The CES show in Las Vegas was the scene for the latest spaghetti western showdown between AMD and Intel, proprietors of PC processors. AMD was showing off its soon to be released – Q1 2012 – Trinity APU working in an Ultra-Thin laptop. AMD’s take on the Ultrabook seems to have been the surprise – in the box – this show.
At the same time Intel is up to hilarious shenanigans. Having a moment, like the scene from your favorite spaghetti western. Something’s gnawing on Intel’s conscience. Had they rushed out the demo, crossing the desert with something to hide. The trickery was exposed with the appearance of VLC’s UI, it wasn’t live but a clip. The laughter grew once more as the demo continued with no-one at the controls.
Intel’s Ultrabook specification is the yard stick AMD is using for these new Trinity laptops. Intel has set tough criteria with the spec’s calling for a combination of desktop level power while still allowing 8 hours battery life. To achieve this Intel defined the the 17W envelope. This is the most power the current generation battery can provide for 8 hours of go time. Trying to squeeze all this into a super-slim laptop is no easy task, something had to give. In Intel’s case graphics power, try to find an Ultrabook that can play the latest Call Of Duty, it isn’t going to happen.
Intel has trademarked the term Ultrabook., so don’t expect to see any AMD branded Ultrabooks. AMD does have Trinity on their side though, also known as the right hand of the devil. AMD does seem to have the answer for Intel’s next generation Ivy Bridge, kick-ass graphics. Intel’s achilles heel especially the inability to play anything approaching the latest games and average multi-monitor support.
AMD on the other hand has a cut down 7970 built into its APU. Yes it is very cut down but it the same latest generation technology –VLIW-4 architecture – used by the recently released ATI HD 7000 family of video cards.
AMD’s catch cry for the demonstration was obviously ‘Desktop performance in a laptop’, a pretty bold claim. The demonstration machine played a high end Direct 11 game, Dirt 2 while also converting video to various formats and more – watch the video – all simultaneously. Impressive for a laptop, here at Highpants HQ we have some slow and some faster desktop machines, but still impressive for an integrated graphics laptop. If running two external LCD’s off a compact laptop wasn’t enough still being able to use the laptops screen independently catches your eye.
Trinity APU sports a quad core – Piledriver, second generation Bulldozer – CPU integrated into the APU. The new Bulldozer- Gen2 – has improved memory speeds, new turbo-modes and other internal changes to reach 30% extra speed over previous Bulldozers. AMD is also introducing the BGA interface. Ball Grid Array is a much more space efficient version of the pins on the underside of a CPU. Bringing slimmer packaging to AMD’s mobile chips is also the brand new FM2 socket, the socket for the new interface. All of these new technologies are aimed at reducing the thickness of the laptop.
AMD Trinity demo @ CES 2012
Trinity is manufactured using TSMC’s – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company – 32 nm process and is expected to consumer 17watts at max. power. There will also be higher clock speed 35watt and 100watt APU’s –integrated graphics CPU from AMD -. The new Trinity generation should see AMD improve performance by 30 to 50% over the previous generation.
Aiming to build desktop PC levels of performance into a slim svelte laptops seems to be the catch cry at the moment. If they can achieve it while maintaining 8 hour battery life and keep the cost down then the target they will be a very interesting option for those in the market.
The Trinity core demonstrated by AMD will eventually replace the entire family of Liano APU’s including the many desktop versions. Hopefully bringing desktop performance back to the desktop. The first Trinity APU’s should be available Q1 2012 officially but the demonstration at CES could lead you to think they could be release any minute now.
When the chip giants go to war we are all the winners, especially if AMD can force Intel to drop the price on their Ultra –expensive– books. They call me trinity, the right hand of the devil.
Spaghetti Western Source: My Name is Trinity – 1970 Enzo Barboni Film –
Intel Fakes CES 2012 Ultrabook Demo