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CES 2012 | AMD demos next-generation Trinity APU for notebooks with Lightning Bolt docking station

AMD reveals a number of new hardware to look forward to this year, including a quad-core APU based on Bulldozer, a new multimedia docking station and a Z-Series-powered Android ICS tablet

Advanced Micro Devices held for us 3 surprises here at Las Vegas: The 2012 quad-core APU codenamed "Trinity", the project codenamed "Lightning Bolt" and the previously reported MSI WindPad 110W running Android 4.0.

First up is the quad-core APU, which promises up to 50 percent more computing power  between the CPU and integrated GPU while practically halving energy consumption compared to the Fusion A-Series. The core itself is based on a modified Bulldozer architecture and will use DX11-compatible integrated Radeon 6000M/7000M graphics cores. AMD demonstrated the power of the Trinity APU by running Dirt 3, transcoding video and displaying video simultaneously without problems with a Trinity-equipped desktop. Except, AMD later pulled open the desktop case and revealed that it was a Trinity-equipped notebook performing all those tasks all along!

AMD went on to explain that that the new quad-core APU will have a low TDP of only 17 watts, significantly less than the current A-Series (around 35 to 45 watts). The chips will target mainstream users with two models planned at launch.

Next up is Lightning Bolt, which according to AMD, is a docking port that allows connectivity with up to four displays, a power adapter, USB 3.0 and possibly a number of others as well.

Compared to the Thunderbolt port, Lightning Bolt is not expected to be as flexible as it will reportedly not support PCI-e over the cable, but as a result may be cheaper to manufacturer and implement. AMD stresses that the docking station will only cost $50 at launch.

Unfortunately, we have no exact release dates for the Trinity processors or Lightning Bolt dock, nor were we allowed to take photos during the session. But, check out the gallery and presentation slide below for a clearer understanding of the Lightning Bolt concept.

For the MSI WindPad 110W, see here for a video of the tablet in action with Android ICS.

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Ronald Tiefenthäler/Allen Ngo, 2012-01-12 (Update: 2012-05-26)