AMD A10-4600M review

Is AMD's new Trinity fusion chip for thin-and-light laptops an Intel Ultrabook killer?

AMD Trinity
AMD hopes it's new Trinity processor will make inroads in the thin and light market

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General Benchmarks for test whitebook

  • Cinebench 11.5 2.06pts
  • Battery life 5h 2m

Games and graphics

  • Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim @ 1,280 x 720, 0x AA, high detail 46fps
  • Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim @ 1,366 x 768, 4x AA, ultra detail 25fps
  • World in Conflict @ 1,280 x 720, 0x AA 25fps
  • World in Conflict @ 1,366 x 768, 4x AA 18fps
  • Heaven tessellation benchmark @ 1,280 x 720, 0x AA 18fps
  • Heaven tessellation benchmark @ 1,366 x 768, 0x AA 17fps

Firing up the AMD A10-4600M for the first time is exciting stuff. The key reference points here are AMD's outgoing A8-3500M and one of Intel's dual-core Intel processors for Ultrabooks such as the Intel Core i7-2637M.

On the CPU side, we can make a direct comparison. It's a little trickier regards graphics thanks to our comparison systems having discrete GPUs on board. But with those provisos noted, let's see what she'll do.

First up is the Cinebench 11.5 professional rendering benchmark. It's about as clean and simple a test of raw processing power as you're likely to find. It's also a great metric for measuring the multi-threaded throughput of the latest multi-core PC processors.

The die in detail

The die in detail

The new AMD A10-4600M knocks out a score of 2.06pts. But by the standards of powerful desktop processors, that's pretty weedy. Intel's six-core beasts hit about ten points.

But compared to CPUs for thin and light laptops, the AMD A10-4600M looks quite a bit more clever. It's comfortably has the measure, for instance, of the older AMD A8-3500M, which manages just 1.89 points. The Core i7-2637M, meanwhile, is good for 2.23 points.

Ultimately, then, Intel's finest is a bit quicker. But we'd argue the gap is negligible in real-world,-can-you-actually-feel-the-difference terms. And it's certainly quick enough to make the AMD A10-4600M interesting if it delivers in other areas like battery life and graphics performance.

Regards the former, making comparisons between dissimilar notebooks is hard enough at the best of times. But in the context of a whitebook not intended for sale, it's even trickier. However, the fact that the relatively rough and ready test system survives for over five hours in our wireless internet test (including a little video consumption) is very promising indeed.

As for graphics performance, the comparisons are again a little clouded by the differences in laptop specifications. But we can still get a pretty good idea of what the AMD A10-4600M is capable of. One of the most popular titles of the moment, for instance, is the swords and sorcery epic known as Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

GPU diagram

Trinity's GPU in detail

It's a very expansive and very pretty game, so long as you use high-res texture packs. So configured and running high detail settings and antialiasing disabled, you're looking at a very healtbhy and playable 46 frames per second at 720p.

Up the ante to ultra quality, 4x antialiasing and 1,366 x 768 pixels and you'll still get a near-playable 25 frames per second. No previous integrated graphics core comes close to this. Even Intel's latest HD 4000 core as found in the new Ivy Bridge processor family is barely half as fast.

Admittedly, we still wouldn't recommend the AMD A10-4600M for serious gamers. For that you need a proper discrete graphics chip and some dedicated graphics memory. But in a make-do scenario where you've no choice but to use integrated graphics, it's easily the best currently available.


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