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

Test Setup And Benchmarks

Briefly, a couple of notes about our test bench. We have three basic configurations to compare. We wanted to include more, but simply didn't have enough time with stable, trouble-free Llano-based setups to include viable alternatives like AMD's Phenom II X3 720 and other popular, low-cost enthusiast setups. If there's interest, we'd be happy to do a follow-up with that, Intel's new low-cost Sandy Bridge-based Pentiums, and more.

We kept the memory subsystem of all three machines consistent with DDR3-1333 transfer rates. Llano gets a notable boost from more aggressive clocks and timings, though, so we've also made sure to dedicated an entire page to exploring the effects of faster memory, and we'll remind you where more bandwidth helps performance throughout the analysis.

The original plan was to test the Core i3 using a more value-oriented H67-based motherboard, but an overzealous lab tech bent processor interface pins in my one H67 platform right before benchmarking commenced, forcing me to go with Z68. The pricier motherboard won't effect the test results, though, as we're only using one graphics card, and Core i3 can't overclock anyway.

Test Hardware
Processors
AMD A8-3850 (Llano) 2.9 GHz (29 * 100 MHz) CPU, 600 MHz GPU (400 Shaders), Quad-core, Socket FM1, 4 MB L2 Cache, Power-savings enabled

Intel Core i3-2105 (Sandy Bridge) 3.1 GHz (31 * 100 MHz), Dual-core, LGA 1155, 3 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (Deneb) 3.4 GHz (17 * 200 MHz), Socket AM3, 6 MB Shared L3, Power-savings enabled
Motherboard
ASRock A75 Extreme6 (Socket FM1), AMD A75, BIOS A75EX61.11I

Asus P8Z68-V Pro (LGA 1155) Intel Z68 Express, BIOS 0501

Asus M4A89GTD Pro/USB3 (Socket AM3) AMD 890GX/SB850, BIOS 2201
Memory
Kingston 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR3-2133, KHX2133C9AD3W1K2/4GX @ DDR3-1333, 7-7-7-20 and 1.65 V
Hard Drive
Samsung Series 470 256 GB SSD, SATA 3Gb/s
Graphics
Radeon HD 6570 1 GB
Power Supply
OCZ ModXStream Pro 500 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectX
DirectX 11
Graphics DriverAMD 8.862 RC1

AMD Catalyst 11.6
3D Games Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarkDetails
Metro 2033
Game Settings: Medium Quality Settings, PhysX: Off, AAA, 4x AF, Wait for vertical sync: disabled, 1024x768, 1280x1024, 1680x1050, Demo: Built-in Benchmark Utility (Frontline)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Game Settings:  Ultra Quality Settings, Anti Aliasing: Disabled/4xAA, Anisotropic Filtering: Disabled, Sync Every Frame: No, 1024x768, 1280x1024, 1680x1050, Demo: Second Sun, 45 seconds, Fraps
World of Warcraft Cataclysm
Game Settings: Good Quality Settings, Anti Aliasing: Disabled/4x AA, Anisotropic Filtering: 4x, Vertical Sync: Disabled, 1024x768, 1280x1024, 1680x1050, Demo: Crushblow to The Krazzworks, Fraps
Audio Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarkDetails
iTunesVersion: 10.3.1, 64-bit
Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min., Convert to AAC audio format
Lame MP3Version 3.98.3
Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 kb/s)
Video Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarkDetails
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.94
Video: Big Buck Bunny (720x480, 23.972 frames) 5 Minutes, Audio: Dolby Digital, 48000 Hz, Six-Channel, English, to Video: AVC Audio: AC3 Audio2: AAC (High Profile)
MainConcept Reference v2
Version: 2.0.0.1555
MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio:
MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Application Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarkDetails
WinRARVersion 4.01
RAR, Syntax "winrar a -r -m3", Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
WinZip 14Version 14.0 Pro (8652)
WinZIP Commandline Version 3, ZIPX, Syntax "-a -ez -p -r", Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
7-Zip
Version 9.2
LZMA2, Syntax "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5", Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
Adobe Premiere Pro CS5
Video length 2min 21s, Export to H.264 Blu-ray
Source 960x720, Output 1280x720
Adobe After Effects CS5
Create Video which includes 3 Streams
Frames: 210, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously: on
Cinebench
Version 11.5 Build CB25720DEMO
CPU Test single and multi threaded
BlenderVersion: 2.54 beta
Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1, Resolution: 1920x1080, Anti-Aliasing: 8x, Render: THG.blend frame 1
Adobe Photoshop CS 5 (64-Bit)Version: 11
Filtering a 16 MB TIF (15000x7266), Filters:, Radial Blur (Amount: 10, Method: zoom, Quality: good) Shape Blur (Radius: 46 px; custom shape: Trademark sysmbol) Median (Radius: 1px) Polar Coordinates (Rectangular to Polar)
ABBYY FineReaderVersion: 10 Professional Build (10.0.102.82)
Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarkDetails
PCMark 7Version: 1.0.4
3DMark Vantage
Version 1.1.0
SiSoftware Sandra 2011Version: 2011.SP3
Processor Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth, GP-GPU Cryptography
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148 comments
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    Top Comments
  • 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