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Components: AMD A8-3870 And Intel Pentium G630

Better With Time? The A8-3870 And Pentium G630, One Year Later
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It’s almost impossible to build two comparison systems that all readers will agree match up. Some folks prefer comparing an equal number of cores, others favor matching clock rates, and some like to pit specific features against each other. The vendors themselves typically focus on market segments. For our purposes, we put AMD's A8-3870 (four cores at 3.0 GHz) next to Intel's Pentium G630 (two cores at 2.7 GHz), yielding systems priced similarly.

Because we've already run a ton of numbers in previous stories, we know that AMD's APU is faster in applications able to exploit its four cores and in games running on its integrated graphics engine. Intel's architecture is far more efficient, though, so in tests that tax one or two cores, the Pentium enjoys a sizable advantage at much lower power.

Had we picked a Core i3 or faster Pentium G870 processor, the Intel machine would have been more expensive without much effect on the overall performance picture (since both are still dual-core parts). AMD would still likely win in well-threaded benchmarks, while Intel would extend its lead in apps like iTunes, in addition to games driven by discrete graphics, where AMD tends to be platform-limits. You'd need to spend even more for a Core i5 to beat the A8 in a more resounding way.

AMD’s A8-3870 includes four cores operating at 3 GHz, each with 1 MB of L2 cache, and a Radeon HD 6550D graphics core code-named Sumo. It requires a Socket FM1-equipped motherboard and dissipates up to 100 W of power.

We used MSI’s A75MA-G55 mini-ITX motherboard as the foundation for our system. Its four DIMM slots support up to 32 GB of memory. Two PCI Express x16 slots, one PCIe x1 slot, and one PCI slot handle add-in connectivity, while HDMI, DVI, and VGA ports facilitate flexible display options. USB 3.0 is available for high-speed peripherals.

Intel’s Pentium G630 centers on the company's Sandy Bridge architecture, manufactured at 32 nm. It features two 2.7 GHz cores with 3 MB of shared L3 cache (AMD's A8 doesn't include any L3). Per core, it's a lot faster than the APU, but its on-board graphics engine is also completely outclassed by the Radeon.

The Intel board is a Gigabyte H67MA-UD2H. It has a similar feature set as the MSI board we're using to host the AMD processor, but it adds DisplayPort and an eight-phase voltage regulator.

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Top Comments
  • 24 Hide
    blazorthon , September 10, 2012 5:14 AM
    hapaxogcWhy not compare the AMD to the new Pentium G2120?


    That probably wasn't out when this review was in the works.
  • 18 Hide
    DjEaZy , September 10, 2012 9:54 AM
    ... open standards F.T.W.!!!
  • 16 Hide
    blazorthon , September 10, 2012 5:07 AM
    Is it just me, or does every time the old systems are said to be better, the graph shows the opposite and every time the old systems are said to be worse, the graph says otherwise?
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 10, 2012 5:06 AM
    Why not compare the AMD to the new Pentium G2120?
  • 16 Hide
    blazorthon , September 10, 2012 5:07 AM
    Is it just me, or does every time the old systems are said to be better, the graph shows the opposite and every time the old systems are said to be worse, the graph says otherwise?
  • 24 Hide
    blazorthon , September 10, 2012 5:14 AM
    hapaxogcWhy not compare the AMD to the new Pentium G2120?


    That probably wasn't out when this review was in the works.
  • 4 Hide
    lahawzel , September 10, 2012 5:46 AM
    I think he was more referring to the fact that the Pentium G630 is significantly cheaper than the A8-3870K ($68 vs. $110), hence making the compared processors not on equal grounds.
  • 11 Hide
    blazorthon , September 10, 2012 6:00 AM
    LaHawzelI think he was more referring to the fact that the Pentium G630 is significantly cheaper than the A8-3870K ($68 vs. $110), hence making the compared processors not on equal grounds.


    Not if you factor in the cost of a graphics card. That card was probably omitted here because this isn't about gaming performance.
  • 12 Hide
    jezus53 , September 10, 2012 6:06 AM
    Quote:
    We used MSI’s A75MA-G55 mini-ITX motherboard...


    I think you mean Micro ATX.
  • -3 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , September 10, 2012 6:12 AM
    1. Read the Adobelink you provided.
    the Mercury Engine in CS6 does not use CUDA! Thats a big win for consumers.

    2. Even though 7zip is highly multithreaded, in real world usage, it does not scale so well. Mostly it uses 35-50% of a quad core. It can use 100% CPU in compressing one big file( > 100MB size).

    3.The reply given by Corel is complete BS. They did not even give an example of usage where winzip would use the GPU.

