Intel Ivy Bridge vs AMD Trinity head-to-head review

We compare the design, performance, business features, availability and price to see which chipset you should invest in.

AMD hasn't unveiled its desktop Trinity parts, with laptops boasting the new cores slated to hit the market in the next few weeks.

Trinity won't be available in Ultrabooks, but this doesn't mean AMD's latest chips won't be found in slimline machines. HP is releasing its own "SleekBook" machines that share many of the same desirable attributes, and we've no doubt other firms will follow suit.

AMD's selection of Trinity-based parts isn't as extensive, with no workstation-specific parts to compete with Intel's Xeons. There's still plenty to choose from on the consumer side, however. Laptop users can pick from two mid-range, dual-core A6 parts, a single, more powerful A8 chip with four cores, and two top-end, quad-core A10 parts.

Clock speeds range from 2.7GHz at the bottom end to 2GHz at the top, but don't let the lower speed fool you the increased number of cores and improved Turbo Boost performance will more than make up the difference. Each mobile part has a dedicated graphics core, ranging from the Radeon HD 7520G at the bottom with 192 stream processors to the HD 7620G, with its 384 stream processors, at the top.

Six Trinity-based processors will soon be available for desktops. The budget A4-5300 sits at the bottom of the range, and is paired with the Radeon HD 7480D graphics core. There's a single A6 chip, too, but the bulk of AMD's desktop offering is made of quad-core A8 and A10 chips, which range in speed from 3.2GHz to 3.8GHz. The latter speed is reserved for the A10-5800K, which can Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz, and it also includes the HD 7660D graphics core, which includes 384 stream processors and is faster than any of the firm's Trinity-based mobile GPUs.

Winner - Intel - Ivy Bridge has a slight headstart on the AMD and there are more options available especially when it comes to high performance requirements of enterprises.

Pricing

Traditionally AMD's strong suit has been value, and we've no doubt that will continue, especially with its A4 and A6 chips towards the budget end of the market. However, Intel's Core i3 and Core i5 range should provide strong competition at similar cost.

Prices for laptops and desktops based on Trinity and Ivy Bridge are few and far between, with devices using these chips largely yet to appear. Indications from AMD's own materials, though, suggest it could win the value battle: the firm intends its A4-series chips to sit below the Core i3 in the marketplace, with prices starting at $379 - around $80 less than it anticipates Core i3-based devices costing.

At the top end, AMD is also trying to cut prices when compared to Intel: AMD reckons its A10-series chips will appear in devices starting at $699 dollars, with Core i7-based machines costing a little more. When it comes to prices, though, there really isn't much in it. The buying decision will come down to the device itself and how it will be used, with AMD leading on its graphics performance but Intel striking back with pure processing power.

Winner - AMD - Trinity chipsets should be cheaper than Ivy Bridge counterparts, so users will have to decide whether they need the extra processing power provided by Intel.

IT PRO VERDICT

Verdict

Intel Ivy Bridge beats AMD's Trinity in our head-to-head when it comes to performance, business benefits and availability. AMD is still a winner when it comes to pricing and design of the chips was declared a draw. If you're after a more rounded level of performance and will be working extensively with graphical applications, then it's worth seeking out a desktop or laptop boasting AMD's latest. For everyone else, though, the breadth, power and dominance of Intel's range is hard to beat - and it's for those reasons that we'd recommend Ivy Bridge.

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