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Relative power of Llano APUs

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September 30, 2011 12:50:27 PM

Hello,

I'm building a small form factor system to have in the lounge to play emulators, stream media and so on. I would also LIKE to be able to play some recent games (not Crysis, BF3 or anything silly - basically if it could play WoW at 720p or 1080p with decent visuals I'd be happy).

It's almost certainly going to be an AMD Llano build on a mini-ITX board.

I am just stuck choosing the processor.

Any of the Llano chips will be sufficient for the HTPC duties and emulating, by far.

If I got for the cheapest and most energy efficient (the A4-3400) I will have no cooling worries, no power-use worries, everything will be fine, except the A4 series have the weakest GPU component, meaning I might not be able to game on it.

I could go for the A8-3850, which is a (relatively small) bit more expensive, but most significantly also has a 100W rating (c.f. 65W for the lower chips), which could cause heat (or noise) issues.

I could go for something in the middle (A6-3500) which has the lower power draw, but more grunt than the A4, but I don't know if it's enough.

Basically, having not seen any decent comparative benchmarking, can anyone tell me:

Assuming I get the highest speed RAM my mobo will take, which of the Llano APU's is the minimum to play WoW-level games acceptably at 1080p? And at 720?

I guess the answer may be "nobody knows", but there's always the chance someone on here's been playing with one for a while.
September 30, 2011 12:57:56 PM

MockingbirdUK said:
Hello,

I'm building a small form factor system to have in the lounge to play emulators, stream media and so on. I would also LIKE to be able to play some recent games (not Crysis, BF3 or anything silly - basically if it could play WoW at 720p or 1080p with decent visuals I'd be happy).

It's almost certainly going to be an AMD Llano build on a mini-ITX board.

I am just stuck choosing the processor.

Any of the Llano chips will be sufficient for the HTPC duties and emulating, by far.

If I got for the cheapest and most energy efficient (the A4-3400) I will have no cooling worries, no power-use worries, everything will be fine, except the A4 series have the weakest GPU component, meaning I might not be able to game on it.

I could go for the A8-3850, which is a (relatively small) bit more expensive, but most significantly also has a 100W rating (c.f. 65W for the lower chips), which could cause heat (or noise) issues.

I could go for something in the middle (A6-3500) which has the lower power draw, but more grunt than the A4, but I don't know if it's enough.

Basically, having not seen any decent comparative benchmarking, can anyone tell me:

Assuming I get the highest speed RAM my mobo will take, which of the Llano APU's is the minimum to play WoW-level games acceptably at 1080p? And at 720?

I guess the answer may be "nobody knows", but there's always the chance someone on here's been playing with one for a while.

do not get the A4, as they aren't that good and there is no point as the 6450D wouldn't be able to game, so you may as well get a old AM3 choices
the A8 should be your best bet, as the cpu has ample power and the gpu is good enough for most games @ 720p, but it will be a bit hotter but still should be manageable, the triple core A6's clock speed is WAY too low, so is not really recommended for the price
a c 478 à CPUs
a b Ý World of Warcraft
September 30, 2011 1:41:51 PM

Generally gaming and low power do not mix especially if you plan to play at 1920x1080 resolution. The original WoW had pretty low graphics requirements. However, I beleive the Cataclysm expansion raised the bar by introducing some DX10/DX11 effects.

I never played WoW, but I would shoot for a Radeon HD 6670 video card. It does not really consume too much power. It's about 10% faster than the HD 5670 and should consume the same or minutely less power; 35w under typical gaming conditions. The HD 6670 is also the fastest card that can work in Crossfire with the Llano's graphics core so overall performance would be better than just the HD 6670 by itself with a Phenom II or Intel Core CPU series.

If low power consumption is high on your priority list then consider buying a power supply (PSU) that is 80PLUS (80Plus, 80+) certified. Basically they will be at least 80% efficient with just about any load. If there is a "metal color" associated with it, then the efficiency is slightly increased, but the cost will also increase. An 80PLUS Bronze PSU has a minimum of 82% efficiency, and I believe 80PLUS Platinum is up to 92% efficient, but I think only high power PSUs (750w+) are designed with this rating.
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September 30, 2011 2:10:50 PM

Thanks for the advice, but discrete GPU is not an option for the enclosure I'm using.
a b à CPUs
September 30, 2011 2:57:11 PM

Then get the most powerful Llano. There's really nothing to challenge it.
a c 478 à CPUs
a b Ý World of Warcraft
September 30, 2011 3:11:44 PM

Yeah, if you plan on playing any games and if the case is too small to install any video card whatsoever, then your best bet is to buy one of the A8 series Llano APUs since those have the most powerful integrated graphic core.
September 30, 2011 3:14:47 PM

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-a8-3850-llano,2...

The a8-3850 can play WoW with 1xAA at 1680x1050 around 42FPS. I suspect that 1080p would be playable, you just won't get high quality settings. Also, the a8 is DX11 compatible.

Since you can't get a dedicated graphics card, then the a8 is really your only choice.
September 30, 2011 3:42:29 PM

Fair enough - any ideas about the a8-3800 (65W version of the chip, same GPU component)?
September 30, 2011 5:21:48 PM

The 3800 is just clocked 0.5GHz lower and has a 0.3GHz turbo mode. I would think that you can buy a 3850 and underclock it if heat really is an issue. I'd bet you'd be fine so long as you a single fan blowing outside air in the direction of the CPU.
September 30, 2011 6:27:04 PM

I'm currently looking at a similar setup, though for HTPC with video encoding capability rather than gaming as such.

I went through the various options available (Sandybridge i3, low power Athlon II or Llano) but I couldn't make my mind up... then quite by accident I bought an Asus F1A75-I motherboard and now I'm trying to build a Llano PC!

Personally I've been looking at the A8-3800 as it strikes the best balance of CPU/GPU and power consumption, however there appear to be none available anywhere at present, probably due to the issues AMD has been having with the 32nm process that these new chips are built on.

I don't really consider any of the lower powered chips to be worth it for what I have in mind so I've been looking at the options.

Some people suggest holding off or getting the cheapest A4 you can get away with until the 2nd generation (Trinity) chips show up sometime next year.

There's also the possibility of getting an A6-3650 or even A8-3850 and "undervolting" them. Numerous websites have tried this and managed to lower their power consumption by 20-25% without reducing performance or stability. What puts me off this idea is that it's not guaranteed to work and since the case I have bought only has a 150w power supply and says 65w max for the processor I don't want to run the risk of buying something I can't use...

I don't know if any of that information is useful to you but there you go anyway! :-)
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