We first laid hands on AMD's Fusion series last February when we reviewed the 18W dual-core Zacate APU, formally known as the E-350. Designed for netbook-like applications, the Zacate APUs brushed aside existing Intel solutions with ease, providing an affordable yet powerful to the then common Atom/Ion combo.
Shortly after Zacate's release, we had an opportunity to test AMD's A8-3850 desktop APU, codenamed Llano, which featured "Husky" CPU cores that were essentially the mobile Phenom II architecture along with Redwood-class integrated graphics (WinterPark for the dual-core variants and BeaverCreek for the quad-core).
Like Zacate, we felt Llano was going to be a success for AMD, and for the most part, it has been a hit among certain users. Granted, Intel still dominates the processor market and its products are generally the way to go if you want the fastest CPU possible. However, AMD's APUs provide an attractive alternative for folks who don't need the horsepower of Ivy Bridge or a discrete GPU, but still want more graphics power than Intel's IGPs.
AMD has continued refining its Fusion offerings, launching its Trinity series four months ago on mobile platforms -- arguably where its APUs provide the most value. Now, the company is finally prepared to offer a desktop version of Trinity, which brings a new socket and a new high-end chipset. Given that Piledriver improved Bulldozer's power consumption, we expect Trinity to be more efficient than Llano, while Cayman's VLIW4 architecture should boost the GPU's speed -- or so we hope.
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