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On the Trinity

QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,765Member Uncommon

Desktop launch day for AMD's new Trinity APUs has arrived.  CPU performance is a little shy of what I expected.  Thankfully, prices are also a little shy of what I expected.

The interesting bins are the quad cores with 100 W TDPs.  The A10-5800K (3.8 GHz base, 4.2 GHz turbo, full graphics) is $122.  The A8-5600K (3.6 GHz base, 3.9 GHz turbo, 2/3 graphics) is $101.  The Athlon X4 750K (3.4 GHz base, 4.0 GHz turbo, no graphics) is $81.  Or at least that's the MSRP.  E-tailers didn't seem to get the memo on that, though.  The A10-5800K is $130 on New Egg and Tiger Direct, and $140 on Amazon.

As expected, the A10-5800K with integrated graphics immediately becomes the APU of choice if you're looking to build a gaming system on a ~$500 budget.  On a slightly larger budget, the Athlon X4 750K is immediately the best choice for budget processor that you're going to pair with a discrete card.  Or at least, it will be as soon as it shows up for sale, since no one seems to have it in stock at the moment.  The 4 GHz turbo means it's guaranteed to be able to run at 4 GHz at least part of the time, so overclocking it to run at 4 GHz all of the time should be completely safe.

The launch of a new platform often means expensive motherboards.  Thankfully, that doesn't seem to be the case today.  The A55 and A75 chipsets are older, while the A85X chipset is the new one.  I think the A75 is the right chipset for most people, as it gets you modern amenities such as USB 3.0 and SATA 3, without the added expense of the A85X.  The A85X also supports CrossFire, but if a single Radeon HD 7870 or GeForce GTX 660 isn't good enough for you, then you really should look at a Core i5-3570K, not Trinity.

Oddly, AsRock and BioStar are the only motherboard manufacturers with A75 chipset, Socket FM2 motherboards available on New Egg at the moment.  Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI also have Socket FM2 motherboards available, but just not with the A75 chipset.  Hopefully that changes shortly, but for now, AsRock has you covered.

$66 including shipping for a motherboard that will work and has everything you need for a low end system:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157331

Again, that includes USB 3.0 and SATA 3, though with only two memory slots and not much power delivery, it is decidedly low end.  Or $87 including shipping for a full-featured motherboard:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157333

Eight rear USB ports, three monitor ports, four memory slots, onboard USB ports (including 3.0 ports), PS/2, eSATA, and various overclocking goodies.  And it's cheap.  On launch day.

There are no surprises on the architecture side, since it's the same silicon as released for laptops in May.  Intel still owns the high end, but AMD once again owns the budget gaming space.

Comments

  • miguksarammiguksaram Fort Meade, MDPosts: 826Member Uncommon

    So I'm now doing a full rework on my wife's photoshop computer.  She has decided she is no longer interested in using it for gaming in any way shape or form thanks to our kids.  It's sole purpose will be for standard PC use (Windows/MS Office Apps/Web surfing) plus Photoshop 6.0.

    So my question is would it be feasible to attempt to build a system with this purpose in mind without a dedicated GPU and instead use one of these new AMD CPUs?  What type of performance hit should I expect should I decide to go this route?

    I should mention the reason we are considering going this route is because she would prefer to ulitize a MUCH smaller footprint than a standard SFF case.  The following being an example of what I mean:

    http://www.amazon.com/Antec-ISK110-VESA-Mini-ITX-Case/dp/B0064LWISQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349263048&sr=8-1&keywords=ISK110

    If this is feasable the plan is to network this to my FT-02 for mass storage of the larger photos which should eliminate the need for an external HDD or large USB drives.

    Without more research than I currently have time for (heading to bed for the evening) the official page doesn't really give me a warm fuzzy.  Mainly because it is so vague by listing full series of cards rather than those that actual meet the requirements.

    http://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/photoshop-cs6-gpu-faq.html

     

    One of my main concerns is a quick search appears to favor HT for CS6 which means an i7 might actually be worth the investment and ultimately a dedicated GPU would in fact be the way to go.

    Therefore if a more standard SFF build (Mini ITX/mATX) will ultimately provide a MUCH better experience with the idea of gaming performance out the window we are still very open to that idea.  As always, thanks!

  • RidelynnRidelynn Fresno, CAPosts: 4,163Member Uncommon

    http://www.billfrymire.com/blog/multi-threading-in-photoshop/

    This may help a bit - it looks like Photoshop is fairly well multithreaded, and can basically take advantage of however many cores you can throw at it, but not all functions are threaded equally, and some functions can use more cores than others.

