AMD Trinity Test Platform
So onto the crux of the matter – how do these new chips perform when in an actual laptop?
We were provided with a test laptop running the range topping A10-4600M APU. This had been crammed into a 14in chassis, but far from being a sleek and portable slice of desire, it's a fairly utilitarian looking largely plastic slab that's well over an inch thick. Still, it's only meant for testing the underlying hardware and what's more within that frame it has a Blu-ray drive, VGA and HDMI video outputs, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, an ExpressCard slot, a memory card reader, Ethernet and both headphone and microphone jacks. It also has 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. Consider the space you could save taking out the Blu-ray drive, and several of those ports and you could conceivably make a relatively slim machine with this core hardware configuration.
The combination of the high-end chip and SSD means this machine should outperform a great many equivalently sized laptops, and is perhaps a little unreflective of the sort of system you're likely to encounter but it still gives us a strong indicator of real world performance. Literally powering the system is a 4400mAh battery, which is about typical for this size of machine.
Now, finding a system to compare this one to was a bit tricky as few systems pack quite the same balance of components but we've picked what we think is a reasonably representative set. We've got a lower power Sandy Bridge chip being used by the archetypal Ultrabook the Asus ZenBook UX31, the a more direct competitor with a faster Sandy Bridge in the Lenovo ThinkPad X220 and finally we've chosen a superfast, quad core Sandy Bridge equipped HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea Beats Edition desktop replacement laptop that also includes a dedicated AMD Radeon HD 6490M graphics card.
We'll fess up that we simply haven't been able to source an Ivy Bridge test system for comparison in time for this review but we'll of course revisit the topic when we get our hands on an Ivy Bridge system. Having perused various other sources, we also have a good grasp on what we're likely to see for CPU, GPU and to a certain extent battery life from such systems too.
Here's the full comparison list:
So without further ado, onto the testing!