Final Words

I have to admit, Trinity's CPU performance made it a lot closer to Intel's Core i3 3220 than I expected it to. In the worst case there's still a huge gap in single threaded performance, but even SYSMark 2012 only shows Intel's Core i3 3220 with a 12% performance advantage. Multithreaded workloads do reasonably well on Trinity as well. Intel pulls ahead in some, while AMD does in others and there's another selection of applications/workloads where we see performance parity between similarly priced Trinity and Ivy Bridge parts. A big part of all of this is Intel disabling features on its Core i3 (the lack of turbo hurts), but Piledriver's high clock speeds and AMD's pricing strategy both play a role here as well.

The big exception to all of this is high-end gaming performance. If you're planning on pairing a beefy GPU with a cheap CPU, you're much better off going with Intel than AMD at this point. Single threaded performance is still far too important to most gaming workloads for the recommendation to be anything different.

As I mentioned earlier, Trinity's CPU performance puts the buying decision squarely in the tradeoff evaluation zone. Once again what matters the most is how important Trinity's GPU is to you. AMD holds a clear advantage there if you're going to use it, otherwise the decision is heavily weighted towards Intel. Intel holds a power consumption advantage and a clear single threaded performance advantage, while there are some specific workloads that will do better on Trinity (e.g. AES-NI accelerated apps, heavily threaded integer applications).

Overall Trinity is a step forward from Llano. It's not enough to make the job of recommending the APU any less complex than what I've outlined above however. Depending on what you plan on doing with your system, Trinity is either going to be perfect or a distant second.

What I am happy to see is AMD putting a little competitive pressure on Intel here. Offering unlocked K SKUs, features like AES-NI and great GPU performance at these price points is important. I don't believe Trinity is strong enough on the CPU side to really force Intel to do the same with the Core i3, but we do need AMD to keep doing this and getting better each time.

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  • silverblue - Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - link

    They are going to.
  • Origin64 - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - link

    That's what they said about Trinity last year. I'm not buying it, not since Bulldozer.
  • CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - link

    Yep, it's always the future, the next one, for the amd fanboy
  • sean.crees - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - link

    I agree, the best case scenario for AMD is the A10-5700 with 65 watt TDP in a SFF ITX enclosure utilizing the integrated GPU.
  • ac2 - Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - link

    Oops that last line should read "That puts a $50 saving towards..." not $70

    - Pentium G850: $70 (HD2000 less Quicksync)
    - Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3V: $70 (with PCIe 3.0 and USB 3.0 onboard)

    Can easily upgrade to a more powerful GPU/ CPU down the line..
  • cyrusfox - Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - link

    Correction to your comment
    The G850 will only support PCIe 2.0, you would need to wait for Ivy refresh of celeron/pentium.

    If it was me and I was going cheap/Intel, I would just buy a Celeron G530 for $40, why bother with the G850, its just as handicapped with a little more CPU freq.

    But trinity would be a whole lot more fun to play with then those chips even though it may be slower doing a lot of the same task. Some of us just enjoy overclocking while undervolting while rooting for the perpetual underdog.
  • CaptainDoug - Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - link

    The G850 has Intel HD 2000 graphics. Big step up. Also as far as motherboard compatibility, if you go with a celeron, your choices for boards that are also compatible with i3, i5, i7 boards is slim pickin's. Going with a pentium gives you more advanced motherboard options. I agree that the G530 is a great CPU for cheap but it's just a little harder to upgrade to anything amazing. Trinity is quite interesting though. Would be great in a small desktop for the wife.
  • wwwcd - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - link

    HD 2000 is a scrap ;)
  • rarson - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - link

    Having Intel graphics is not, in any way, a plus. Especially a turd like HD2000.
  • delirious7 - Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - link

    how is the ivy bridge pentiums or celerons going to have pci express 3.0 when even the core i-3 processors don't? intel decided to omit pci express 3.0 from everything under an core i5.

    the only thing besides a slightly better clock for clock that ivy gives you with the ivy bridge pentiums is memory support up to speeds of 1600 instead of 1333 like sandy bridge.

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