would only show a blank screen and not even load the game. Unsupported drivers, no doubt, but another let down from AMD.

Except for Dirt 3, the AMD CrossFire solution fails to even touch the basic 30FPS requirement for smooth gameplay, while the low-end Kepler GPU from Nvidia consistently delivers well above the 30FPS mark.

Conclusion

I will say that while the A8-4500M is a decent processor to use in daily tasks, such as surfing the net, doing office work and watching HD videos, one of AMD’s highlight of the Trinity APUs is the graphical performance. In this department it is certainly trumped by Nvidia, who are pushing their mid to low-end GPUs, especially the GT 640M and 650M on the $800 to $ 1,500 range of notebooks. While I don’t have a Trinity A10 APU to benchmark, on the lower end at least, the A8-4500M AMD is severely lacking.

Given the choice, I would most definitely recommend an Nvidia GT 640M equipped laptop over any AMD A8 specced machine. The A10 may certainly be an improvement, but it’s beyond the $800 to $1K market we’re looking at here.


About

From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

Comments
  • Abc

     but you did not even compare battery life hell no mention even.

  • Jfj

    How about temperature a noise contest?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=24403113 Tyler Morrison

    this so called “review” is incomplete and frankly a waste of time

    • brs

      really waste

  • BongCastaneda

    Why didnt you benchmark with crossfire disabled and show individual performance metrics for the radeons in the article?
    i know that crossfire has performance issues with some of the games you benchmarked

    • mikerob76

      Crossfire in the AMD laptops are always screwy, if you have a dedicated card, set it so it runs off that. I know for a fact that the older A6 processors with the 6520 vpu runs world of warcraft at around 60fps on med settings. This is another test that is bias against AMD. I saw a test earlier today that rated the new A8 with 7600 series graphics as a nVidia GT520 with a better score than a sandy-bridge i5. AMD trying to crossfire the dedicated GPU with the APU is still in its infancy and still has problems unless u run games with either the onboard graphics or the discrete card on it’s own. So I agree with Bong on this. Get some experienced people to run these tests…

  • Attackpoodle

    Pretty terrible write up. I can get a laptop with an a8-4500m for just over 500 bucks and this is comparing it to a minimum $800 system? Pretty pathetic attempt at a comparison.

  • random_guy

    There are major oversights with your review. First, the comparison being made is between products priced at opposite extremes as far as their specs are concerned (Acer is a budget-oriented brand, HP isn’t). Budget laptops running on a8 go for around $600, less than that for last year’s model. Secondly, the purpose of integrating a GPU onto the same die as the CPU is precisely to create a standalone processing unit for fairly balanced CPU/GPU performance. The HP laptop used in your review has a dedicated GPU on board, which obviously resulted in a higher pricepoint, and led to inbalanced performace, forming a potential bottleneck in the process. Finally, as mentioned before, there are still performance issues with crossfire, which puts further doubt on the setup of the HP.
    The issues here are primarily cost related. A possibly more objective comparison could be made between a laptop with a standalone a8/a10, and an intel/nvidia laptop from within the same pricing category.

    • devo

      ^exactly this

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1632553861 facebook-1632553861

    I think this test was useless on many levels, The only only it does show is that Intel’s i5 with a discrete gpu is a poor value.

  • Pingback: [DOMANDA] COSA SCEGLIERE? AMD A BUON PREZZO O INTEL?

  • Justwondering

    hmmm….I can’t find any HP G6 laptop with trinity…HP don’t sell any and bestbuy is misleading. It say a A4 series but when you click on it and check out the graphic card it wasn’t a 7600G series but 6400G(which is Llano not Trinity). AMD website also don’t list any HP G6 with A8-4500. Anyone got any comment if a this laptop even exist?. I am looking to buy new laptop and going through alot of reveiw for the best price.

    • joemomma

      Toshiba direct is having a decent sale on an A8-4500M: search Satellite L850D-BT2N22. Specs: 15.6 inch screen, 6 GB RAM, 320 GB HD, DVD multidrive, $449.

      • theMusic

        ahh ye, got me a 14′ a8 4500 from toshiba, was 529 at future shop. to much bloatware but after some tweaking you get new vegas on high. it can be a beast for the price

    • KSD

      HP G6-2005AX LAPTOP IS AVAILABLE IN INDIA.. EVEN I GOT ONE FOR AROUND 620$

    • http://twitter.com/wiredwindowtwit WiredWIndow.Com

      HP has a new laptop that may be confusing some people as we are so used to the DV series. it is the New
      M6-1068 this has the AMD A 8 4500 with a 2 gig AMD Radeon HD 7640G Dedicated card

  • http://www.facebook.com/kiranflys Kiran Kishore

    I personally own the HP A8 4500M laptop. Some games automatically cannot take the dual graphics advantage! They just run on the on-board and sometimes just switches to the discrete card. One should manually create profiles for such games.

    For instance, for me Crysis 2 would automatically detect my dual graphics and use both. But when I started witcher 2, it would just run on my on-board card and so would not use the discrete GPU. I made a separate profile in the ATi control panel to run in High Performance mode and believe me I play the game at Ultra with just the Ubersampling disabled!!!

    I believe that the benchmark overlooked this factor completely!!!

  • djamespo

    My quad core Acer 5560 A6 llano does a great job playing games like BF3 and is silent too. Try to find brand new gaming laptop for anywhere near the same price. Newegg just had a sale on a Samsung A8-4500 Trinity without the 7670m card for $379. Which was the same price I paid for the A6 Acer. Of course I added 8 gig set of 1333mhz, a ssd also like the matte screen protector i bought. The A8 supports a 8 gig set at 1600mhz. Which gets me thinking that a 2gig stick and a 4 gig stick may not run in duel channel on that HP in there comparison. Meaning system memory and the 7640g may be limited to only 800mhz. However I’m not a laptop expert, do your own research. But desktops need two identical ram sticks to run in duel channel.

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