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Trinity CPU Performance: The Good and the Bad

We're going to start our performance investigation a little out of order. The big question on everyone's mind is how much single threaded performance has improved over Bulldozer, and whether it's enough to actually make Trinity faster than Llano across the board. We'll use Cinebench 11.5 as it has both single and multithreaded test options:

Cinebench 11.5 - Single Threaded

The good news is that single threaded performance is definitely up compared to Llano. Piledriver likely has some to do with this, but so does the fact that the A10 can run at up to 4.2GHz (~4GHz typically) with one of its cores active compared to the 2.9GHz clock speed of the A8-3850. Compared to the Bulldozer based FX-8150 there's a slight (~6%) increase in single threaded performance. Although I don't expect anyone will be cross shopping a Trinity APU and a FX CPU, it's important to keep an eye on progress here as we'll eventually get a high-end quad-module/eight-core Piledriver CPU.

Note that compared to even previous generation, low-end Intel CPUs without turbo there's a huge gap in single threaded performance. If we look at the gap AMD has to make up vs. Ivy Bridge it's not pretty. Intel's Core i3 3220 manages a 27% performance advantage over the A10-5800K. Even if Steamroller is able to deliver a 15% increase in performance at the same clock speed, there will still be a gap. And we're not even talking about how Haswell will grow this gap. For the foreseeable future I don't see AMD closing the single threaded performance gap. Jim Keller's job is to fix this problem, but it'll probably take 2 - 3 years to get there.

Cinebench 11.5 - Multi-Threaded

The multithreaded test shows the other end of reality: in heavily threaded foating point workloads it's possible that we'll see a regression compared to Llano. Remember the Bulldozer/Piledriver architecture prioritizes integer over floating point performance. Truth be told this regression is pretty rare in our tests, but until we get to Steamroller we will still see these types of situations.

Throw more threads at the problem and even with a floating point workload Intel can't pull ahead however. The A10 offers similar performance to the Core i3 3220 at a lower price. Your decision here would come down to the rest of the factors: single threaded performance, processor graphics performance, overclocking capabilities and power consumption. Intel and AMD both win two of those each, it's really a matter of what matters most to you.

A heavily threaded FP workload doesn't really play to AMD's advantages though, what happens when you get a heavily threaded integer workload however? The 7-zip benchmark gives us just that:

7-zip Benchmark

Here AMD manages a 16% performance advantage over the Core i3 3220. I'd even go as far as to say that Trinity would likely beat any dual-core Intel machine here. The performance advantage is somewhat artificial as Intel purposefully removes turbo from its dual-core desktop CPUs. This should be AMD's best foot forward, but once again it'll likely take Steamroller for this design to start to make sense.

Speaking of artificial product segmentation, one major feature Intel takes away when you get down to the dual-core desktop i3 level is AES-NI support. Hardware accelerated AES support is something that you get only with the more expensive Core i5/i7s. With Trinity, you get AES-NI support for the entire stack. The result is much better performance in those applications that depend on it:

AES-128 Performance - TrueCrypt 7.1 Benchmark

Like most of the advantages we've talked about thus far, there are really very specific use cases where Trinity makes sense over a similarly priced Intel CPU.

Introduction & The Test General Performance - SYSMark 2012
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  • rarson - Wednesday, October 03, 2012 - link

    "So as of today, in general - it costs more to get an AMD."

    ...unless you actually want decent gaming performance.

    The problem for Intel is that the things that Trinity doesn't do well aren't much of an issue to the average consumer. The average consumer doesn't have a clue how threaded their workloads are, and won't notice any significant differences between the i3 and the A10 other than how much faster the graphics are.

    If I were going to build an HTPC without discrete graphics, I'd be buying a Trinity. Intel doesn't make sense in that application (of course, I'd probably still go discrete, in which case Intel makes more sense).
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, October 12, 2012 - link

    That's great rarson, when amd is crap, it's ok because people need crap, and won't notice the crap they have.
    LOL
    Someone may be full of crap.
    Reply
  • g101 - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    Yeah, you. You lifeless little shit. Find something better to do than comment on every anandtech article with senseless garbage that never contains a shred of evidence or fact. Reply
  • rarson - Wednesday, October 03, 2012 - link

    "I think there is very little need for raw single-threaded performance increases in consumer-level "general computation" processors (e.g. few-core x86 processors)."

    Exactly. While AMD could stand to improve their single-threaded performance, the fact that Intel is so far ahead in that specific metric doesn't automatically mean that Trinity is "slow." It does other things quite well, including multi-threaded performance, which is obviously more of a concern at this point considering software is moving towards multi-threading anyway.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    LOL - you are such a sad fanboy
    I hope amd showers you as fanboy of the month with their slow crap so you have to use it.
    Reply
  • amd4evernever - Sunday, October 14, 2012 - link

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/a10-5800k-trin...

    choke on that.... no matter how you troll the amd solution in the ends beats the core i3 both in price and in gaming read the full article at tomshardware.. you lunatic.
    Reply
  • g101 - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    You stupid little bitch, you comment on EVERY article with pro nvidia/intel comments and every single one is absolute rubbish.

    What I really want to know is: how the fuck can you have nothing better to do, yet still be so ignorant?
    Reply
  • rarson - Wednesday, October 03, 2012 - link

    "We need this for some real progression to be made in desktop CPU's and also drive prices down at the high end."

    Why? Is an i7 not fast enough for you? Are you being bogged down by your uber-user workload?

    The vast majority of people buy processors that are cheaper than the A10 here. Sure, it'd be nice to see AMD compete at the high end again, but the high end doesn't drive the market; the high end is barely a blip on the radar.
    Reply
  • Flunk - Tuesday, October 02, 2012 - link

    Exactly, why buy the kids a new A10 when I can just give them my old Q6600? AMD really needs to make a better case for themselves than this. Reply
  • silverblue - Tuesday, October 02, 2012 - link

    They are going to.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6201/amd-details-its...
    Reply

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