  • 12 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , September 10, 2012 8:38 AM
    Article page 4It comes as no surprise that most apps perform similarly in 2012 as they did in 2012.
  • 4 Hide
    ohim , September 10, 2012 8:48 AM
    mayankleoboy11. Read the Adobelink you provided.the Mercury Engine in CS6 does not use CUDA! Thats a big win for consumers.2. Even though 7zip is highly multithreaded, in real world usage, it does not scale so well. Mostly it uses 35-50% of a quad core. It can use 100% CPU in compressing one big file( > 100MB size).3.The reply given by Corel is complete BS. They did not even give an example of usage where winzip would use the GPU.

    Mercury Engine in CS 6 does use CUDA .. what the hell are you talking about there ?
  • 3 Hide
    jijibu , September 10, 2012 9:01 AM
    LaHawzelI think he was more referring to the fact that the Pentium G630 is significantly cheaper than the A8-3870K ($68 vs. $110), hence making the compared processors not on equal grounds.


    AMD has way more powerful GPU and it's strong in multithread operations. Besides those facts, AMD has good overclocking potential :) 
  • 6 Hide
    alidan , September 10, 2012 9:27 AM
    ohimMercury Engine in CS 6 does use CUDA .. what the hell are you talking about there ?


    probably meant cuda exclusively anymore.
  • 18 Hide
    DjEaZy , September 10, 2012 9:54 AM
    ... open standards F.T.W.!!!
  • 3 Hide
    ojas , September 10, 2012 12:14 PM
    mayankleoboy11. Read the Adobelink you provided.the Mercury Engine in CS6 does not use CUDA! Thats a big win for consumers.2. Even though 7zip is highly multithreaded, in real world usage, it does not scale so well. Mostly it uses 35-50% of a quad core. It can use 100% CPU in compressing one big file( > 100MB size).3.The reply given by Corel is complete BS. They did not even give an example of usage where winzip would use the GPU.

    1. It does. Not supporting it would have been a loss for consumers (yes i support open standards too, but at least there's some competition this way. Software should support both imo). anyway link: http://www.nvidia.com/object/adobe-cs6.html

    2. I've seen my CPU use well over that, 80-100%, yes it's a quad core. Depends on your settings, probably, and the files being compressed. I use tweaked "ultra" level compression with LZMA2.

    3. Don't know what to think. No examples, yes, but seemed to be an adequate response. Giving them a benefit of doubt.

    @article:

    Yeah i guess the authors are right...it's already swimming through my head, that if the difference in the price is $40, you'd expect to see this kind of performance delta...then again cheapest Core i3 is $120 on newegg...and no point comparing another SB pentium because you'll get similar results.

    Probably you guys will have to do this again with the G2120! :p 
  • 2 Hide
    rootheday , September 10, 2012 12:15 PM
    why are you using drivers from the beginning of 2012 for this comparison instead of current drivers. For example, why 15.22.54 graphics driver for the Intel system? Sandybridge based Pentiums are supported on the 15.26.12.2761 drivers dated 7/11/2012 and also on the 15.28.0.2792 drivers (which add Win8 support).
  • 9 Hide
    CaedenV , September 10, 2012 12:15 PM
    go AMD! I don't think this speaks much to their hardware division, but speaks volumes about their marketing department, and the company's willingness to work with software companies in promoting open standards (which they take the best advantage of). Definitely a lesson learned from their dealings with nVidia locking them out of the professional market for so many years.

    That being said, this is hardly a fair comparison. A $70 part vs a $110 part is not much comparison at all. Throw a $60 GPU with openCL support and I would love to see how these stack up then.
  • 8 Hide
    ojas , September 10, 2012 12:19 PM
    Oh and, BTW. AMD may have just played a trump card here, going with OpenCL and GPGPU computing. What they couldn't do with raw performance, they've done with smart optimization. The future is perhaps Fusion, below the i5s and i7s at least.
  • 1 Hide
    ojas , September 10, 2012 12:25 PM
    Though i dunno. If Intel push this same concept against ARM...AMD is non-existent in the SoC space, afaik.
  • 11 Hide
    CaedenV , September 10, 2012 12:27 PM
    This is why people don't buy new computers. why buy a new machine, when it gets faster over time with OS and software upgrades? Truly this is a strange paradigm compared to the previous 20 years of software always getting bigger and slower. Now software gets more feature-full as well as faster with updates. What a world we live in.
  • -8 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , September 10, 2012 12:55 PM
    how about slapping together a few hunderd ARM cores on a PCIE card, add a x86 to ARM binary converter, and you have a sooper fast co-processor.

    Wait, thats what Intel MIC is
  • 5 Hide
    blazorthon , September 10, 2012 12:56 PM
    mayankleoboy1how about slapping together a few hunderd ARM cores on a PCIE card, add a x86 to ARM binary converter, and you have a sooper fast co-processor.Wait, thats what Intel MIC is


    Intel's co-processors are not using ARM. They use simple x86 cores (based on the Pentium III if I remember correctly).
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