AMD A8-3850 Review: Llano Rocks Entry-Level Desktops

Dual Graphics: Not Always Your Best Bet

I’ve seen plenty of situations where an underpowered processor limited graphics performance. In fact, Metro 2033 on the previous page looked like it was getting held back by AMD’s Stars architecture.

My first thought: if A8-3850’s four cores aren’t fast enough to keep up with the 400-shader graphics engine, adding a Radeon HD 6570 for $80 is going to be of limited utility. If we’re talking about discrete upgrades, wouldn’t it be crazy if matching a Core i3-2105 (similar price as the AMD chip) to the same add-in card yielded better performance, without the benefit of Dual Graphics?

In the following three graphics, Intel's HD Graphics 3000 performance is represented by the blue bar. The green bar is the comparison data from AMD's A8-3850 with a Radeon HD 6570 installed, and the grey bar is Intel's Core i3 running the same Radeon HD 6570.

The DirectX 9 game where Dual Graphics didn’t work anyway demonstrates pretty similar performance if you’re using an Intel-based machine or an A8-3850 with a Radeon HD 6570 add-in. Both configs make playable what was previously embarrassing performance from HD Graphics 3000.

And there’s the money shot. At all three resolutions, the Intel/AMD combination is faster than the AMD/AMD setup, despite the boost offered by Dual Graphics.

But as if to say “back at ya,” World of Warcraft favors the dual-GPU configuration in a big way. Maybe the game prefers four physical cores to two cores, or maybe there is no platform bottleneck in WoW, letting the Dual Graphics technology stretch out more effectively.

Either way, the difference between a Radeon HD 6570 and HD Graphics 3000 is night and day. Clearly, Intel’s integrated engine is incapable of reasonable frame rates at the minimum detail levels gamers want to use.

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  • Yuka
    stardude82That's about all the sense it makes then.


    Actually Llano on the Desktop is (IMO) aimed at HTPC a 100% and, off course, notebooks.

    I would really, really like to see more media features with the Llano parts you guys have if it can be done 8)

    Great article as usual!

    Cheers!
    17
  • cknobman
    Good lord reading the comments some of you people are really dense. Do you not understand the target market for these and can take the review in context????? Not everything should be looked at as though you are a custom power cpu/game builder.

    Great review Chris. For the target market AMD is doing a pretty good job here with an old CPU architecture and once they pair this with Bulldozer they should have a killer product.
    16
  • Anonymous
    Heh, I love these comments - for $150 more than a $135 AMD CPU you can get a better Intel CPU and AMD GPU!

    No shit, really? I wouldn't have thought so, it's just twice the price!
    16
  • Other Comments
  • whatisupthere
    Great review! Thanks Toms
    14
  • Tamz_msc
    Another win for AMD!
    13
  • SteelCity1981
    So then what's the point of getting the Turbo Core versions when they are going to be Turbo Clocked slower then the none Turbo Clocked versions...
    1
  • cangelini
    SteelCity1981So then what's the point of getting the Turbo Core versions when they are going to be Turbo Clocked slower then the none Turbo Clocked versions...


    They don't want you to see better performance from a cheaper APU in single-threaded apps by pushing Turbo Core further ;-)
    15
  • Known2Bone
    i really wanted see some amazing gains in the content creation department what with all that gpu power on chip... oh well games are fun too!
    1
  • ivan_chess
    I think this would be good for a young kid's PC. It would be enough to run educational software and a web browser. When he grows up to be a gamer it would be time to replace the whole machine anyway.
    12
  • DjEaZy
    ... it's may be not the greatest APU for desktop... but it will be a powerful thingy in a laptop... the review was nice... but in the gaming department... would be nice to see a standard 15,x'' laptop resolution tests @ 1366x768... or something like that...
    5
  • Mathos
    Actually if you want good DDR3 1600 with aggressive timings, the Ripjaws X series memory that I have does DDR3 1600 at 7-8-7-24 at 1.5v, not all that expensive when it comes down to it either. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231430
    3
  • Stardude82
    This makes little sense. An Athlon II X3 445 ($75) and a HD 5570 ($60, on a good day you can get a 5670 for the same price) would provide better performance for the same price ($135) and not have to worry about the RAM you use.

    So is AM3+ going to be retired in favor of FM1 in the near future? Why are there chipset at all? Why isn't everything SOC by now?

    Otherwise this is a very good CPU. If AMD has used 1 MB level 2 caches in their quads when they came out with the Deneb Propus die, they would be much more competitive.
    -2
  • crisan_tiberiu
    stardude82This makes little sense. An Athlon II X3 445 ($75) and a HD 5570 ($60, on a good day you can get a 5670 for the same price) would provide better performance for the same price ($135) and not have to worry about the RAM you use.

    what about power consumption?
    9
  • Stardude82
    crisan_tiberiuwhat about power consumption?

    That's about all the sense it makes then, for mobile and all-in-one units, but for cheap desktops... eh.
    -7
  • Yuka
    stardude82That's about all the sense it makes then.


    Actually Llano on the Desktop is (IMO) aimed at HTPC a 100% and, off course, notebooks.

    I would really, really like to see more media features with the Llano parts you guys have if it can be done 8)

    Great article as usual!

    Cheers!
    17
  • jdwii
    not bad but can you overclock the graphics core
    -4
  • fictionforthetame
    I completely agree with Yuka and was thinking the whole way through how amazing these would be (especially the low TDP versions) in a HTPC.
    10
  • RazberyBandit
    In regards to dual graphics, the only game that it seemed to work on was WoW Cataclysm. What was the cause, drivers? CAPS?

    And I think you guys may have gotten the min and avg FPS scores for the CoD:MW benchmark backwards... How can the min be higher than the average? Maybe you were actually comparing No AA to 4x AA or something, not min and avg FPS?
    2
  • Nintendork
    This review need IGP OC. The Llano GPU overclocks like hell.

    600Mhz to 840/900Mhz? No problem at all.
    3
  • frozenlead
    On the COD graphs, the minimum and average FPS bars have to be switched...it's impossible to have a "minimum" data point greater than the average.
    3
  • ChiefTexas_82
    Since when does a 100W CPU and a 6530 need a 850W power supply???

    Anyway, The real show should be bulldozer-based APU's. If they could just get the graphics up to a 5750 level...
    9
  • ChromeTusk
    Great article. This really helps me out since I need to replace 2 laptops in the near future.
    As for a higher end desktop, I am waiting for BD and how it affects the market. That will determine which parts I keep and which parts get put into an HTPC.
    7
  • fstrthnu
    Definitely looks like a stopgap measure, a product with good execution but no market. Basically, the only people who will buy this are casual/lazy PC gamers - the serious guys would come to sites like this very one to find out that they can get way more for their money than buying Llano. Thing is, at this price point, most people don't even care about games. Like I said on a previous post, any serious, smart PC gamer will build their own or look higher in terms of pricing to get a genuinely strong system.
    -4