rAge 2012: AMD’s APU stand – Updated!

Making a turn in by stand #86 I happened upon AMD’s display and was pleasantly surprised by what I could find there. A few products were dedicated to AMD’s new Trinity APU family based on the Piledriver design and a raft of Bulldozer builds sponsored by Evetech, showcasing what is possible with the brand.

Part of the allure of the AMD brand over the years has been that the processors have been good value for money, with AMD putting more of an effort into graphics performance in the years since their acquisition of ATi, One of the products that benefits from this philosophy is their APU processors, combining the CPU and GPU onto a single die. This benefits the system builder since complexity and cooling requirements is reduced and can even be made to perform better than a discrete graphics solution in the mid-range markets. This is where AMD’s APUs made some waves in PC’s built for lightweight gaming and in laptops, where graphical performance in the low-end segment is particularly pitiful. Trinity pushes this up a notch by making laptops even more powerful and in particular, shows Intel who’s boss in a number of games and benchmarks.

HP’s Pavilion G6 was on display with a Street Fighter IV demo being shown. Boasting a quad-core AMD A8-4500M running at 1.9GHz along with an integrated HD7600 GPU, it plays games just fine if you stick to the low settings and 720p resolutions. The G6 takes it a little further with the addition of a discrete HD7640 GPU, pushing up the graphical ability to play Street Figher at 720p with settings on High. Performance was smooth and without stutter, but unfortunately there weren’t any other demos to try out besides 3DMark benchmarks. Going over the rest of the notebook, it comes standard with 6GB of RAM, a 640GB hard drive, DVD-writer and the chassis and keyboard were built quite well, with no creaks or quality issues to speak of. The trackpad did feel a little funny thanks to its textured surface, but I suspect this will hold up better to greasy fingers than other brands.

Also on display was MSI’s All-In-One based on the AMD Brazos 2.0 chipset. Brazos 2.0 is the successor to the original Brazos lineup and boasts slightly higher clocks and a tweaked graphics subsystem. The rig is driven by a 22″ 1080p touch screen with a TN panel, as opposed to the high-resolution IPS displays seen elsewhere. Performance is okay and the GPU could more than drive the basic games that were on display. Sadly, the system felt bogged down thanks to the lack of a SSD, something that would bring a much-needed performance boost to this setup.

The rest of the stand was dedicated to the collaboration with Evetech, with some Bulldozer-based rigs up and running with all the bells and whistles. Dual-graphics was a common theme, with only the very strange rig based off Silverstone’s Fortress FT03 featuring a single Radeon HD7970 paired with the FX-4100. A strange combination, to be sure. Evetech also had a very special NZXT chassis on display, adorned with Agent 47 and advertising Hitman: Absolution, the latest in the series of titles featuring the all-conquering bald assassin.

Stay tuned to NAG Online for more rAge coverage!

Update: I was so busy having my mind blown on the first day of rAge that I completely missed the other side of the AMD stand, so here’s what’s on show to drool over:

Some more motherboards were setup in collaboration with Evetech, showing off AMD’s A8-5600K running on MSI-branded socket FM2 boards with the A75 chipset and the power of integrated graphics. Unfortunately, even with that massive cooler on the board I wasn’t allowed to attempt any overclocking, but performance in Windows 7, zipping around the OS and using some of the apps installed was fluid and fast, thanks in part to the 120GB SSD the company includes with every build. SSDs are now truly mainstream!