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AMD A6 Trinity APU Review

By on November 26, 2012
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Limited to the lightest of gaming.

Good: Decent performance for daily usage and (few) games at low settings; Low temperatures and quiet operations; Good price/performance ratio.
Bad: Gaming performance not good enough for modern games; needs to be paired with good memory and SSD to take full benefit.
Price: AED 2,400 (depending on manufacturer and other system specs)
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

The AMD Trinity APUs launched earlier this year, bringing with them many improvements over last year’s Llano platform. While we came out suitably impressed from the A10 desktop variant of the new Trinity APU, let’s see if the mobile A6 APU can replicate the magic.

Our test unit came in the form of the Samsung Series 5 notebook in a relatively thin chassis; not an ultrabook per se, but at 2cm thick and weighing only 1.9kg it’s not far from it. Inside the laptop was an AMD A6-4455M dual-core Trinity processor running at 2.1GHz (boosting up to 2.6GHz). However, this APU runs two integer cores on one module, so technically speaking it’s not a proper dual-core processor.

Running on 32nm architecture the A6-4455M APU also integrates the Radeon HD 7500G graphics processor that contains a modest 256 shader units. On paper that raw processing power of the A6 APU doesn’t seem too impressive, but considering it’s rated TDP of just 17W it looks rather impressive.

Now for comparison we luckily had a comparable laptop from ASUS, the Vivobook, which was powered by an Intel Core i3-3217U processor running at 1.8GHz and no TurboBoost. However, unlike the A6-4455M the i3-3217U is a proper dual-core processor with the ability to run 4 threads in parallel.   Running Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics, the i3-3217U is also rated at 17W TDP.

This is as close a competition as it gets between to ultra-low-voltage (ULV) processors in the same class. All tests are at the below settings.

All tests were done at the native resolution of 1366×768 on both 14-inch laptops. 3DMark 11 and PCMark 7 don’t require any resolution settings when running at standard settings.

Now that the testing is over, it’s clear that the A6-4455M is not meant for modern games, unless they’re based on an easily scalable engine like Source (Team Fortress 2) or games that are more dependent on artwork rather than heavy shaders (Torchlight 2).

The good news is that the fan in the Samsung Series 5 laptop wasn’t loud, but this obviously comes at the cost of high idle temperature. Still, on the top end things looks decidedly cool.

So if you’re on a tight budget and aren’t interested in playing the latest games on the PC, the AMD A6 powered laptops are a pretty good choice. Comparative options from Intel with regards to the Core i3 ULV processors hardly offer any increments considering the price you pay for them. Of course, if you go up to Intel’s Core i5 or i7 ULV processors, then it’s a totally different performance level; as is the price.


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.

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