AMD Fusion: A8-3500M A-Series Llano APU Review
Vital Signs and A8-3500M APU Details
Our test system came configured with Windows 7 Ultimate X64 and device manager gives us a view of what's under the hood. The AMD A8 Series Llano APU offers four full dedicated CPU cores to the OS, without the need for HyperThreading, though as you'll see later in this piece, with power consumption that looks more like a dual core chip.
Two GPUs, Four Cores and Fusion
In the Display Adapters section you can see we have two GPUs present. The Radeon HD 6620G is Llano's IGP and the Radeon 6600/6700 Series listing is the discrete graphics core in this notebook. Let's get a good look at the brains of the operation here...
The Sabine platform and Llano A8 implementation we were sent for testing, has a fairly simple layout and an obviously low cost bill of materials. Llano's thermal solution, which incorporates a discrete GPU in this particular build, as you can see, is rather svelte. There is a small network of cold plates and heatpipes that connect to a radiator that is cooled by a single turbine exhaust fan, and that's it. On the left, you can see the 722 pin socket for Llano and in the middle is the tiny AMD FCH (Fusion Controller Hub) Southbridge IO chip. On the right is the discrete Radeon 6700M graphics chip and you can see a few GDDR memory chips around it as well. Beyond its two DIMM slots, plunk down some passive and active power components a clock generator and PLL or two, plug in a wireless radio card and there's really not much more to it. Overall, the circuit design is rather elegant and you can imagine how much more simplified it gets with just Llano in there and no discrete GPU.
Llano only Windows Experience Index
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty numbers, here's what Windows 7 X64 thinks of the AMD A8-3500M APU, along with its graphics, memory and storage subsystems. Surprisingly the lowest score here was the graphics subsystem but again, we're looking at the IGP itself, which is significantly better than we've seen in competitive Intel HD Graphics scores with the latest Sandy Bridge dual-core processors and almost on par with Sandy Bridge quad-core chips. All in all, things are looking not too shabby here for Llano.