An in-depth look at ‘Llano’
‘Llano’ represents the combination of a Northbridge, Quad-core CPU, and a Directx 11 GPU on one die. While this layout is similar to Intel’s SandyBridge design, the difference is in both the quality and performance of the GPU that AMD provides. While it remains to be seen if the ‘Llano’ family is the superior chip computationally as well as graphically I would not bet against them just yet.
As previously mentioned the AMD Turbo Core technology dynamically adjusts the CPU and GPU cores according to the processing load. So, if you are running a computationally intense application, the APU will pull Radeon cores to assist with the workload. This feature maximizes performance by smoothly transitioning between GPU and CPU based applications.
AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing
Dual Graphics (also known has Hybrid CrossFire) allows the user to put a discrete Radeon card on the platform and use it in CrossFire. This means both of the GPUs (The APU and the discrete GPU) work in tandem on the graphical output. This layout allows the APU to focus more on the CPU threads rather than juggling. During AMD’s preliminary testing the results ranged from 3 frames per second (fps) up to 20 fps difference between CrossFire and just using the APU.
At this time the APUs offered by AMD are multiplier-locked, which means you cannot simply over clock the processor. You would instead need to use a motherboard utility to over clock the entire rig. For this review I will not be over clocking anything.
AMD Vision Engine
AMD has upgraded their engine to the Vision Engine with the advent of the ‘Llano’ APUs. This engine has added upgrades to both Radeon core usage (shader configurations) and Universal Video Decoder (UVD3). The flagship accomplishment is their image stabilization technology, which will dynamically cut frames out of a shaky video and display a cleaner video (to help remove the ‘Home Video’ effect). While this looks promising it currently only supports play-back rather than allowing for a converted save.