Last month, Intel released its latest line of processors, the Ivy Bridge series. Now, AMD has countered with its Trinity line of accelerated processing units (or APUs), which is meant to compete directly with the Ivy series. But, while early reviews suggest that Trinity falls short of its Intel counterpart once again, the APU will likely provide a budget alternative for consumers.
Reviews of the Trinity processor line have been generally good, but most give the edge to Ivy Bridge. According to CNET, the Trinity processors demonstrate that AMD "continues to ding Intel on graphics processing unit (GPU) performance ... [but] fails to threaten Intel on CPU speed and power efficiency." Tom's Hardware concurs, stating that the processors "really shine" when it comes to gaming. (The site also has an extensive review of the APU's benchmarks, including results while playing a handful of specific game titles.)
CNET then quotes MKM Partners as saying that the AMD Trinity processors "will likely compete on price rather than performance against Intel's Ivy Bridge," which is of course music to our ears. This would merely continue the already-existing trend however, as AMD-based systems are typically significantly cheaper than a similarly configured Intel-based computer. It should be noted however that Ivy Bridge laptops are seeing startlingly quick, steep discounts since they debuted on dealnews on April 30.
The Trinity processor is also notable because it marks AMD's move to claim a stake in the ultra-light laptop trend. If you were already confused about the difference between an ultrabook and an ultraportable, then get ready for even more marketing terms to further complicate matters.
The ultrabook is an Intel-branded (and loosely-defined term) for ultra-light computers using its Core i-series CPUs. A laptop that features the qualifying specifications, but sports an AMD processor, thus isn't an ultrabook. And so, AMD has been referring to its slim-profile laptops that sport the Trinity APU as "ultrathin." Meanwhile, HP announced a pair of upcoming "Sleekbooks," one of which features an AMD processor. Because of the budget-friendly nature of the Trinity APU, we expect these ultrathin laptops to generally occupy a lower price range than most ultrabooks. For example, the HP Envy Sleekboook 15.6" laptop with AMD will retail for $599.99, while the 14" Intel-based version will cost $699.99.
Regardless of whether you want a svelte laptop or a beefy desktop replacement, AMD's Trinity line of processors will likely offer a cheaper alternative to Intel. Sound enticing? Then be sure to keep an eye on our daily desktop and laptop deals to find discounted Trinity systems as they roll in.