AMD Trinity A8-4500M Graphics Performance Review - Where to Buy

By on June 12, 2012

How does it fare against Nvidia’s Kepler?

AMD Trinity A8-4500M Graphics Performance Review

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 1366x768.



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.
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