Trinity Laptop Confusion

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I have been trying to make sense of the AMD Trinity laptop processor lineup, but I seem to get confused. I know they have A6, A8, A10 prfixes and suffixes of 3XXX, 4XXX, and maybe more. I thought the A10-4600 was the top end, but now I see an A10-5XXX series talked about. On the otherhand, I thought I read that the latter was a designation for the desktop PC line, not laptops. Needless to say, I'm confused.

I'm looking to get the fastest model they will offer with Dual Graphics. Which, btw, no one seems to offer yet in anything except a lower end model. Any insight someone can shed on my confusion would be greatly appreciated. AMD used to provide a hierarchy of sorts on their site for the older Llano lineup: http://www.amd.com/us/products/technologies/dual-graphics/pages/dual-graphics.aspx#1 But I see nothing like that for the newer Trinity lineup.
 

airanp

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That lenovo is nice, and people have been very satisfied with it. But at the same time understand that with the current HP coupons you could get a dv6t-7000 with an i7-3612QM and 2Gb 650m GDDR5 graphics card for $756 (+tax and shipping of course) which isn't a bad deal at all. Or any other laptop currently. The coupon is NB8342 and it nets you 30% off any customized laptop priced at $999 or higher. You can also get the dv6z with the A10-4600m and a 7730m for like 700 but unless you just really wanted a new trinity laptop the dv6t is a better deal for the performance to price ratio.
 

Maxx_Power

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This summarizes the situation the best for Trinity APUs:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMD_Trinity#Trinity.2C_Weatherford_and_Richland_.28all_32.C2.A0nm.29

The highest one for mobile use is the 4600m. The A10-5xxx series are top of the line DESKTOP chips.

APUs are intended for low end laptops (and desktops), at least <1000 USD. You won't find APUs in very expensive multi-purpose laptops (maybe eventually ultrabooks).

These are the only laptops I can find available with the A10 APU:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&N=-1&isNodeId=1&Description=A10-4600m&x=0&y=0

Some of them also comes with a 7670m (dual graphics capable).
 

airanp

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I've been shopping for the same thing you have for the last couple of weeks and it seems there are two options out there. The first being the customizable HP dv6z-7000 which you can get for a good deal (120 off instantly and coupon code nbr5142 for another 75 off right now) then there is an acer that is sold out everywhere I have looked that has the a10-4600m and 7670m dual graphics but those are the only two I have found as of right now.
 

1405

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Thanks for the links. I never thought of going to Wikipedia. Doh!
Looking at their list of APUs for laptops, makes me scratch my head. No wonder I'm confused. Normally as AMD suffix numbers increase, the processors get more powerful. But in this case the lower numbers are the more powerfull. EX: A10-4600M > A10-4655M.
I have to say, I'm a little dissapointed, tho. I thought the Trinitys would at least get into the low 3GHZ speed range.
 

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Thanks for the tip. I just 'built' a HP A10-4600M/7660G and added the 2GB 7730M GPU for Dual Graphics. (At least I think that makes it a dual graphics machine). Now my question is, what final GPU equivalent do I have? 7660G + 7730M = ?

AMD could have done this a bit less confusing. The CPU ends with an 'M' suffix, the GPU ends with a 'G' suffix. But the add-on GPU ends with an 'M' suffix like the CPU. Sheesh. Too many numbers.
 

airanp

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If you want to use hybrid crossfire you can not get the 7730m. You have to get the 7670m. The 7730m does not support crossfire. As for all the other stuff. The a10-4655m is the low voltage version of the a10-4600m. It is the equivalent of Intel attaching a U to the end of their ULV processor names. The M at the end simply means Mobile, ie laptops mobile processor/graphics and the G as far as I know simply means integrated graphics; sometimes you will also see G2 at the end of the graphics and I believe that means dual graphics equivalent for the Llano chip sets when it is combining integrated and dedicated.

Hope it helps, and hope you didn't buy the HP yet with the 7730m if you wanted to do the hybrid crossfire.

On a side note, please understand that hybrid crossfire is still in its infancy and not all games support it. If you notice that a particular game is not utilizing it you can always create a profile in catalyst and force the use of the 7670m instead of it defaulting to strictly integrated.

-- and 7660g + 7670m = 1% to 2% lower performance than GT 650M according to benchmarks
 

Maxx_Power

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They didn't offer the 7670m with the A10-4600m ? Like airanp said, I'm not sure if you can get dual graphics without that GPU...

