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AMD Trinity review – hands-on with a prototype laptop

Does this prototype laptop put AMD back on top?


We were impressed with the battery life of AMD’s previous-generation Llano processors, and we saw even better power efficiency from Trinity in our tests. In our light-use benchmark, which simulates browsing the web, the test AMD laptop lasted for a huge nine and a quarter hours. This is compared to eight and a quarter hours from the Intel-equipped Inspiron 14z and 8h 25m from the prototype Llano laptop we saw last year. This is even more impressive considering that the prototype Trinity laptop has a smaller-capacity battery than its rivals; 4800mAh compared to 5200mAh from the Llano laptop and 5700mAh from the Dell.

AMD Trinity Battery Life
Top-notch battery life from the prototype AMD Trinity laptop – outstripping the competition despite having a smaller battery pack

Finally, it was time for our gaming tests. Llano blew away Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors in games, and even the new Ivy Bridge desktop processors can’t match AMD’s chips for 3D performance. The same is true for Trinity. In our laptop Dirt 3 benchmark, which we run at 1,280 x 720 with 4x anti-aliasing and High detail, the AMD Trinity A10-4600M managed a smooth 38.6fps, compared to a more jerky 26.5fps from the Llano laptop and an unplayable 13.5fps from the integrated graphics on the Intel-equipped Dell. The Trinity laptop could also play Mass Effect 3 smoothly at 1,280 x 720 with anti-aliasing and Dynamic Shadows turned on, so is fine for modern games at medium to high detail levels.

AMD Trinity Gaming Benchmarks
Trinity is even quicker than Llano in games – it’s now possible to play modern games on a processor’s integrated graphics at high detail levels

We’re seriously impressed by the top-end Trinity laptop processor. It’s as quick in 2D applications as the equivalent clock speed Sandy Bridge laptop, gets superb battery life from a modest-sized battery pack and can play modern games smoothly without needing a discrete graphics chipset.

We’re sure that the new Ivy Bridge mobile processors, when they arrive, will have the edge in 2D performance, but they won’t be able to match Trinity in games and maybe not even for battery life. So much, of course, depends on price. If the top-end Trinity laptops are around the same price as those based on mid-range Intel Core i5 chips, so around £600, then AMD will definitely have a winner on its hands.

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