AMD Trinity A10-5800K APU Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: October 9, 2012
Product Name: AMD A10-5800K
Part Number: AD580KWOHJBOX
Warranty: 3 Years
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Additional HD Picture Enhancements

As the market slowly shifts away from desktop-centric system, more and more importance is being put upon the capability (or lack thereof) of mobile platforms to provide a rich entertainment experience. Previous architectures struggled to deliver high quality video streams and simply couldn’t provide the decoding performance necessary for stereoscopic 3D signal processing. Trinity on the other hand takes the improvements from the Llano architecture and improves upon then in a few key areas.

In terms of HD decoding, Trinity’s use of UVD3 doesn’t bring anything new to the table when compared to Llano other than additional performance and enhanced efficiency. This is completely understandable since Llano already had an extensive list of supported codecs and features.

Remember, AMD’s Universal Video Decoder has been around for years and is known as one of the most capable video processing platforms currently available. In its second iteration, UVD took the next logical step forward with an expanded list of accelerated codecs in addition to the ones already in place from past generations.

One of the main features which was added to UVD3 was the ability to decode videos which use MVC encoding. As part of the H264 / MPEG-4 AVC codec, MVC is responsible for creating the dual video bitstreams which are essential for stereoscopic 3D output. Supporting this standard gives AMD’s APUs the ability to process Blu Ray 3D movies through a HDMI 1.4a connector. MPEG-4 Part 2 hardware acceleration for DivX and Xvid codecs has also been added.

While AMD has stayed the course on the HD decoding front, Trinity brings a long list of new output features due to its use of DisplayPort 1.2. DP 1.2 brings to the table multi-stream support for display daisy chaining and enhanced Eyefinity options for up to four simultaneous displays, both of which could come in handy for future AV applications. The new Vision Control Center allows for display grouping as well, giving users the possibility of combining multiple displays to act as a single large display. In addition, the GPU display engine has built-in wireless display compatibility.

Sound output options have been expanded with support for high bitrate 7.1 channel surround sound over HDMI and DisplayPort. This means audio formats such as PCM, AC-3, AAC, DTS, Dolby TrueHD and DTS MA are all included and to add icing on the cake, Trinity can process up to FOUR independent 7.1 audio streams.

As with many of AMD’s current GPU architectures, Trinity has several built-in image quality enhancements which include 4:2:0 color sampling, optimizations for scenes changes audio / video multiplexing and color gamut remapping for wide gamut panels.

All of the new entertainment features have been neatly packaged into a generalized Media Accelerator but this shouldn’t in any way reduce their effectiveness. There are quite a few elements here. AMD Picture Perfect HD boosts contrast, colour and resolution in real time for improved picture quality while Steady Video can be enabled in the Vision Control Panel and will automatically smooth out videos, be they online or from your own hard drive. We’ve already touched upon the Accelerated Video Converter but the most interesting new feature has to be AMD Quick Stream technology.

Quick Stream is an easy marketing name for a complex technology which allows for drastic performance improvements in certain predetermined types of online content. It prioritizes the downstream and upstream internet packets in real time in an effort to accelerate the most demanding workloads (like Youtube video streaming) without negatively impacting general usage scenarios like web surfing.

Unfortunately this option isn’t user controllable but it can be implemented by a manufacturer that wants to put emphasis upon certain online functions. For example, the manufacturer of a gaming motherboard could give priority to Steam and online gaming traffic while minimizing the bandwidth used by Windows updates and general web surfing. Alternately, entertainment PCs may put higher emphasis upon Youtube video priority and other Flash / Silverlight / HTML5 streams.

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