You didn't think AMD was going to let Intel get all the cool new processor attention with Ivy Bridge, did you? AMD's latest and greatest is now: Trinity. It's runs fast, cool, efficiently, and packs some terrific graphical tricks.
To put it simply, Trinity is about graphics. The chip packs a significant CPU upgrade, of course—by 29 percent, AMD claims—but they say the real muscle comes with the built-in GPU. The Radeon HD 7000, stuffed onto the same silicon, provides GPU acceleration for a huge swath of applications you're probably using every day. This frees up CPU power, and allows CPU and GPU to tag team heavy software to squeeze as much performance out of your laptop as possible. The first batch of Trinity chips will be topped off by the A10-4600M, with four CPU cores, a base clock speed of 2.3 Ghz, and 4 MB of L2 cache. AMD's also dropping a super thin and efficient (you might say ultra) model, the A10-655M, which will power new tinybooks with two cores at 2 Ghz and a 4 MB L2 cache.
AMD's teamed with developers to make sure programs like Photoshop, Handbrake, VLC, WinZip, and every major browser get a swift kick in the ass from Trinity's graphical guts, along with beefed up HD video playback. The GPU acceleration uses an open standard, too, so you can bet AMD is pushing more devs to team up.
It's an interesting approach—AMD is essentially ceding the CPU war to Intel as pointless, with the presumption that GPU acceleration is going to matter more in the long run. A war they can win, having absorbed the Radeon mojo. We'll have to wait until independent benchmarks come in to see whether Trinity delivers what AMD's promising, but it's an exciting way to think about computing, and one it's sort of betting the farm on.