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AMD APU: "dual graphics". Worth it?

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May 29, 2012 11:23:20 PM

Hi!

I'd like to ask anyone out there running an AMD APU with dual graphics about their experience. Now that the AMD cards that are recommended for the first gen APUs are available for cheap, I'm wondering if getting a card is worth it to pair with my desktop A6-3650. I use it mostly for playing videos, light gaming, and now trying to do a bit of video editing.

I assumed I'd want something like a HD6570 or even HD6670, but after looking at the Tom's entry level charts, it looks like there is no point in getting anything higher than a HD6450! (Sometimes available free after rebate!) See chart below.

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2011-entry-level-gra...">Tom's Hardware - Benchmark Power Consumption

Unfortunately no solo HD 6570 DDR3 for comparison. I included a GT430 since I have one laying around. Maybe I should just use that, but seems like it defeats the point of having the APU. :sarcastic: 

So, any point in getting a HD6570, or just go with HD6450?

TIA! :hello: 

Oh, by the way, I think there is an error on these charts. A8-3650 should be A6-3650? Any way to inform Tom's?
a c 92 U Graphics card
a b À AMD
May 30, 2012 12:17:48 AM

the A6 3650 will probably be most efficient with a 6450 but the performance gain isn't really worth it. If the games you play are not in Dx11 or DX10 then do not bother getting the new card to crossfire with the APU as that simply does not work.

The 6570 is pretty close to the 6670 so its decently powerful. Should be a good ungrade from the APU even if the crossfire gives you very little gain.

The APU should be more powerful than the 430 generally so theres little point in using that.
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a c 1362 U Graphics card
a c 330 À AMD
May 30, 2012 12:20:38 AM

A HD6670 on its own would give you better results I think!
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a c 172 U Graphics card
May 30, 2012 12:24:54 AM

Only in some situations would dual graphics aka hybrid crossfire would be worth it let alone make gains. The apu's igp is better than some think but have you looked into overclocking a little for a small boost? Also what ram do you have? I run two apu systems my self and might build a third in the next few months.
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May 30, 2012 3:25:39 AM

I have a 3550MX ACF'd with a 7690M (rebadged 6790M) and it works pretty well. The big determiner will be the memory on your APU. Get a good set of DDR3-1600 at the minimum, its a vast improvement over DDR3-1333.
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May 30, 2012 4:29:28 AM

esrever said:
the A6 3650 will probably be most efficient with a 6450 but the performance gain isn't really worth it. If the games you play are not in Dx11 or DX10 then do not bother getting the new card to crossfire with the APU as that simply does not work.

The 6570 is pretty close to the 6670 so its decently powerful. Should be a good ungrade from the APU even if the crossfire gives you very little gain.

The APU should be more powerful than the 430 generally so theres little point in using that.


According to the charts I linked, the performance would almost double with the HD6450. Surprisingly, it doesn't improve much more than that for the HD6570, which I though was much more powerful than the HD 6450. Also, the charts indicate that the GT430 is on par with the APU+discreet dual graphics performance. Not sure what to believe.


nforce4max said:
Only in some situations would dual graphics aka hybrid crossfire would be worth it let alone make gains. The apu's igp is better than some think but have you looked into overclocking a little for a small boost? Also what ram do you have? I run two apu systems my self and might build a third in the next few months.


Sure, I'm not knocking the APU performance thus far. I put 12GB of Corsair Vengeance 1600MHZ on a MSI A75MA-G55 mb. (Triple channel pack was only $20 on sale. I know it might slow things down a bit) I haven't tried OCing it yet as performance hasn't been an issue. I don't think you can easily OC the processor, but I have seen some reports.

http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2198692

palladin9479 said:
I have a 3550MX ACF'd with a 7690M (rebadged 6790M) and it works pretty well. The big determiner will be the memory on your APU. Get a good set of DDR3-1600 at the minimum, its a vast improvement over DDR3-1333.



Sure. I haven't really pushed my system yet, but was just thinking that since low end AMD card prices are now dropping fast, maybe I should pick one up to make the machine a bit more versatile. Mostly I might want to start using Corel Studio X4 or Sony Vegas moviemaker HD, both video editing soft. I've read, as some of you mentioned, dual graphics does not offer a general boost. Maybe only DX11 games? I was just really surprised that that the HD6570 doesn't perform better in dual graphics than the HD6450. I'm guessing that the DDR3 version performs the same with and without the APU, which might explain it.
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a c 92 U Graphics card
a b À AMD
May 30, 2012 8:17:16 AM

the 6450 is about as powerful as the integrated gpu so the crossfire is best balanced, getting a more powerful discrete card has very diminished gains.

My mistake about the 430. Might be worth it to use it.
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a b U Graphics card
May 30, 2012 8:43:34 AM

Basically, if you're going for serious gaming, go with a high-end GPU and rely on that exclusively, without messing around with hybrid crossfire.

