AMD A8-3850 Llano APU and Lynx Platform Preview - HotHardware

AMD A8-3850 Llano APU and Lynx Platform Preview

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We have already stepped through many of the technical details of Llano in our coverage of the mobile platform, but we’ll touch on some of the high level details again here.


Llano APU Die Map

Llano, in its current form, consists of four AMD “Stars” class CPU cores fused with a “Redwood” class, Radeon HD 6000-series GPU core, with up to 400 stream processors. Although based on similar CPU cores, the L3 cache used on current Phenom II processors has been eliminated, but the L2 cache per core has been increased from 512K to 1MB. Llano-based APUs are manufactured using Global Foundries’ 32nm HKMG process and consist of roughly 1 Billion transistors. In addition to the CPU and GPU cores, a northbridge and dual-channel DDR3 memory controller reside on-die, along with AMD’s UVD video engine, 24 lanes of PCI Express Gen 2 connectivity, and various digital display interfaces.


Llano's "Sumo" Integrated APU

As we’ve mentioned, the graphics core used in Llano is derived from existing DirectX 11-class Radeon GPUs, so the above block diagram should look familiar to regular HotHardware readers. In the A8-3850 APU we’ll be looking at today, 400 shader or Radeon cores are present. They’re arranged in five SIMDs, with texture units and L1 caches attached. Other A-Series APUs will be offered with 320 Radeon cores as well, which means one of the integrated GPU’s SIMDs will be disabled. The command processor, graphics engine, and dispatch processor, as well as the UVD 3 video engine and display controller configurations found in discrete Radeon GPUs are all present here. In fact, the GPU core in Llano (which itself if codenamed “Sumo”) is very similar to the “Redwood” GPU at the heart of the Radeon HD 5670. The GPU is linked to the APU's northbridge and ultimately the CPU cores through the Radeon Memory Bus and a new Fusion Compute Link, but AMD is keeping details of said link quiet for now.

To connect Llano to the rest of a system AMD is also readying a couple of new desktop chipsets, the A75 and the A55. The combination of a Llano APU with A-Series chipset-based motherboard is what AMD is calling the “Lynx” platform.


AMD A75 Chipset Diagram

We’ve got a block diagram of the A75 chipset for you here, but the A55 is very similar. The A75 offers six SATA 6GB/s ports, with RAID 0,1,10 support and FIS based switching, HD Audio, 4x1 PCI Express Gen 2 lanes, 4 USB 3.0 ports, 10 USB 2.0 ports, and 2 USB 1.1 ports. In addition there are SD and IR controllers present, PCI support (for up to three slots), and mSATA support. The A55 is similar except that its SATA ports are of the 3GB/s variety and it doesn’t offer FIS based switching or native USB 3.0 support, so 14 of its ports are USB 2.0. The chipset connects to the APU using AMD’s Unified Media Interface (UMI), which offers 2GB/s of bandwidth.

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Terrific review Marco, very thorough!

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Yesterday during the HP/AMD training I attended for work they explained to us some of the details about their upcoming APU. It was very interesting and your review was able to show things in much better detail. Thanks for the extensive review and benchmarks.

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"Bulldozer please ! It doesn't make sense for me to explain the flaws or repeat what Marco said in the conclusion. Llano is not for me, its too weak and still cant compete with a dual core Sandy Bridge chip, that says a lot.

"So, a couple of questions though, the AMD A8-3850 doesn't turbo higher than 2.9? Can it be overclocked? And last, to clear a confusion, will Bulldozer Chips have integrated GPUS?"

-Optimus

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"The part that I was most impressed with , was the Cyberlink's Media Show Espresso Encoding test, particularly, the W/O Hardware accelaration against the i5-2500, Yes, it took One full minute, but thats quite impressive considering that the AMD A8-3850 is clocked at 2.9, yet you have to factor in , that the i5-2500 turbos up to 3.7, thats a 800MHz advantage, and the AMD A8-3850 beat the Phenom X4 980 at 3.8. "

-Optimus

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$200 is a pretty attractive price point for a system that can handle modern games. And considering that includes the motherboard, processor and gpu, how much easier could it get to upgrade an older system ( as in my Athlon X2 4400 and 7200 gts).

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thanks for the most thorough review and evaluation.I think that the AMD A8-3850 is going to be very successful.Not going to be a problem using 450W [bronze] PSU with these builds and sure to please mainstream folks.A Multimedia user experience that's expected here is delivered ...at a great price.

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That was a extremely through review. I agree that I think AMD will be able to compete with Intel with these chips. Obviously they concentrated more on GPU performance than CPU performance so if applications are optimized to use the power of the GPU then they will run even better on the AMD chips. It would be interesting to know how much of a limit is created by the software we are running versus the hardware.

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I was just thinking of some of the neighbors [soccer mom & dad types] this affordable platform would be perfect for them and the younger kids in the their home.Especially on a affordable rig built by members in HH  as opposed to 'big box' store.My new neighbor runs landscaping crews he could care less about benchmarks and such.But he would be very interested in an updated modern  affordable pc with multimedia capabilities such that this platform provides at price he can afford.For general family use pc.That's very efficient..Heck could even get his 12 year old step son to build it.

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There is no mention of Eyefinity, does this mean there is no support for it? :( That's quite a deal breaker for me.

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Schmich:

There is no mention of Eyefinity, does this mean there is no support for it? :( That's quite a deal breaker for me.

check out those mainboards [Crossfire -ready] and add a vid card plenty of choice out there for Eyefinity and budget

Note : may have to bump the PSU to 650W but that depends

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