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AMD A10-5800K Preview: Trinity for the Desktop
Product: AMD A10-5800 APU, Asus A85X Pro Mainboard
Author: James Prior
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: September 27th, 2012
Today we're showing you a preview of the new AMD Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), codenamed Trinity. Now, Trinity has been around for a little while, having made its debut on the mobile platform on May 15th 2012, with general availability around the time of the AMD Fusion Developer Summit in June. At the summit, the desktop part was announced, but since then it's been a little quiet as AMD hadn't determined a retail channel launch. Now they have, and we can tell you it's soon, like a few days soon.
The new desktop APU lineup is comprised of 6 SKUs based on the Trinity die, comprised of four quad cores and two dual cores, and three GPU configurations. There are two TDP options, 65W and 100W, and three K-series processors that are unlocked. The branding A4/A6/A8/A10 and model suffix unfortunately do not tell you anything important about the product (like number of cores, clock frequency), and so matches Intel in that respect. The Radeon graphics branding is consistent with the desktop cards in terms of performance level offered, but don't confuse the underlying architectures as being the same; the AMD Radeon HD 7660D in the A10 5800K doesn't have much of anything in common with the AMD Radeon HD 7670 (which is an OEM only product, too).
AMD A-series 2nd Generation
So, what are you getting? The new desktop fusion chip brings with it a new platform, Virgo, which replaces last year's Lynx platform. Lynx was home to Llano, the first generation APU which housed four CPU cores and a GPU, bringing together all that AMD had learned about STARS from their Opteron, Athlon and Phenom lines. The GPU for Llano was derived from the first generation DX11 architecture (Terascale 2 / VLIW5 as seen in the Evergreen series of Radeon HD 5000 products) but was cleverly labeled an AMD Radeon HD 6550D series, to show that it worked in Dual Graphics mode (CrossFireX) with the AMD Radeon HD 6000 series. Llano also got a new fast memory controller, capable of dual channel 1866Mhz or quad channel 1600MHz. With the CPU and the GPU both using the same memory and memory controller, GPU performance was very responsive to faster RAM. Some models gained Turbo CORE ability to boost the CPU core speeds up when feasible, and the whole package was TDP managed in favor of the graphics core. Lynx was the new platform codename, building around a new chipset called Hudson (branded as A55 and A75) featuring native SuperSpeed USB 3.0 amongst other things, with a new socket, FM1, not compatible with anything before, and as it turns out, after.
Trinity is launching with an A85X top end platform, and AMD is updating A75 and A55 for the new FM2 socket. FM2 touted to be the future long(er) life socket for AMD APUs, which is good for consumers but possibly not so good for HSA future features unless AMD can adopt a rolling socket compatibility akin to what they did with AM2/AM2+/AM3/AM3+. A85 gets more SATA 3 ports, and all platforms get more display connectivity as Trinity APUs support 3 display Eyefinity, 4 displays using DisplayPort streaming technology.