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AMD A8-3850 (Llano) APU and A55/A75 Chipset Review (Page 13)

By Shawn Baker from Jun 29, 2011 @ 22:56 CDT
Manufacturer: AMD

Final Thoughts

Compared to the high end Sandy Bridge processors, the A8-3850, as you would expect, performs below them. Compared to the i3 2120 which is that more mainstream processor for that mid-range market, performance is very interesting. You can go through the synthetic benchmarks and you will see the i3 2120 really just jump out ahead of the A8-3850.

Move away from the synthetic benchmark, though, and get into real world situations and the picture becomes quite different. Aliens vs. Predator sees the HD 6970 perform just as well on the A8-3850 as it does on any other platform. Media Espresso also sees the conversion time on our A8-3850 come in faster than the i3 2120 and CINEBENCH also sees the A8-3850 come out ahead.

When you start to move into the real world benchmarks you can see at times these massive synthetic scores mean very little. You can look at AIDA64 and say there's so much more performance on offer from the i3 2120 over the A8-3850, especially at the L2 Cache level. You then fire up something like Media Espresso, though, and you see that those massive numbers translate into the i3 2120 coming in a minute behind the A8-3850.

Something else that's so important to remember in regards to the i3 2120 is that while the "Sandy Bridge" platform has a wonderful name when it comes to overclocking, those results of 5.2GHz+, are only capable from a more expensive "k" series CPU. When we looked at the i3 2100, because we only have BCLK to play with, we got from 3.1GHz to 3.185GHz. On the other hand, we managed to get to 3.5GHz easily on our A8-3850 and at 1.5v we even had 3.6GHz working on most benchmarks, but not all. Companies have showed us the A8-3850 running at 1.55v with air cooling, though, which means we've probably got a bit more headroom on top of the numbers we've got here.

From a CPU side of things, the A8-3850 does perform extremely well. In the synthetic world we see it perform strong against the likes of the Phenom II X4 and when we get into real world performance where we concentrate on the CPU side of things, we can see that again performance is also very strong. The CPU performance side of things is what we would say is only one side of the three that AMD offer with the Llano platform and Fusion on a whole.

The other big thing in regards to Llano and the Fusion platform is the integrated graphics. While we've spoken about it today in what it offers, the features and other things like that, we haven't gone in to real detail on what it actually does for performance. This is simply because we wanted to offer more than just a benchmark or two; instead we want to run the graphics through a number of our benchmarks and look at it in both stock and overclocked form.

Due to that, we haven't scored the APU today because really, we're not so much just reviewing the A8-3850, but we're reviewing the platform on a whole and such an important part of that platform is the video performance. This is an area AMD expect to be extremely strong in when compared to its competition Intel and going off the specifications we would tend to believe them. There's only one way to find out for sure, though, and that's to benchmark it.

AMD really seem to have their fingers on the pulse of the mass market, though; they look to have developed an exceptional platform that sets a new segment, because it's leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. Atom from Intel is great, but it's a bit long in the tooth these days and is really beginning to age. The i3 2120 is a fantastic processor for the money and stock for stock it looks great. With such limited overclocking potential on the non "k" series Sandy Bridge CPUs, though, the stock performance you get is pretty much all you're going to get.

We are also seeing companies like GIGABYTE and MSI do fantastic things when it comes to the overclocking side of things and getting some excellent performance. The Llano platform should be at a very reasonable price level to get into and you can see people having some real fun with it. Once they've got past that, though, they've still got an extremely capable platform that's capable of doing so much, including play Aliens vs. Predator if you want to throw a HD 6970 into the board.

Unlike the Brazos platform, this is something that's a lot more reasonable because it's not so heavily CPU limited like that platform is. To give you an idea, our HD 6970 in the Brazos system scored P1811, here we scored P4723. That gives you an idea of just how much extra performance is on offer here and shows that the platform while aimed at the mid-range market, can still handle a high end video card and give us extremely strong video performance.

It's clear that AMD have a very good product on their hands; the main question we need to ask is, how well will it go in the market? Having a good product is only part of selling a product. What's really going to matter is the marketing side of things and how they and their partners promote it. The good news is that half the job seems to be done already with them having a great product.

For now, though, that seems to be enough. We will wrap up our Final Final Thoughts in the coming day or days as we bring you a closer look at what exactly the GPU side of things is capable of doing.

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