Intel started the trend of integrating a GPU along with the CPU in the processor package with Clarkdale / Arrandale. The GPU moved to the die itself in Sandy Bridge. Despite having much more powerful GPUs at its disposal (from the ATI acquisition), AMD was a little late in getting to the CPU - GPU party. Their first full endeavour, the Llano APU (we're skipping Brazos / Zacate / Ontario as it was more of a netbook/nettop part), released towards the end of Q2 2011. The mobile version of the next generation APUs, Trinity, was launched in May 2012.

The desktop version of Trinity will be rolling out shortly. We have a gaming centric piece with general observations here. This piece will deal with the HTPC aspects. Llano, while being pretty decent for HTPC use, didn't excite us enough to recommend it wholeheartedly. Intel's Ivy Bridge, on the other hand, surprised us with its HTPC capabilities. In the rest of this review, we will see whether Trinity manages to pull things back for AMD on the HTPC front.

Some of the issues that we had with Llano included differences in video post processing for Blu-ray and local videos, issues with the Enforce Smooth Video Playback (ESVP) feature and driver problems related to chroma upsampling. Our first step after setting up the Trinity HTPC testbed was to check up on these issues. At the very outset, we are happy to note that advancements in software infrastructure, driver quality and to some extent, the hardware itself, have resolved most of the issues.

We see that the Trinity GPU is much better than Intel's HD4000 from a gaming viewpoint. Does this translate to a better performance when it comes to HTPC duties? As we will find out in the course of this piece, the answer isn't a resounding yes, but AMD does happen to get some things right where Intel missed the boat.

In this review, we present our experience with Trinity as a HTPC platform using an AMD A10-5800K (with AMD Radeon HD 7660D). In the first section, we tabulate our testbed setup and detail the tweaks made in the course of our testing. A description of our software setup and configuration is also provided. Following this, we have the results from the HQV 2.0 benchmark and some notes about the driver fixes that have made us happy. A small section devoted to the custom refresh rates is followed by some decoding and rendering benchmarks. No HTPC solution is completely tested without looking at the network streaming capabilities (Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight performance). In the final section, we cover miscellaneous aspects such as power consumption and then proceed to the final verdict.

Testbed and Software Setup
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  • Beenthere - Thursday, September 27, 2012 - link

    There is an appropriate CPU/APU model for every budget these days. Virtually any current model APU/CPU will perform just fine for 98% of consumers. Most consumers buy what fits their needs and budget, not the over priced, over hyped top-of-the-line models.

    AMDs new Trinity APUs and Vishera desktop FX processors offer more performance for less, which is good for consumers.
    Reply
  • silverblue - Thursday, September 27, 2012 - link

    We don't know about Vishera, not yet anyway. We don't know what the improvements over Bulldozer will yield as a whole, only what a couple of benchmarks showed in a brief Toms comparison between Trinity and Zambezi. There are plenty of scenarios to consider. Reply
  • Beenthere - Thursday, September 27, 2012 - link

    Yes some of us do know the results... Comparing Trintiy to Vishera is incorrect. Vishera is to be compared to Zambezi.

    AMD has hit their projected 10-15% gains for Vishera compared to Zambezi. Some people already know the results but the NDA doesn't expire for a few weeks so they can't print them yet. Most folks will be happy with Vishera except the haters.
    Reply
  • silverblue - Thursday, September 27, 2012 - link

    I'd find it hard to believe you were personally under NDA (please prove me wrong). I also believe the gains were per clock, which should theoretically, given the assumption you stated, result in a slightly larger performance gap between the 8150 and the 8350 as the latter has a higher base clock and is more likely to hit max turbo speed.

    Like I said though, two benchmarks in the public domain aren't gospel, regardless of whether we're comparing Vishera OR Trinity to Zambezi. Remember that L3 cache doesn't always help, but when it does, the gains can be significant, meaning the A10-5800K could occasionally be outperformed by a similarly clocked 41x0 CPU, but the flip side is that it could occasionally perform on par with a similarly clocked 43x0 CPU.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, September 27, 2012 - link

    "AMD was a little late in getting to the CPU - GPU party. Their first endeavour, the Llano APU"
    Aren't Zacate and Ontario APUs? They were released in 01/2011, half a year before Llano. Or aren't you counting low power APUs? :)
    Thanks for the article!
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, September 27, 2012 - link

    Mea culpa, didn't read the comments before posting my own. :) Disregard. Reply
  • EnzoFX - Thursday, September 27, 2012 - link

    What's the big deal with 4k at THIS moment? There are no 4k tv's out are there? By the time they're out, or by the time they're actually affordable by a decent amount of consumers, we would have several generations of new apu's. Reply
  • Denithor - Tuesday, October 02, 2012 - link

    http://www.lg.com/us/tvs/lg-84LM9600-led-tv Reply
  • Allio - Thursday, September 27, 2012 - link

    These HTPC-perspective articles are consistently some of the most useful and interesting content that AT puts up. As far as I can tell, there really aren't any other tech sites that delve this deep into this kind of functionality - most reviews settle for playing a 1080p Bluray and posting a screenshot of the CPU usage in task manager. While it may only be a relatively small audience for who this stuff is relevant, we are a very interested audience, and I personally appreciate every detail and statistic included. Thanks Ganesh! Reply
  • wharris1 - Thursday, September 27, 2012 - link

    At this point, it seems 4k is more marketing hype. I'll link this article: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33199_7-57491766-221/...
    For the typical anandtech readers (probably much more technically gifted than me) I also recall reading a similar article/post on avsforums explaining that for any display size <~100 inches, the 4k standard is hard to justify. Also, while I know that future proofing is sound, there is very little content or ability to play back said content at that resolution. As a previous poster mentioned, by the time 4k becomes a standard, the current platforms will seem antiquated. Anyway, Anandtech is the best tech site around by far; read it every morning.
    Reply

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