HOWEVER, the 7730m should be faster than 7670m+7660G, since it has nearly twice the render backends and shader power than 7670m. The 7730m is based on the HD 7750, which is a new GCN architecture compared to the old 7670m, which is rebranded from the 6670m.

I'd go with the 7730m as you did though.
 

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@maxx_power and airanp
Thanks for all the insight and trying to help me get this nomenclature thru my thick head. No, I didn't order yet. I wasn't sure what I had assembled. Is there something faster than the 7670M that does dual graphics?

I'm a little surprised that one has to be this well studied to order a laptop w/dual graphics capabilities. Especially when there is no information on the site one is ordering from. And with such a limited selection, I may be better off just to wait a little longer. The whole draw of the Trinity to me was the ability to have a decent gamer without spending more than one would for a desktop PC, in order to do it.
The Graphic systems avialable at HP were simply stated:
1) AMD Radeon(TM) HD 7600 Series Discrete-Class Graphics (included) ...which I assume is the built in item.
2) 1GB AMD Radeon(TM) HD 7670M Graphics (+$50)
3) 2GB AMD Radeon(TM) HD 7730M Graphics (+75)

I just figured if a 1GB HD 7670M was better at +$50, the 2GB HD 7730M should be even better at +$75. How's one to know what works as dual graphics and what doesn't? And what combinations are better than others? I already learned that AMD's numerical hierarchy doesn't necessarily relate to faster.

 

Maxx_Power

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The 7730m does not do dual graphics as far as I know. BUT, it is faster than the 7670m alone, and probably faster than 7670m+7660g in dual graphics config too when the game you are using isn't explicitly optimized (or the drivers) for dual graphics rendering. The thing about dual (or more) GPU configurations is that the gaming performance is highly variable depending on driver implementations and game scaling possibilities. With multi-GPU, you also have the problem of microstutters (you can google this) even if the frame rate is high, but it is much worse when the frame rate is low. The dual graphics config in trinity laptops can be best described as a low performance multi-GPU crossfireX. It WILL have microstutter issues in dual GPU mode when the frame rates are low in a given game.

The 7730m is a different animal. It has newer, more efficient shaders, and more shaders than the 7670m, and the combined (nearly so) render back ends of the 7670m+7660g (it has 32 texture units and 16 rops, the 7670m has 24 texture units and 8 rops, the 7660g has 8 rops, not sure how many texture mapping units).

According to average scores, the 7730m scores around 1500 in 3dmark11 at 720p whereas the 7670m scores 1100 in the same settings. The dual graphics mode is about 500 points more than a single 7730m, so around 2000 points. Here is a few links you can get more information on these cards with benchmarks, and different games so you can make direct comparisons.

http://www.notebookcheck.net/AMD-Radeon-HD-7660G-HD-7670M-Dual-Graphics.81173.0.html

http://www.notebookcheck.net/AMD-Radeon-HD-7730M.72678.0.html

Here is a quote of the dual graphics from that same page:

"Therefore the combination also suffers from micro stuttering (different spaces between two images lead to stuttering altough the framerate is high enough for fluent gaming with only one GPU).

The performance of the Dual Graphics solution depends greatly on the driver support for the used games. In some games the performance may even degrade by 10-15% compared to using only the APU graphics card. Therefore, due to the micro stuttering and performance problems, Dual Graphics may impose more problems than bring performance gains."

EDIT: I would go with a 7730m. But if the price gets too high, I would personally go for a core i3 + discrete solution since with the 7730m you don't get dual graphics anyway (even just for the fun of it, if it is usable in your games).
 

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@ maxx_power
Ah... very enlightening. I had totally overlooked the issue of micro-stutter using dual graphics. I guess I didn't realize that they would have to utilize the XF technology. I wrongly assumed that the discrete GPU would simply have its shaders/tex units 'added' to the on-board APU's. Thanks for the info.

I may have to re-think my desire for a Trinity notebook, afterall. The HP build I priced with the A10-4600/7730m came to $675 with the 720p display. I may have to see if I can get an Intel based notebook with comparable/better graphics in that price range, since the draw of dual graphics is fading a bit...
 

airanp

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I see where you are going =) The original thought of dual graphics seemed like such a great deal but the fact that they are not identical graphics cards will of course cause micro stuttering because they are operating at different levels. Everyone I have talked to has said that it really is a moot point though because you will never realize it is stuttering due to it being micro.