    That does mean that HT would be of some benefit - but keep in mind, the benefits of HT on the Core i7 adds up to about 1-2 extra core's worth of performance, and only when using functions or filters that can benefit from additional cores.

    I don't know if an 8-core AMD CPU would compete favorably or not, given the differences in architectures. Looking at Anandtech's CPU Benchmarks, and comparing an i7 3770k, A10-5800k, FX-8150, and i5 2500k (they don't have a 3570k for testing) - the i7 is the clear winner in their Photoshop CS4 tests. The difference between the i7 and the i5 (not accounting for the inherit difference between Sandy and Ivy bridge) isn't much - 12sec vs 10sec (or about 1 full core's worth of performance, but that could also be accounted for by the difference between Ivy and Sandy). The FX-8150 comes in at 14sec, and the A10 at 18sec. This test is fairly generic, and may not be the best demonstration of multicore performance, as noted by the first article which shows that not all filters and functions are multithreaded to the same degree.

    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/CPU/2

    As far as GPU acceleration - basically any GPU at all will work (including integrated APU's, from the listing). The faster the GPU, the more benefit you will get out of it, obviously. The GPU acceleration only works for certain functions though, and those are listed in the page you link. So depending on how heavily your wife relies on some of those functions, and how much time she spends waiting on them, would influence how much GPU horsepower you would need to throw at it.

    Off the cuff, I would say just start our running off Intel or AMD Trinity APU graphics and see if that's enough for acceleration, and if it's not then add a dedicated card of the appropriate level.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,765Member Uncommon

    It depends on what level of performance you need.  For Windows, Office, web browsing, and so forth, anything except Atom and possibly Bobcat would have all the performance you need.  An A10-5800K would easily do fine there.

    For Photoshop, Trinity could easily be a large upgrade or a large downgrade, depending on what you're using now.  It now uses OpenGL and OpenCL to accelerate things, and not CUDA.  A Core i7-3770K would crush an A10-5800K in pure CPU performance, which is all that matters if you're pairing it with a high end video card.

    But in an ultra small form factor, you're stuck with integrated graphics.  Intel integrated graphics aren't going to work for GPU acceleration.  Four Ivy Bridge cores beat four Piledriver cores, but lose badly to four Piledriver cores plus 384 AMD VLIW4 shaders if you can put the shaders to good use.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/photoshop-cs6-gimp-aftershot-pro,3208-13.html

    That compares a laptop Sandy Bridge dual core to Llano A8-3850.  A Core i7-3770K might triple the performance of the Sandy Bridge dual core shown there, but in several of the benchmarks, that's not enough to catch Llano, let alone Trinity.  An A10-5800K should typically beat an A8-3850 by 1/5 or 1/4 or 1/3 or some such.

    On the other hand, 100 W isn't terribly friendly to ultra small form factors.  For that, you might want one of the 65 W bins, such as an A10-5700.  Unfortunately, the 65 W quad cores seem to be OEM-only at this point.  Still, you could get an A10-5800K and underclock and undervolt it yourself to bring the power consumption down if you need to.  Some Llano parts used crazy overestimates on TDP, but Trinity doesn't--and using the full stated TDP is responsible for a considerable fraction of Trinity's performance increases over Llano.

  • RidelynnRidelynn Fresno, CAPosts: 4,163Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Quizzical

    But in an ultra small form factor, you're stuck with integrated graphics.  Intel integrated graphics aren't going to work for GPU acceleration.  Four Ivy Bridge cores beat four Piledriver cores, but lose badly to four Piledriver cores plus 384 AMD VLIW4 shaders if you can put the shaders to good use.

    Actually, it can use Intel Integrated graphics:

    From their CS6 FAQ:
    Intel Intel HD Graphics, Intel HD Graphics P3000, Intel HD Graphics P4000

    Now I wouldn't expect much from that, but the support is there. And it appears to cover pretty well all of Intel's Integrated lineup (the PXXX graphics are found on workstation Xeon chips, regular HD is what is found on consumer-level chips, however I don't know if that only specifies the original "HD" found on the low end chips and disqualifies the HD2/3/4k found on the Core lineup, but I seriously doubt they would support the most basic entry level chips and not the mid-level (although this is Intel, they do some stupid driver stunts))

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,765Member Uncommon

    Maybe it can offload some things to Intel graphics and not others.  Intel graphics don't support recent versions of OpenGL; Ivy Bridge graphics only managed to catch up to GeForce 8000 and Radeon HD 2000 series cards there--and that's actually a large improvement in API support over Sandy Bridge.  Apparently Ivy Bridge graphics do nominally support OpenCL, but I have no idea how well it will work.  If Intel can't be bothered to deliver working drivers for more widely used APIs, then I'm skeptical that they'd put a lot of work into OpenCL drivers.

