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The AMD A8-3500M APU Review: Llano Is Unleashed

Graphics Benchmarks: Synthetic

Let’s begin our graphics comparison with synthetic benchmarks, starting with 3DMark Vantage:

The aggregate score suggests the A8-3500M’s integrated Radeon HD 6620G is about 50% faster than Intel’s HD Graphics 3000 and right on par with a Radeon HD 5570 running at identical GPU and memory clock rates.

This is a fundamental win for Llano, assuming it holds up in real-world game benchmarks. Also note that the discrete 6630M shows a slight advantage over the APU. However, Dual Graphics mode doubles that spread. What the charts can’t convey is that we experienced unexpected skipping and visual anomalies using Dual Graphics mode in 3DMark. It looks like AMD has some driver work to do.

The CPU score is dominated by the Intel i5-2520M, and only the Phenom II X4 at 2.4 GHz comes close to matching it. You can see that the A8-3500M performs very similar to the 1.5 GHz Phenom II X4, suggesting that Turbo Core doesn’t increase the Llano architecture’s processor frequency in this benchmark. Such a result makes sense, as a combined CPU and GPU workload leave less thermal headroom for the CPU.

In 3DMark 11, the A8-3500M slightly outperforms a discrete Radeon HD 5570 at the same clocks in the aggregate and graphics scores. The discrete 6630M and Dual Graphics results show improvement over a Radeon HD 5570 or A8-3500M APU. Note that there are no results for the Intel Core i5-2520M in this benchmark. 3D Mark 11 requires DirectX 11 support in order to run, and Intel HD Graphics does not feature this capability.

The Unigine Heaven benchmark shows the A8-3500M neck-and-neck with a Radeon HD 5570 at identical clocks. Dual Graphics achieves a huge performance advantage here. Once again, the Intel HD Graphics engine is unable to run this benchmark because it requires DirectX 11 support.

  • _Pez_
    HO ! GOD FINALLY I am the first to read this !! Im feeling a Nerdgasm !! :D :D !!
    Reply
  • oneblackened
    I now really want a laptop with Llano. Also first.
    Reply
  • fstrthnu
    AMD is kind of in a fix here, the more enthusiast gamers won't even bother looking at the Llano computers while this is kind of overkill for casual gamers. MAYBE money-pressed college students or something, but most people will just skip this and either buy a regular gaming computer or build their own using one of the guides from this very site! Going for good graphics in cheap desktops is kind of a futile exercise, the people who will care will just get the more expensive stuff anyways. Notebooks are more understandable, but the prices on the decent gaming desktops are just too good for Llano to be very competitive (and also, the CPU portion will be a letdown for the average person. Noticeably slower than the comparable Intel Core i5.)
    Reply
  • vz7
    Do you know when the desktop review for llano will be out?
    Reply
  • stingstang
    Good job, AMD. You finally made a better cpu/gpu combo than intel in terms of graphics power.
    ....big win there...
    Reply
  • vz7
    After reading the desktop benchmarks on anandtech I can't say I'm impressed. The top of the line a8 3850 manages to scratch the best intel integrated graphics, which doesn't say much. Its CPU power seems to be a toss up with the i3. I think this hardly justifies the +70 premium (over an i3) that you'd have to spend to get it.
    Reply
  • billj214
    This APU being somewhat low power and good graphics almost deserves to be in a tablet PC since CPU processing is not critical in tablet PC's and graphics is something that can help with media and games.

    Ditto on the "Good Job AMD" definitely on the right track.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    vz7Do you know when the desktop review for llano will be out?
    The NDA is up on the 30th.
    Reply
  • niceview
    two things:

    1) What happened to the Game Charts results for the Radeon HD 5570, when the games were benchmarked? I thought you made a point to say you were going to compare the APU's 6620G with a discrete card (that has the same number of SPs and same clock). So much for that, unless you thought only comparing the two with a synthetic test was enough. Oh well. Tom's can be such a tease!

    2) I'm just a little disappointed that the APU's graphics power was not able to double Intel's.... Under the best of circumstances, AMD's latest integrated graphics came close to being twice as fast, but i guess that is ok since we are not playing horseshoes. I just thought it would be nice if it had made a nice even doubling, or more. Now, i'm worried IVY BRIDGE will beat it....
    Reply
  • niceview
    sorry, i guess that should be:

    we ARE playing horseshoes...

    and i have to give credit where credit is due: props to AMD for almost doubling Intel's HD Graphics in the integrated space....
    Reply