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Small "gaming capable" Laptop (Trinity vs. GT540m)

Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:15 am

Its been nearly 5 years since I bought my last laptop and while its still pretty functional it has some fairly severe limitations I'm looking to address (battery life, hardware accelerated video decode, and gaming performance). I've been saying that I want a Trinity powered AMD ultrabook equivalent but I've been looking at some of the smaller laptops out there with a GT540m in them and thinking they might work really well for similar or less money without having to wait any longer...

I know this is speculation but how do you guys think the Trinity IGP will stack up against a GT540m?

I will miss the undoubtedly smaller form factor of the Fusion based design but on the other hand I look at all the upgrades I've done to my trusty Asus F9Dc (SSD, memory, LCD, battery, wifi, and CPU!) and want to make sure that my new laptop will be as tweakable. I'm also beginning to think that I might prefer the 13.3" size over the 11.6" size for daily use so the portability of the "ultrAMDbook" might not be as big of an advantage anyway...

What do you think?
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Re: Small "gaming capable" Laptop (Trinity vs. GT540m)

Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:21 pm

I'd think the dedicated memory of the gt540m would make a big difference. fwiw i have the asus u46sv and it runs dirt3 at 1366x768 medium settings and 2x aa just fine.
Last edited by TDIdriver on Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Small "gaming capable" Laptop (Trinity vs. GT540m)

Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:57 pm

My laptop has an i5 and a 540m.

I can run Skyrim on "high", lag free for the most part.
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Re: Small "gaming capable" Laptop (Trinity vs. GT540m)

Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:01 pm

Well Trinity isn't out yet so its difficult to comment on anything. And in the Trinity timeframe, Ivy Bridge + Kepler notebooks will be out as well.
I would say I would wait a bit for both of these next-gen platforms to come around as they seem to not be far off.
I think while Trinity would work well, I am not sure if any of the OEMs will put AMD chips in a premium chassis.
They all seem to utilize AMD only as a lower-cost option, putting AMD chips in a lower cost design.
Even with Llano, it was difficult to find really good laptops with Llano in them.
For example, even though USB 3.0 is featured in the A70 chipset, many Llano laptops lacked USB 3.0 preferring to use the slightly cheaper A50 chipset instead.
I also did not see any OEM offering, say, laptops with SSD or good screens with Llano.
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Re: Small "gaming capable" Laptop (Trinity vs. GT540m)

Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:05 pm

If you believe the claims, Trinity's APU will be up to 56% faster than Llano.

This means that compared to Llano, which was on average* about 19% slower than a 540M, Trinity could be up to 26% faster than a 540M, on average.

Of course, this doesn't take into account resolution and detail variables, real-world performance of the shipping part, CPU performance, or the fact that you can't buy a Trinity laptop now but you can buy one with a 540M (or the even faster 555M). It also assumes the best-case performance increase as quoted by the manufacturer, so a more realistic expectation is that Trinity's APU will be between 0-26% faster than a 540M.

* Disclaimer: I have omitted Starcraft II results from my analysis, as it is much more CPU-bound than the other games tested. I expect a Trinity to be slower in Starcraft II than a Sandy Bridge with a 540M, or at best, level with it (depending on SKU and clockspeeds).

EDIT: Here are the figures, using the 56% as a baseline improvement from Llano to Trinity across the board (which is optimistic)
        540M   Llano   Trinity  540M %   Llano %   Trinity %
BBC2      46.4   37.3   58.188   100.00%   80.39%   125.41%
Dirt 2    63.8   43.2   67.392   100.00%   67.71%   105.63%
L4D2      55.5   48.6   75.816   100.00%   87.57%   136.61%
MafiaII   35.8   30.4   47.424   100.00%   84.92%   132.47%
ME2       48.8   42.1   65.676   100.00%   86.27%   134.58%
Metro 2033 29   26.9   41.964    100.00%   92.76%   144.70%
Stalker   66.8   46.7   72.852   100.00%   69.91%   109.06%
AVERAGE                          100.00%   81.36%   126.92%
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Re: Small "gaming capable" Laptop (Trinity vs. GT540m)

Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:21 pm

Well, you have a couple different directions you could take on this, given what you mentioned your desires are. While the data isn't available yet, I would suspect the Trinity solution will be kinder on batteries. However, if you care considering Trinity, you are waiting till Ivy Bridge and Kepler should be out. They should create a significantly more powerful system, especially if you are into video decode. They should also be better on power than current options because of 22nm process. Trinity will be cheaper.

Beyond those considerations, you'll just have to see once the chips are released and see actual performance and determine whether it is worth the costs.

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