The real lure for this type of laptop is for people who can't afford to pay close to or over $1000 for a laptop to do simple gaming. With the 7660g+7670m, according to benchmarks, it's slightly lower performance than a gt 650m. That is a lot of bang for the buck considering there is only one laptop on newegg with a 650m below $1000.

The biggest hindrance that I can see using the dual graphics setup is the game not supporting it. In that instance it would be more beneficial to have the 7730m because it will out pace the 7670m. But other than that if you are going to reconsider AMD and try to find an intel for around $625-$675 I will say good luck =) You may be able to find an i3 or i5 with maybe a 620m or 630m but it will not be able to compete with the trinity set-up for medium level gaming. Now if you were to push out and say $800+ then ya you will be set and easily find an intel based system that easily competes or out paces the sub $700 options.
 

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@ airanp
Yes, AMD's APU/dual graphics are beginning to lose their appeal. And I want to thank you and maxx_power for providing me with insight on the matter. That's why this site is invaluable for research.

I decided to increase my budget a bit. I was able to put together an Intel based Pavilion dv6t-7000 Select Edition Entertainment Notebook on that same HP site with these main points for $795 and free shipping. Unfortunately, an additional 7% sales tax is unavoidable in my state. It's more than I wanted to spend, but I've got time to think it over.
■3rd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-3210M Processor (2.5 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz)
■NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) GT 650M Graphics with 2GB GDDR 5 video memory
■8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)

According to maxx_power's link to Notebook Check, the processor and GPU are a step up from the AMD APU/7730m. Does this upgrade in power seem to be worthy of the increase in cost?
 

Maxx_Power

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I would say yes. That spec looks great for any games I would play. The GDDR5 memory is a huge upgrade from the DDR3 on the 7730m (the 7750m AND 7770m all have GDDR5, just not the 7730m). The GPU core is decent as well. All in all, a hair faster than the fastest Dual Graphics setup, and in every game it will behave similar. Plus, the Intel CPU is fast on CPU intensive games like StarCraft 2, so you should be a lot better off on this configuration.
 

Maxx_Power

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My personal take on this dual graphics thing is that, for a bit more money, you can get something that is not going to hinder in gaming either CPU limited or have driver support/multi-gpu scaling/stutter issues (I tried crossfire a while ago in the 4000 series, and could not stomach the stutter which was very noticeable and updating drivers to see if it would work magic in some games, I suppose with higher model numbers, the stutter should theoretically be smaller, but I didn't have top end 4000 series cards). So for me, suppose I was shopping for a machine of this type, I'd just save a little bit more money over say, another month of pay, and upfront purchase a machine that is a little better in both CPU/GPU performance. But that's me. Others who have the need to buy "now" or have a very "rigid" definition of budget may not agree.

I won't over-do the upfront higher investment idea though, if you push any idea to its extremes, it is insanity.
 

airanp

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That build looks solid. And as maxx stated the processing power of the i5 is better than the a10 so that will help a lot with games that are cpu intensive. As I stated above, the appeal of the trinity with dual graphics is really aimed at those that can not break the $700 budget but still want to play recent games (even if not on max settings) Im glad you were able to raise your budget. But before jumping on your choice please check out http://www.gaminglaptopsjunky.com/recommended-topfastest-gaming-laptops-600-700-800-900-1000/3/ as now that you are not focusing on trinity dual graphics it opens a few doors. Most notably the dv6t-7000 quad edition junky has listed on his site, GT 650M 1GB GDDR5 / i7-3610QM, for $775. There are a few other options, but just wanted to point you in this direction.
 

1405

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@maxx_power
@airanp
Thank you both for your assistance on this. I'm glad I took the time to check in at Tom's first. I think I would have been disppointed if I'd have bought the Trinity now that I have been made aware of the short-comings. I'll wait and save a bit more and go for something like the Intel-based notebook I spec'd at HP. Now all I have to do is decide who gets the 'best answer'... ;)
 

Maxx_Power

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Glad I could help. Cheers!
 

1405

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I was about to make my laptop purchase the HP model in the above discussion and close this thread, when I came across this Lenovo for $849:
http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/LenovoPortal/en_US/catalog.workflow:category.details?current-catalog-id=12F0696583E04D86B9B79B0FEC01C087&current-category-id=AC523278A4F13F27A84F5F5622D1AC7A&action=init
(the lowest priced model on the left)

It appears to be way above the HP in CPU and GPU capability for only slightly more $. Does anyone have an opinion of Lenovo Y850? And how it compares to the HP model I was pricing?
 
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