AMD A8-3850 Llano APU and Lynx Platform Preview

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Performance Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: We have a few performance-related metrics to summarize here, namely the AMD A8-3850 APU's performance versus competing offerings form Intel and the performance of all of the A75-based motherboards we tested compared to each other. Let's get the motherboards out of the way first. To put it bluntly, all of the motherboards we tested performed similarly. Because the northbridge, GPU, and some PCIe connectivity all reside on the APU, there is very little that can be tweaked at the motherboard / chipset level to affect overall performance, hence the similar benchmarks scores throughout.

Comparing the A8-3850 to Intel's offerings is a bit more complicated. Clearly, Intel's x86 cores offers better general compute performance. In many cases a dual-core Core i3-2120 was able to outpace a quad-core A8-3850 and the quad-core Core i5-2500 was simply in another class. Factor in integrated GPU performance, however, and the scales tip the other way. The Radeon HD 6550D integrated into the A8-3850 APU is far more powerful than Intel's HD graphics core. In some instances, the A8-3850's integrated Radeon HD 6550D offered more than double the performance of Intels' HD graphics.

There will initially be two Llano-based desktop APUs hitting the market, the A8-3850 we showed you here and a lower-end A6-3650. The AMD A8-3850 (2.9GHz CPU, 600MHz GPU with 400 Radeon Cores, 4MB of L2 cache, 100W TDP) will be priced at $135. The AMD A6-3650 APU (2.6GHz CPU, 443MHz GPU with 320 Radeon Cores, 4MB of L2 cache, 100W TDP) will be priced at $115. Two other APUs will follow shortly thereafter...

The A8-3800 and A6-3600 are lower-clocked, lower-power versions of their counterparts, that support AMD's Turbo Core technology, so their cores can dynamically clock up or down on the fly. Pricing for these two chips wasn't available just yet, but it's not like there's very much guess work to do since only $20 separates the A8-3850 from the A6-3650. Also note that even more affordable dual-core variants are planned, but AMD's not making any official announcements just yet.

At those price points, and the expected affordable price points of A75-based motherboards, AMD's Llano and Lynx platform presents an interesting value proposition. When these parts eventually hit the streets in the coming week(s), a user could score a decent performing quad-core CPU, with very good DX11-class graphics, and a full featured motherboard with bleeding edge tech for right around $200. That's pretty darn cool if you ask us.

Unfortunately, there is just so much to choose from in the desktop space at the moment, that a higher performing system with faster CPU and more powerful GPU can be had for only slightly more money (think $20 to $50). The system won't have the same high level of integration as Llano, or have power consumption as low, but it will offer more performance and a similar user experience. Consumers shopping for an entry level system will have more choices than ever once AMD's A-Series desktop Llano parts arrive, which is great, but that also means doing even more homework to ensure you're buying the "right" components for your budget.

With that said, AMD's A-Series desktop APUs seem well suited to low-power, small form factor applications and would make an excellent foundation for a HTPC or casual gaming rig. The performance offered by the A8-3850's quad-cores is plenty good for the vast majority of users out there and its integrated Radeon HD 6550D core is exponentially better than any other integrated solution. Price points are affordable and A75-based motherboards offer cutting edge feature sets. And the value proposition of the platform will only get better as more OpenCL or heterogenous apps that can level all of the APUs compute performance hit the scene.

 

  • Low Power
  • Affordable
  • Dual-Graphics Support
  • Integrated DX11 GPU Core

  • General Compute Performance Well Below Intel
  • More Performance Available For Minimal Additional Investment


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