When Trinity chips eventually land this year (if ever) it’ll be a better chance for AMD to woo system builders into considering a desktop with a Piledriver-based APU and possibly will even entice developers fiddling around with the OpenCL acceleration to actually consider giving it a real go. Of course, not all parts manufactured in the fabrication labs of TSMC have the same yields or are without their defects, so AMD’s preparing for this eventuality by resurrecting the Athlon II line yet again.
The new chips will be quad-core parts, two with a locked multiplier, that either have the on-die GPU disabled or cut out completely. Hit the jump for more info if you’re eyeing a FM2 build to replace your ageing AM2/AM2+/AM3 setup.
The four quad-cores are destined for use in builds with discrete graphics chips and may be the go-to options if you’d like to reduce any complexity with your setup. The chips include:
Athlon II X4-730; a quad-core, 2.80 GHz clock, 4 MB total cache and a 65W TDP
Athlon II X4-740; also a quad-core, 3.20 GHz clock, 4 MB total cache and the same 65W TDP
Athlon II X4-750K; the last quad-core with an unlocked BClk multiplier, 3.40 GHz clock speed, 4 MB total cache and a 100W TDP to top it all off
Now its a little confusing at first because all these chips are actually the same, with the clock speeds and the unlocked multiplier being the only difference for the X4-750K. Its likely that AMD has imposed a 100W TDP recommendation because they expect many users to overclock their unlocked chip to some degree, some of them with the stock cooler. While the on-die GPU is disabled that doesn’t mean that it takes up less space, which also means that thermal characteristics of the chip now change.
The Trinity chips with the Piledriver improvements will definitely help users get more performance out of their system, but I can’t help but wonder if all this wouldn’t have changed had the company made the transition to 22nm much sooner. Sure, they’re holding out with their cards close to their chest while they wait for the process to mature fully but by the time Trinity/Piledriver reviews are out and temperatures and efficiency are measured compared to Intel Ivy Bridge chips, it won’t matter what plans are in the pipeline or how well OpenCL gets implemented. Right now AMD has to make up for lost time while they chose to not compete with Intel in the high-end and mid-range price points. If they can’t capitalise on opportunities that they may find to get a better foothold in the industry, its a slow but certain decline from mild popularity with system builders and OEMs straight into obscurity.
If you were planning on choosing an AMD chip for your rig its worth the wait to see what improvements Piledriver will bring for both the Trinity, Athlon II and FX desktop chips. I’m told that the mobile parts are performing pretty solidly and definitely fit in well for their price range and performance. Its interesting times ahead for the computer industry and for NAG readers as well!