If you're on a budget-conscious light gaming approach, stick with the APU exclusively and don't bother messing around with hybrid crossfire.
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a c 291 U Graphics card
May 30, 2012 9:11:56 AM

It's not worth it. It's performance is subpar.
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a b U Graphics card
May 30, 2012 11:15:53 AM

I would hope that at some stage it would be worth it. Seeing as mid range CPU's seem to all be including iGPU's it would be nice if high end cards could get an extra bit of juice from the APU when combined. Might never happen, games would probably have to be specifically coded to take advantage, nice thought though.
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a c 172 U Graphics card
May 30, 2012 1:01:12 PM

Fist problem is very limited bandwidth thanks to the weak memory controller and the igp being needy. Second is drivers as hybrid crossfire doesn't always work very well and most people only see small gains as well plenty of issues with it. Going with a full discrete card defeats the purpose of the apu. You could use the gt430 as a dedicated physx card and still use the igp in games like mafia 2 ect. It is best to wait and improve other aspects of your system for better performance till drivers improve enough to make the leap worth it. Last but not least we all know just how cpu limited games are now days and going sli/crossfire doesn't always yield a worth while boost :c
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a b U Graphics card
a b À AMD
May 30, 2012 3:28:52 PM


Here's the deal with dual-graphics: It works, but it takes some work. And as noted, DX9 titles can be a bear with Llano dual-graphics (purportedly fixed with Trinity dual-graphics).

The important thing is to 'sync-up' to the optimum capability the APU graphics engine with the clocks and memory of the discreet video card. How fast are you running the APU graphics? That helps determine where the discreet will ultimately best fit in.

And the other thing -- AMD can't really say this, but my understanding is the best discreet cards for dual-graphics on Llano are HD 5XXX 'Redwoods' with DDR3. It makes sense because the APU graphics engine is Redwood-based.

By the same logic, with Trinity the dual-graphics discreet card of choice would be the Turks-based HD65XXs with DDR3.

And presumably with the successor to Trinity, Kaveri, cut-down Cape Verdi HD77XX GCN cores.

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a c 172 U Graphics card
May 30, 2012 8:00:48 PM

Wisecracker said:
Here's the deal with dual-graphics: It works, but it takes some work. And as noted, DX9 titles can be a bear with Llano dual-graphics (purportedly fixed with Trinity dual-graphics).

The important thing is to 'sync-up' to the optimum capability the APU graphics engine with the clocks and memory of the discreet video card. How fast are you running the APU graphics? That helps determine where the discreet will ultimately best fit in.

And the other thing -- AMD can't really say this, but my understanding is the best discreet cards for dual-graphics on Llano are HD 5XXX 'Redwoods' with DDR3. It makes sense because the APU graphics engine is Redwood-based.

By the same logic, with Trinity the dual-graphics discreet card of choice would be the Turks-based HD65XXs with DDR3.

And presumably with the successor to Trinity, Kaveri, cut-down Cape Verdi HD77XX GCN cores.


Correct on every point stated, however things are not always rosy when drivers are also a big factor. Personally I would jump into it just yet until running into something really brings the igp to a complete crawl. Matching clocks ensures that crossfire is properly scaling as both Nvidia and AMD are using almost the same AFR profiles in multiple gpu setups. Meaning each gpu makes a complete frame in sequence. When one gpu is running faster or slower than the other or others scaling is often poor and lag issues pop up like the well known micro shutter that is common in Tri and Quad gpu setups.
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May 30, 2012 9:20:09 PM



wow. Thread is getting interesting now! :bounce:  :bounce:  :bounce: 
Thanks for all the input guys!

Wisecracker said:
Here's the deal with dual-graphics: It works, but it takes some work. And as noted, DX9 titles can be a bear with Llano dual-graphics (purportedly fixed with Trinity dual-graphics).

The important thing is to 'sync-up' to the optimum capability the APU graphics engine with the clocks and memory of the discreet video card. How fast are you running the APU graphics? That helps determine where the discreet will ultimately best fit in.

And the other thing -- AMD can't really say this, but my understanding is the best discreet cards for dual-graphics on Llano are HD 5XXX 'Redwoods' with DDR3. It makes sense because the APU graphics engine is Redwood-based.

By the same logic, with Trinity the dual-graphics discreet card of choice would be the Turks-based HD65XXs with DDR3.

And presumably with the successor to Trinity, Kaveri, cut-down Cape Verdi HD77XX GCN cores.


That makes sense, but HD 5XXX 'Redwoods' with DDR3 would not work due to lack of driver support on the crossfire end, right? Great point about sinking the two GPUs. I think this is why the few benchmarks that leaped ahead and tried GDDR5 cards showed that the APU actually cut performance way down in all cases. Might be hard to sink the APU with faster cards.


nforce4max said:
Correct on every point stated, however things are not always rosy when drivers are also a big factor. Personally I would jump into it just yet until running into something really brings the igp to a complete crawl. Matching clocks ensures that crossfire is properly scaling as both Nvidia and AMD are using almost the same AFR profiles in multiple gpu setups. Meaning each gpu makes a complete frame in sequence. When one gpu is running faster or slower than the other or others scaling is often poor and lag issues pop up like the well known micro shutter that is common in Tri and Quad gpu setups.


I was thinking to put off playing with OCing and whatnot, but seems like a valid consideration when picking out a discreet card. I'll look closely at APU and discreet clock speeds and the likelihood they can be synced before buying any discrete with hopes of using hybrid crossfire.
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