AMD’s Computex 2011 conference just wrapped up. Computex is not AMD’s traditional grounds for major new announcements – they’d rather have their own events for that – but alongside OEM testimonials about how well their AMD products are doing, AMD did give us a couple new details about Llano, Bulldozer, and beyond.


Llano is not launching at Computex, but it’s launching quite soon. Anyone who knows the specific date is no doubt under NDA, but AMD has publically stated that it will be launching in June. Llano is of course AMD’s first higher-performance APU, implementing AMD’s current K10.5 CPU core alongside one of AMD’s Northern Islands GPUs. It will also be the company’s first 32nm product.

Although it isn’t launching at Computex, AMD did show a very quick demo of Llano running the newly released DiRT 3. As AMD’s strategy is much more GPU heavy than Intel’s, Llano’s success is going to rely a great deal on how good of a case AMD makes for a stronger GPU, as CPU performance will probably lag Intel based on what we’ve seen with existing Phenom II parts. While AMD’s touting the benefits of a higher performance GPU is nothing new – part of Brazos’s appeal is that AMD’s DX11 GPU is quite a bit more powerful than Intel’s GMA GPUs – the significance is greater here because Llano should be powerful enough to compete with recent low-end GPUs, which is to say you should be able to play games at better than low quality settings.


Bulldozer is AMD’s next generation CPU design, which we have eagerly been awaiting for quite some time. The first Bulldozer products will ship in Q3 of this year; meaning anywhere between July and September, which is still within the timeframe laid out by earlier rumors of its delay. Zambezi, as rumors previously indicated, is the codename of the desktop part. Server parts should ship at around the same time.


By the end of this year AMD will have a high-end CPU-only product in Bulldozer, and a mid-range APU in Llano. While this should serve their market needs, the underlying technologies will be quite different, and as we’d expect the two will be coming together.

Trinity: AMD's 2012 APU

While AMD doesn’t use Computex to formally announce major new designs, that didn’t stop them from dropping a surprise on the crowd: Trinity. Trinity will be AMD’s first Bulldozer based APU, combining some variation on Bulldozer with some as-yet-unseen AMD GPU architecture. Trinity has already been in AMD’s labs for a few weeks now and will launch in 2012 as the follow-up to Llano.

On an off-beat note, the name Trinity may have some yet to be seen significance. While AMD does like to name their products after Texas locations, trinity is also a well-known description of a grouping of 3. If it’s not named after Trinity, Texas or Trinity University, perhaps AMD is planning a trinity of their own?

New VISION Branding: A-Series

While as enthusiasts we tend to focus mostly on codenames, when it comes time for a product to reach retail it needs a real name. Although Llano isn’t launching until later this month, AMD used their Computex event to lay out their branding plans for Llano products. Joining the E, C, G, and Z series will be the A series. The A series will be AMD’s retail product branding for Llano products.

AMD APU Series
APU Model Codename Market
AMD C-Series Ontario Low-Power Mobile (9W)
AMD E-Series Zacate Mid-Power Mobile (18W)
AMD G-Series Ontario & Zacate Embedded
AMD Z-Series Desna Tablets (6W)
AMD A-Series Llano Mobile & Desktop

The A series will be broken down into 3 tiers: A4, A6, and A8. At this point we don’t know what the differences will be between the tiers, but it’s safe to assume there will be some cache, GPU, and CPU differences between the tiers, based on what we’ve seen AMD do with their existing series.

AMD A-Series
APU Tier Codename Configuration
A4 Llano ?
A6 Llano ?
A8 Llano ?

We must admit though that we find AMD’s choice on naming a bit odd here. While Advanced Micro Devices has more than a fair claim to an A-series, Apple and ARM have basically beaten them by 2 years. As a result there will be the AMD A4 standing alongside the Apple A4 (based on the ARM A8), and the AMD A8 standing alongside the ARM A8. Llano is not at risk of being confused with the aforementioned SoCs given the performance and power differences, but it’s not the most unique name.

