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Thursday, 30 June 2011 14:16

AMD officially rolls out A-Series desktop APUs

Written by Slobodan Simic

A6-3650 and A8-3850 for starters
AMD has officially rolled out its first two A-series, codename Lynx, desktop APUs, the A6-3650 and the A8-3850. The new APUs are compatible with the recently introduced FM1 motherboards based on AMD's A75 chipset and will hit retail/e-tail as of July 3rd with a price set at US $135 for the 2.9GHz quad-core A8-3850 and US $115 for the 2.6GHz clocked A6-3650.

Based on the 32nm manufacturing process, the first two A-series APUs feature four x86 cores, have a DirectX 11 GPU and come with support for dual-channel DDR3 memory. As noted, the A-series APUs are meant for the recently introduced FM1 motherboards based on the AMD A75 chipset and feature support for the Dual Graphics technology that combines the APUs integrated GPU with a specific discrete card for some additional graphics power.

For starters, AMD decided to launch only quad-core parts while the rest, including the dual-core A4- and the lone dual-core E2-3200 part should follow up later. According to our sources, the entire A8- and A6- lineup is ramping up as we speak and those other two quad-core APUs with Turbo should show up pretty soon. In case you missed it, we are talking about the A8-3800 and A6-3600 clocked at 2.4GHz (2.7GHz Turbo) and 2.1GHz (2.4GHz Turbo) that have the 65W TDP.

The currently available A8-3850 ticks at 2.9GHz, has 4MB of L2 cache, has a 100W TDP and features Radon HD 6550D core with 400 stream processors and a 600MHz clock. The A6-3650 has a 2.6GHz clock, same 100W TDP and same 4MB of L2 cache but features Radeon HD 6530D GPU clocked at 443MHz and with 320 stream processors.

Most reviews agree on the same thing and despite the fact that you have to compare these APUs with something that is currently on the market, you must agree that AMD made a new market segment, the one where there is no room for Intel and its integrated graphics parts. Similar amount of money could get you the Athlon II X4 640 and HD 6570 graphics card (for around US $175) and provide you with better performance, but in that case you wouldn't get an APU that has it all in 100W TDP envelope.

AMD's Lynx and its quad-core A-series APUs are definitely bringing a new breed of HTPCs, the ones that have a decent GPU power and can bring you a solid gaming experience as well. You won't get full details on 1080p, but for that much money, you honestly get alot, and if you want more, there is that Dual Graphics technology that can pair up the APU with certain discrete GPU.

You can check out some of the reviews below.

- Anandtech.com
- Hothardware.com
- Thetechreport.com
- Kitguru.net
- Pcper.com
- Neoseeker.com
- Overclockersclub.com
- Tweaktown.com

Last modified on Thursday, 30 June 2011 14:56
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-20 #1 Exodite 2011-06-30 15:15
Sadly that ended up a lot less interesting than I thought.

Perhaps it was wishful thinking on my part but the memory bandwidth issues seems to have put a real damper on real-world performance, I expected something a lot closer to what a discrete graphics card with same clocks and number of cores would offer.

As things stand we're still unable to do 1080p gaming at medium settings, without AA and AF. For me, that means I might as well suggest my mainstream-oriented friends to go with an i3 2100 since it's generally faster and both setups would need a discrete card for gaming anyway.

For mobile Llano might be a lot more interesting however.
+34 #2 Bl0bb3r 2011-06-30 15:28
It ended up good enough, at the price point it is just as good or better than an i3 2120. If AMD manages to push OpenCL far, the very same chips will perform better than what was obtained in today's tests.
-28 #3 Exodite 2011-06-30 15:33
Quoting Bl0bb3r:
It ended up good enough...

How do you reckon?

It's still not good enough for AAA gaming on its own and CPU performance is distinctly sub-par to the i3 2100 at anything but niche tasks.

For anything but AAA gaming, meaning stuff like flash games, video, Blu-Ray, hardware flash acceleration and desktop 2D acceleration anything is good enough today. Certainly Llano but also Intel's HD2000/HD3000.

Granted, it's all in what you want to do but for what's presumably a mainstream chip it's not a very compelling choice for mainstream tasks.

As mentioned though, it might be a lot better in a mobile setting assuming final product pricing is competitive.
-27 #4 Cartman 2011-06-30 15:45
No matter how much i love AMD to me this makes no sense...

In the end WTF would i buy CPU that has GPU on , but later i need to buy real Gfx card to do some kind of hybrid crossfire to have decent gaming performance.

Both Intel and AMD are crazy here... no need to pack CPU and GFX in same product..
People that play games are better with products like 6850 and Phenom 955 from start (or similar Intel NV combo).

+28 #5 Bl0bb3r 2011-06-30 16:49
Cartman, considering that AMD will retire Stars next year and their main core will be Bulldozer, it makes sense. Right now AMD is still waiting to get BD out the door of the GF fabs.

Llano, for now is their stepping stone for Fusion BD, next year it will be Bulldozer all the way.

Without OpenCL, right now, it's not so appealing, but having a mainboard with 4 native USB 3.0 ports and 6 full speed and not bottlenecked SATA 6Gbps, does sound appealing.
-16 #6 Cartman 2011-06-30 16:59
Yea but in the end i dont expect miracle from BD fusion either ...

Real GFX card is real GFX card, no matter what i doubt BD will change that, not that i wouldnt like i would...
I just dont see that in near future...
+31 #7 redunion1940 2011-06-30 17:29
Fusion wasn't meant to replace discrete graphics. It was meant to replace the IGP. So just like in a regular desktop if you want more power then you are going to need discrete. In a laptop this is a very appealing product.

And while there is a difference between AMD and INTEL processers in performance just like GPU it isn't as noticible as the charts suggest. Most people are not crunching super high definition movies and ect. So it comes down to personal needs as always.
+17 #8 gamoniac 2011-06-30 18:15
@redunion1940, I agree, but Fusion would probably replace entry-level discrete graphic cards. It is already nearly as powerful as my HD5570 (still a bit slower despite the same specs).

@Cartman, why wouldn't I get an APU if it is more power efficient efficient and better than the old IGP? If they can deliver both functionality on one, why insist on two separate chips? I do agree that it is a bit disappointing that the graphic core is taking away some of the bandwidth, but it will eventually help the CPU, like Intel's Quicksync technology. I also see your point that for now, the real competition could come from Phonem II + discrete card. But for entry level PC, I think Llano has the right price even for now.
+19 #9 mrdoubleb 2011-06-30 19:43
I think, that while replacing IGPs has some cost/performance/board layout benefits, the really important thing is that AMD is laying the groundworks for mainstream GPGPU computing.

This is always the chicken and egg dilemma, but just like with 64bit, they make the first move, and software will catch up.

In a couple of years, we should see applications like video encoders, browsers and probably more, take advantage of the horsepower laying there, wasted, in the idle GPU.
+9 #10 Exodite 2011-07-01 04:43
Quoting mrdoubleb:
In a couple of years, we should see applications like video encoders, browsers and probably more, take advantage of the horsepower laying there, wasted, in the idle GPU.

While that is an excellent point, and I personally believe it to be a likely scenario, the question is whether or not AMD has those years if they keep neglecting their CPU performance.

Much as I like the platform, and their graphics division, they badly need a new CPU architecture. Preferably two years ago.

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