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AMD Llano A8-3850 2.9GHz Quad Core Desktop APU

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AMD Llano A8-3850 Desktop APU Review and Benchmarks
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The Bottom Line

Jun 30 2011 - AMD's new Llano A8-3850 desktop APU is a quad-core solution that combines the CPU and GPU on the same die. The A8-3850 runs at 2.9GHz and offers support for DirectX 11, which sets it apart from the competitor. While gamers will still want to pair the Llano A8-3850 with a dedicated graphics card, the AMD A8-3850 is priced right at only $135 and features a low power draw that is perfect for HTPCs as well.

Pros

  • Excellent Value
  • DirectX 11, OpenCL (GPU & CPU) & DirectCompute Support
  • Great for Home Theater PCs

Cons

  • PC Games Benefit From Adding a Dedicated Graphics Card
  • Requires Socket FM1 Motherboard (although AM3+ Heatsinks Work)

Description

  • 2.9GHz CPU Clock
  • 4 Cores
  • 4MB L2 Cache
  • AMD Radeon HD 6550D Graphics
  • 600MHz GPU Clock Speed
  • 100 Watt TDP
  • Socket FM1
  • DirectX 11, OpenCL, HDMI 1.4a, AMD HD3D & USB 3.0 Support
  • Up to 1866MHz Memory Support in a Single DIMM-Per-Channel Configuration

Review - AMD Llano A8-3850 Quad Core Desktop APU

With the 2011 release of Intel's Sandy Bridge processors, customers have eagerly anticipated AMD's desktop APU chips. AMD has answered the call with their new Llano processors, which are a part of the Fusion line. These chips combine the CPU and GPU on the same die for a complete solution that can withstand light gaming. And since AMD acquired ATI in 2006, the chip maker is able to blend the two company's expertise into one consumer product.

First of all, one might ask what is an APU? The term stands for Accelerated Processing Unit. What this means is that small form factors can utilize the affordable processors without sacrificing graphics. The APU features a combined computer processor and GPU on the same die. The result is a smaller die that offers great performance at a lower cost and is more energy efficient. The AMD A8-3850 APU retails for $135, which puts it against the Intel 2nd Generation Core i3-230x in terms of cost.

But gamers want to know about results! Luckily, I was able to put the AMD Llano A8-3850 APU, which is a part of the Lynx desktop platform, to the test. The 2.9GHz quad core chip itself has a built-in AMD Radeon HD 6550D graphics processor with 400 Radeon cores and 20 texture units. The GPU clock speed is 600MHz with a 480 GFLOPS peak compute capacity (GFLOPS stands for one billion floating-point operations per second). Unfortunately, the AMD Llano A8-3850 does not support Turbo Core functionality.

Where the AMD A8-3850 APU really stands out is in terms of supported technologies. While Intel Sandy Bridge processors are not DirectX 11 compatible, AMD A-series APUs do support DX 11. The A8-3850 can also support up to three displays via Eyefinity technology and OpenCL (both CPU and GPU). Paired with an AM75 motherboard, the setup offers native support for USB 3.0. Overall, these technologies provide for a better gaming experience, as well as fast data transfer for grabbing photos off your digital camera and more.

But if you're thinking of purchasing a new Llano-equipped desktop computer or if you want to upgrade an existing machine, you probably want to view benchmarks to see how the A8-3850 APU performs. For the testing phase, I paired the AMD A8-3850 APU with an ASUS F1A75-M Pro motherboard. In this scenario, I achieved the following benchmarks.

*Resolution for Benchmarks: 1280x720 using the FRAPS Utility. FPS = Frames Per Second

World of Warcraft - Cataclysm

High Settings, 2x AA

  • Minimum FPS: 30
  • Maximum FPS: 60
  • Average FPS: 41.7

Battlefield Bad Company 2

Low Settings

  • Minimum FPS: 19
  • Maximum FPS: 34
  • Average FPS: 26.6

Rift

Low Quality Renderer Setting

  • Minimum FPS: 21
  • Maximum FPS: 104
  • Average FPS: 44.8

AIDA 64 Extreme Benchmarks

  • Memory Read: 6815 MB/s
  • Memory Write: 5710 MB/s
  • Memory Copy: 9554 MB/s
  • Memory Latency: 72.3 ns
  • CPU Queen: 21469
  • CPU PhotoWorxx: 15559
  • CPU ZLib: 143.9 MB/s
  • CPU AES: 31799
  • CPU Hash: 1886 MB/s
  • FPU VP8: 2145
  • FPU Julia: 7384
  • FPU Mandel: 3909
  • FPU SinJulia: 1854
  • L1 Cache Read: 92719 MB/s
  • L1 Cache Write: 46371 MB/s
  • L1 Cache Copy: 61606 MB/s
  • L1 Cache Latency: 1.0 ns
  • L2 Cache Read: 23190 MB/s
  • L2 Cache Write: 18305 MB/s
  • L2 Cache Copy: 20703 MB/s
  • L2 Cache Latency: 3.6 ns

Overall, the AMD Llano A8-3850 APU scores well, because you get four cores for the price of a dual core CPU from the competitor. In terms of PC gaming, it's definitely worthwhile to pair the AMD Llano A8-3850 with a dedicated graphics card as the processor can work in conjunction with the video card for a dual GPU solution, which is something Intel Sandy Bridge processors cannot. For the price, the AMD Llano A8-3850 is a worthwhile buy.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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