AMD Fusion: A8-3500M A-Series Llano APU Review

Article Index

Performance Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary:  Encapsulating Llano's performance, it's obvious where AMD set their design goals.  From a general computing throughput perspective, Llano is about as fast as a similarly clocked dual-core Intel Sandy Bridge processor, depending on the workload and level of multi-threading.  Llano's lower per-core IPC is apparent, but under highly threaded workloads, and in a lower power envelope, AMD's new quad-core mobile architecture competes well with Intel's dual-core Sandy Bridge mobile platform, but falls well short of the Core i7 quad-core architecture, though again, power consumption is relative here.  From a multimedia and graphics performance standpoint, AMD's A8-3500M Llano processor puts the hurt on Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture, whether you consider dual or quad-core variants. AMD's IP in core graphics technology affords them a sizable advantage.

AMD's Llano - Quad CPUs, 400 Radeon Cores, One Socket

Below we have the rest of AMD's Llano line-up coming to notebook platforms near you in the coming months.  We're hearing from AMD that retail product will be ready almost immediately, with over 150 claimed design wins in both notebook and desktop products from major OEMs, through Q2 of this year.  In fact, we've heard from HP that AMD's new Fusion line-up will be making appearances in both consumer-targeted HP Pavilion notebooks, as well as HP's enterprise and workstation professional-class Pro Book line-up in the coming weeks.  And so, it appears that, similar to AMD's low power Brazos platform and the E Series Zacate Fusion APU, AMD is setup for a strong entrance to market with Llano. Will AMD "sell out" like they did with Brazos?  That's the sixty-four thousand dollar question.

There's little question that Intel's stranglehold on the notebook market with Sandy Bridge (even after a bumpy, errata prone ramp-up), is going to be an uphill battle for AMD.  Regardless, when savvy consumers see what AMD's A Series APUs are capable of, one can easily speculate that AMD should be poised to take a bite out of Intel's notebook market share. The key is going to be price points. There's no denying that when it comes to volume, the SKUs that Best Buy and other major retailers sell most, are competitively priced systems that can handle it all.  At $699 for A8 and $599 suggested targets for A6 platform built machines, AMD may still have to limbo a bit more on price to capture upside market share. That said, those of you in the know reading these pages will agree, in terms of multimedia and graphics performance, Llano is a solid proposition at its intended price points. 

Also, though we're not ready to pass full judgment on power consumption because we haven't tested actual retail product as of yet, AMD's Llano processor also appears to be dialed in for power-efficient mobile goodness. In the long run, AMD's A Series Llano APUs should prove themselves a more than worthy alternative to Intel's mobile Core series line-up with integrated Intel HD Graphics.  In short, if you care about balanced computing, multimedia and gaming performance, AMD's Llano simply cannot be denied. 

  • Best of class integrated 3D graphics performance
  • Switchable Graphics and CrossFire capable
  • Solid performance-per-watt metrics
  • Low bill of material cost with high level integration of latest technologies like USB 3.0
  • Lackluster general purpose quad-core CPU performance versus Core i7 mobile
  • Video transcode performance not even in the same league as Intel Quick Sync optimized performance

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