AMD has been a leader in Graphics chipsets and, at the time of writing this, the fastest GPU to date. Since the release of Intel’s SandyBridge design, Intel has held the mobile and hybrid computing markets. With that, AMD has responded with Llano: A GPU and CPU on the same die boasting graphics performance said to blow SandyBridge out of the water. This GPU/CPU combination, called an APU, is the next generation of almost every facet of computing. AMD’s response to SandyBridge might be a few years behind but it boasts solid computing and graphics at a price that won’t break the bank. AMD aims to price-point the A8 APU competitively with the i3 2100k (Retail $125) and the i3 2105 (Retail $140). With Llano, AMD is targeting gamers and media lovers with native 3D-HD, DirectX 11, and OpenCL acceleration. To this audience, Llano is a welcome sight.
With up to four 32nm “Stars” cores and up to 400 Radeon™ cores, the AMD A-Series APU offers the CPU performance of the former AMD Phenom™ II Processor combined with true AMD Radeon™ discrete-class graphics. In fact, our AMD A-Series APUs provide more graphics power than many entry level discrete cards, enabling an outstanding visual experience (see A-Series APU Performance Comparisons section).
Llano at first Sight
AMD’s new Llano platform, paired with AMD’s Fusion Controller Hub (FCH), represents AMD’s step to the next level of consumer-based computing. The APUs will have the ability to dynamically use Radeon cores for either computing or graphics depending on the tasks. This means more efficient switching between GPU and CPU usage as well as better performance all around. Llano supports DirectX11 with DirectCompute, HD-3D, AMD-Vision engine, UVD3, and OpenCL Acceleration. The upgrade to the use of an APU also has an effect on the motherboards market. AMD’s flagship motherboard chipset, the A75, will offer native Superspeed USB 3.0 and SATA 3.0. At release, AMD will be releasing 2 Llano APUs: the A8-3850 and the A6-3650. Both of these are 100w Quad-core solutions.
- $135/ea. A8-3850
- ~$TBA/ea. A8-3800
- $115/ea. A6-3650
- ~$TBA/ea. A6-3600
For this review we have the A8-3850 and will bring you reviews of subsequent APU’s when they are made available.