On the other hand, the fact that AMD’s 3 tiers are 1 digit higher than Intel’s respective i3/i5/i7 tiers will not go unnoticed.

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  • JMS3072 - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    Is it just me, or are the images in this article REALLY low resolution and REALLY compressed?
  • aegisofrime - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    The first picture is a screen grab from Ustream, so quality will naturally be bad. You can see the Ustream logo on the top right.

    The Trinity picture was probably hastily taken with a cellphone camera, cropped and zoomed.
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    They're all from Ustream. Sorry about the quality; hopefully Anand managed to grab something better.
  • aegisofrime - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    Did they say anything about Bulldozer's performance? I have been awaiting Bulldozer for my video encoding rig for quite a while now, but these constant delays have made me lean towards getting a i7-2600K instead. Will the launch in July-September be a hard or soft launch?
  • stmok - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    B0 stepping was under-performing.

    B1 stepping can't scale high enough in speed to match i5/i7 "Sandy Bridge" lines.

    Expect hard launch in September (worse case) with B2 stepping to correct the issue.

    Performance-wise, B1 stepping against Sandy Bridge (clock-for-clock)
    => Bulldozer better in integer performance, but weaker in FPU.
    (Comparison Sandy Bridge processor had to be downclocked!)

    The weaker FPU is intentional. The plan (since 2007) was to implement Bulldozer in APU form. Where the GPU-based IGP takes on a good chunk of the floating point workload via OpenCL or DirectCompute.

    If you can wait. Then wait. If you can't, just go with the i7-2600K.
  • silverblue - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    Do you have any proof to back up these claims? Just curious. :)
  • norwayishot - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    I know I'm about two weeks late...but it is just speculation at this point. However, it's almost certain the AMD's Bulldozer will be significantly weaker than Intel's Sandy Bridge. It's more or less a matter of how much.

    AMD has a ways to go in the CPU department. But his point is very possible - AMD may try to overcome their CPU deficiency by bringing in the other dimension of a graphics processor. Once you consider the GPU, where AMD is light years ahead of Intel, then their mainstream product (for those who otherwise would not get a dedicated card) is much stronger.

    I am looking forward to Trinity - I am hoping it makes PC gaming accessible to everyone.
  • Crazymech - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    Don't you get it? Llano is now coming integrated in Audi's, so your kids can game Dirt 3 while you're cruisin' the Autobahn/Interstate.

    Trolling out of the way, I kinda like the new names, used or not. Just hope they'll differenciate it with more than "HT ON/Off on some models"...
  • stmok - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    "The A series will be broken down into 3 tiers: A4, A6, and A8. At this point we don’t know what the differences will be between the tiers, but it’s safe to assume there will be some cache, GPU, and CPU differences between the tiers, based on what we’ve seen AMD do with their existing series."

    => Based on what I've seen...

    2011 mainstream APU line (Llano desktop)
    A8-xxxx = quad-core + Radeon HD 6550 (400 stream cores)
    A6-xxxx = quad-core + Radeon HD 6530 (320 stream cores)
    A4-xxxx = dual-core + Radeon HD 6410 (160 stream cores)

    P-versions => eg: A8-3560P = 100W TDP
    Non-P-versions => eg: A8-3560 = 65W TDP

    There will also be a neutered E2-xxxx version that will be marketed under the E-series. It has half the L2 cache of the A4-xxxx and lower clocked in IGP. (Sits right between E-series Zacate and A-series Llano APUs.)

    2012 mainstream APU line (Bulldozer-core => codename "Piledriver")
    Trinity => Replace Llano-based A8-series.
    Weatherford => Replace Llano-based A6-series.
    Richland => Replace Llano-based A4-series.

    The chipsets from 2011 to 2012 will likely remain the same. The socket format may change in spec. ie: Revision 2 or "+" label.
  • MonkeyPaw - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    I think the 4,6,8 is related to core counts.

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