  • CleffyCleffy San Diego, CAPosts: 4,623Member Uncommon
    I think Trinity could be substantially more appealing if some laptop tech made its way into the desktop like powering down discrete video cards when they are not needed.  A trinity processor would be able to keep it powered down for almost everything except for games, and OpenCL applications.  Trinity also has a really low idle TDP of 32 w.
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,765Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Cleffy
    I think Trinity could be substantially more appealing if some laptop tech made its way into the desktop like powering down discrete video cards when they are not needed.  A trinity processor would be able to keep it powered down for almost everything except for games, and OpenCL applications.  Trinity also has a really low idle TDP of 32 w.

    The notion of "idle TDP" doesn't make sense.  TDP = Thermal Design Power, and is how much power a cooling mechanism is designed to safely dissipate.  A processor gets rated with a TDP saying, "you need to have a cooling system capable of dissipating this much heat safely".  Heatsinks and fans can dissipate the same amount of heat regardless of how hard the processor is working.

    You probably mean idle power consumption, in which case, Trinity itself is probably only a few watts.  I don't know where you found the 32 W figure, but it's probably a measurement at the wall of total system power consumption, and most of it gets eaten up by the motherboard, hard drive, and power supply inefficiency.

    Discrete switchable graphics such as you describe can be done, but it has some major disadvantages, just like in laptops.  One is that you lose several percentage points off of your performance, due to the need to copy every frame from the video card to the integrated graphics before you can display it.  Another is driver problems, as has plagued discrete switchable graphics in laptops since the beginning.

  • miguksarammiguksaram Fort Meade, MDPosts: 826Member Uncommon
    Well after much deliberation and careful research (which of course included what was said in this thread) the wife and I decided going the discrete GPU route was the best option.  Ultimately performance won out over form factor (although we did go MATX) and in the end I am VERY happy with what we decided upon.  Pics to follow in a new thread for those that are interested.
  • ZorgoZorgo Deepintheheartof, TXPosts: 2,226Member

    I was dumbfounded when I read this title:

    could it be that quizzical was actually writing a pro/con thread on the merits of the trinity combat system in mmos? It can't be.....

    It wasn't - it was a tech update. (Sigh of relief) The world is as it should be.

     

    Thanks for the info!

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,765Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Zorgo

    could it be that quizzical was actually writing a pro/con thread on the merits of the trinity combat system in mmos? It can't be.....

    I make a good number of posts arguing about various game mechanics, too, though those tend to get buried in faster moving forum sections.

    Of course, I wouldn't make a thread about pros and cons of trinity combat.  My thread would just be cons and other cons of trinity combat.

  • zeropridezeropride gonzales, LAPosts: 21Member

    Trinity is pretty nice but im waiting for the excavator apu and hsa then using  ddr3-2133 ram. Should provide epic performance.

     

    Anyone going the APU route early should be using ddr3-2133 ram. 

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=amd_trinity_ddr3&num=2

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,765Member Uncommon

    Excavator is likely to be paired with DDR4, not DDR3.  It's really just a question of when DDR4 will be ready.

    While pairing Trinity with 2133 MHz DDR3 memory will improve graphical performance, that's also a form of overclocking.  If you're going to overclock, then have at it, but you should recognize that that's what you're doing.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,765Member Uncommon

    New Egg has more Socket FM2 motherboards now.  In particular, MSI and Gigabyte have jumped in with A75 chipset boards.  How's this for a budget board:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130662

    Low end, yes.  But it's still functional, with SATA 3, USB 3.0 (both onboard and rear panel), and eight (!) rear USB ports.  And a price tag of only $60 plus $7 shipping, which is good for the people on a severe budget who should be looking at Trinity in the first place.

    Meanwhile, New Egg still doesn't have 65 W quad core bins.  Tiger Direct does, though, so they're out there for people who want them.  Still no Athlon X4 750K, at least in the US.  One British site lists it for sale, so hopefully it will show up soon:

    http://www.eclipsecomputers.com/product.aspx?code=CPA-AD750KB

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