The AMD A8-3500M APU Review: Llano Is Unleashed

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fstrthnu

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AMD is kind of in a fix here, the more enthusiast gamers won't even bother looking at the Llano computers while this is kind of overkill for casual gamers. MAYBE money-pressed college students or something, but most people will just skip this and either buy a regular gaming computer or build their own using one of the guides from this very site! Going for good graphics in cheap desktops is kind of a futile exercise, the people who will care will just get the more expensive stuff anyways. Notebooks are more understandable, but the prices on the decent gaming desktops are just too good for Llano to be very competitive (and also, the CPU portion will be a letdown for the average person. Noticeably slower than the comparable Intel Core i5.)
 

vz7

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After reading the desktop benchmarks on anandtech I can't say I'm impressed. The top of the line a8 3850 manages to scratch the best intel integrated graphics, which doesn't say much. Its CPU power seems to be a toss up with the i3. I think this hardly justifies the +70 premium (over an i3) that you'd have to spend to get it.
 

billj214

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This APU being somewhat low power and good graphics almost deserves to be in a tablet PC since CPU processing is not critical in tablet PC's and graphics is something that can help with media and games.

Ditto on the "Good Job AMD" definitely on the right track.
 

niceview

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two things:

1) What happened to the Game Charts results for the Radeon HD 5570, when the games were benchmarked? I thought you made a point to say you were going to compare the APU's 6620G with a discrete card (that has the same number of SPs and same clock). So much for that, unless you thought only comparing the two with a synthetic test was enough. Oh well. Tom's can be such a tease!

2) I'm just a little disappointed that the APU's graphics power was not able to double Intel's.... Under the best of circumstances, AMD's latest integrated graphics came close to being twice as fast, but i guess that is ok since we are not playing horseshoes. I just thought it would be nice if it had made a nice even doubling, or more. Now, i'm worried IVY BRIDGE will beat it....
 

niceview

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sorry, i guess that should be:

we ARE playing horseshoes...

and i have to give credit where credit is due: props to AMD for almost doubling Intel's HD Graphics in the integrated space....
 

sinfulpotato

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What I find most exciting is the battery life saved. THIS is what will make this chip a winner. When if Sandy bridge is faster your average consumer won't be able to notice... PERIOD. However battery life... is a HUGE win.

I don't play favorites, AMD needs market share.... FOR OUR SAKE. If Intel and AMD where on the same terms we would see faster progression and SAVE MONEY.
 

gmarsack

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This looks like a fantastic solution for notebooks. Can't wait to finally see more of these systems in the wild. :) Good job AMD. I would think this will help boost the company along until Bulldozer arrives. Way to survive! :)
 

ikyung

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[citation][nom]fstrthnu[/nom]AMD is kind of in a fix here, the more enthusiast gamers won't even bother looking at the Llano computers while this is kind of overkill for casual gamers. MAYBE money-pressed college students or something, but most people will just skip this and either buy a regular gaming computer or build their own using one of the guides from this very site! Going for good graphics in cheap desktops is kind of a futile exercise, the people who will care will just get the more expensive stuff anyways. Notebooks are more understandable, but the prices on the decent gaming desktops are just too good for Llano to be very competitive (and also, the CPU portion will be a letdown for the average person. Noticeably slower than the comparable Intel Core i5.)[/citation]
Well, Llano's market is the mobile space. Not desktop. Yes, they are bringing out desktop Llanos, but just like the article said, Trinity is what the enthusists are waiting for. I honestly don't think Llano's aim in the desktop market is for hardcores. I could see Llano's popularity in HTPC, and casual gaming/workstations though. Lower power, GPU over CPU tradeoff, etc. IF AMD releases the right drivers for the APU+Discrete CPU to work together, I see the market being even bigger.
 
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Guest

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How much for the A8 3500M? and it is a 1.5 GHZ chip with turbo to 2.4. I think its price point is more consistent with the I3 2310M @ 2.1 GHZ. Would have like to see you compare it to that instead of a I5 @ 2.5 GHZ
 
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IMO focusing su much on graphics is kind of stupid. You can make use of them only in two sorts of applications: stupid modern games that aren't worth playing and CADs that can make use of a GPU. All other loads are just indifferent to the graphics performance. I'm really suprised why you folks are so focused on games and just ignore everything else.

