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

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LAME MT Audio Encoding and Cinebench R11.5

In our custom LAME MT MP3 encoding test, we convert a large WAV file to the MP3 format, which is a popular scenario that many end users work with on a day-to-day basis to provide portability and storage of their digital audio content. LAME is an open-source mid to high bit-rate and VBR (variable bit rate) MP3 audio encoder that is used widely around the world in a multitude of third party applications.

Audio Conversion and Encoding

In this test, we created our own 223MB WAV file (a hallucinogenic-induced Grateful Dead jam) and converted it to the MP3 format using the multi-thread capable LAME MT application in single and multi-thread modes. Processing times are recorded below, listed in seconds. Shorter times equate to better performance.

Ouch.  This test is obviously not AMD's forte. The newly enhanced 32nm quad-core Phenom II engine in Llano is only exercised over two threads in this test and as such, AMD's new chip is competing against the massive memory bandwidth and compute throughput of Intel's Core architecture. In short, even against Intel's previous gen Arrandale mobile architecture, it's no contest.  

Cinebench R11.5
3D Rendering

Cinebench R11.5 is an OpenGL 3D rendering performance test based on Cinema 4D from Maxon. Cinema 4D is a 3D rendering and animation tool suite used by 3D animation houses and producers like Sony Animation and many others. It's very demanding of system processor resources and is an excellent gauge of pure computational throughput. This is a multi-threaded, multi-processor aware benchmark that renders and animates 3D scenes and tracks the length of the entire process. The rate at which each test system was able to render the entire scene is represented in the graph below.

Now here is where things start to get interesting for Llano.  Though clearly, in terms of CPU throughput, AMD's new mid-range mobile architecture trails Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture by a wide margin, the inverese can be said for AMD's new Llano processor when it comes to on-die GPU horsepower.  Here Cinebench shows Llano trailing the Core i5 dual core by 55% or so and it's over-powered by a factor of well over 2X versus the Core i7 quad-core.  However, Llano's OpenGL GPU performance in Cinebench is over twice as fast  as the Core i5 and almost twice as fast as the high-end Core i7-2820QM.  In fact, Llano was able to out-pace a Core i5 system outfitted with NVIDIA GeForce GT 525M discrete graphics.

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