There is no single reason to prefer Llano over Sandy bridge, and I really cannot understand your excitement about it.
 

cleeve

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[citation][nom]Slaughterem[/nom]How much for the A8 3500M? and it is a 1.5 GHZ chip with turbo to 2.4. I think its price point is more consistent with the I3 2310M @ 2.1 GHZ. Would have like to see you compare it to that instead of a I5 @ 2.5 GHZ[/citation]

AMD didn't supply pricing for the processors, they only supplied pricing for the laptops. Accorsing to the price they gave us, the i5-2520M is fair competition.

Having said that, does it matter? No matter how you slice it, Llano's GPU will beat Intel HD graphics and Llano's CPU will be beaten by Intel. You'll see different degrees of advantage but this point won't change, not until Trinity at least.
 

cleeve

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[citation][nom]just another user[/nom]...modern games that aren't worth playing and CADs that can make use of a GPU...

...There is no single reason to prefer Llano over Sandy bridge, and I really cannot understand your excitement about it.[/citation]

You just listed two. :)

Obviously everyone will have their own priorities, but I think it's safe to say that you will find the majority of people will be more concerned with graphics performance than the ability to encode or render media. That's really what it comes down to; you're not going to notice a difference while surfing the net.
 

sparkle_ftw

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How AMD will still be important to gamers: Use Llano profits from mainstream sales to continue funding and improving production of AMD's discrete gpus. Those kick some serious butt.
 

AppleBlowsDonkeyBalls

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Decent review, though a bit unfair. What's the point of comparing the performance of a CPU that will be in $600 laptops (A8-3500M) to one that will be in $700 laptops (i5 2520M)? The A8-3500M competes with the Core i3 2310M, while the A8-3830MX competes with the Core i5 2520M. Given that, CPU performance for Llano is better than what is painted in the review.

With Sandy Bridge, I think you're giving up a lot of GPU performance for some additional CPU performance. I think the choice is clear for most users.
 

AppleBlowsDonkeyBalls

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[citation][nom]vz7[/nom]After reading the desktop benchmarks on anandtech I can't say I'm impressed. The top of the line a8 3850 manages to scratch the best intel integrated graphics, which doesn't say much. Its CPU power seems to be a toss up with the i3. I think this hardly justifies the +70 premium (over an i3) that you'd have to spend to get it.[/citation]

Maybe because you completely forgot about the fact that Llano is mainly meant for laptops and Bulldozer and Deneb for desktops?
 

eddieroolz

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Excellent review. Very technical but informative.

The target zone of A-Series ($500-$600) would have been at the heart of my target range, had I been on the market for a laptop today. I think AMD has chosen the price range target correctly after taking into account the performance of the part - it generally matches my Phenom N930 + Radeon 5650.

Personally I love the advancement AMD has made in power management. Now, AMD users can look at Intel and proudly say "my laptop lasts longer than yours, and I can actually play games on it."
 

lunyone

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I think Llano is a good thing. It pushed Intel to possibly work on the GPU end of their chips (not they will, but they could possibly do it). I knew, from reading the last few months, that Llano wasn't going to be any better than an Athlon II x4. Yes, I figured that it would have better power numbers than the mobile Athlon II's (shouldn't be too hard to do), but I was very interested in the GPU side of things.

For 95% of the population, Lllano based laptops will fill their needs. Yes your going to have some issues with CPU based programs (compared to SB), but overall I think the computing experience will be better with Llano than with SB. Most people surf the web (no real issues betweent the 2 systems), do work documents (no changes), and some light gaming (mainly Facebook based -flash- based games, which will favor Llano more than SB, IMHO). Those of us reading these reviews are probably not going to be buying a Llano or SB w/integrated graphics based laptops. We will be getting a laptop with discrete graphics anyway, so we're not the target market for these systems.
 
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