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AMD A8-3850 APU Review: Llano Hits the Desktop

Author: MAC
Date: June 29, 2011
Product Name: AMD A8-3850
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IGP Gaming Benchmarks


In order to get an idea of how the new Radeon HD 6550D graphics solution in the A8-3850 APU compares to the competition, we decided to test it against the Intel GMA HD IGP (both 733Mhz & 900Mhz variants) found in the Clarkdale chips, the Intel HD Graphics 2000/3000 IGPs in the various Sandy Bridge chips (6 EUs @ 850-1100Mhz/ 12 EUs @ 850-1100Mhz/ 12 EUs @ 850-1350Mhz), and AMD's fastest AM3 platform IGP, the Radeon HD 4290 (40 shaders/700Mhz core clock/UMA+SidePort DDR3-1333) found in the 890GX chipset. We also threw in two low-priced discrete GPUs from AMD and NVIDIA, the Radeon HD 5550 GDDR5 (320 shaders/550Mhz core clock) and the GeForce GT 430 DDR3 (96 shaders/700Mhz core clock).

As we demonstrated earlier, both overall memory bandwidth and the amount of memory allocated to the IGP greatly affects gaming performance, so for these tests with allocated a 1GB UMA frame buffer size, and also tried three different memory frequency/timing settings.


Futuremark 3DMark06


3DMark06 v1.1.0
Graphic Settings: Default
Resolution: 1280X1024

Test: Specific CPU Score and Full Run 3Dmarks
Comparison: Generated Score

The Futuremark 3DMark series has been a part of the backbone in computer and hardware reviews since its conception. The trend continues today as 3DMark06 provides consumers with a solid synthetic benchmark geared for performance and comparison in the 3D gaming realm. This remains one of the most sought after statistics, as well as an excellent tool for accurate CPU comparison, and it will undoubtedly be used for years to come.



In this first test, we're able to see the true power of the A8's integrated graphics processor. It simply demolishes every other IGP and comes within spitting distance of certain lower end discrete cards.


Futuremark 3DMark Vantage


3DMark Vantage v1.0.1
Graphic Settings: Entry Preset
Resolution: 1024X768

Test: Specific CPU Score and Full Run 3Dmarks
Comparison: Generated Score

3DMark Vantage is the follow-up to the highly successful 3DMark06. It uses DirectX 10 exclusively so if you are running Windows XP, you can forget about this benchmark. Along with being a very capable graphics card testing application, it also has very heavily multi-threaded CPU tests, such Physics Simulation and Artificial Intelligence (AI), which makes it a good all-around gaming benchmark.



This IGP's architecture obviously likes Vantage as it is able to eke out a win at every memory setting. We can also see that Vantage seems to benefit quite a bit from the increased memory bandwidth of 1866Mhz.


Far Cry 2


Far Cry 2 1.02
Resolution: 1280x1024
Anti Aliasing: 0
Quality Settings: Medium
Global Settings: DX9 Enabled

Test 1: Ranch Long Demo
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)

Far Cry 2 is the hot new new first-person shooter from Ubisoft's Montreal studio, and the first game to utilize the new visually stunning Dunia Engine, which will undoubtedly be used by numerous future games. Using the included Benchmarking Tool, we ran the Long Ranch demo in DX9 mode at 1280x1024 with all settings set to low.




Left 4 Dead


Left 4 Dead (Latest Update)
Resolution: 1680x1050
Filtering: 0X AA / 0X AF
Graphic Settings: Medium
Shader Detail: Medium
Test 1: HWC Custom Timedemo
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)

Left 4 Dead is the latest disorienting, fast-paced zombie apocalypse mega-hit from Valve. L4D uses the latest version of the Source engine with enhancements such as multi-core processor support and physics-based animation. We tested at 1680x1050 with in-game details set to low. For benching, we used a pre-recorded 20 minute timedemo taken on the No Mercy campaign during The Apartments mission.




World in Conflict


World in Conflict v1.010
Resolution: 1680x1050
Anti-Aliasing: 0X
Anisotropic Filtering: 0X
Graphic Settings: Medium (DX10)
Test 1: Built-in Benchmark
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)

One of the detailed and most visually stunning real-time tactical games in recent history, World in Conflict remains a staple in our gaming lineup . For this test we used the in-game benchmarking tool.




X3: Terran Conflict


X3: Terran Conflict 1.2.0.0
Resolution: 1680x1050
Anti-Aliasing: 0X
Anisotropic Filtering: 0X
Graphic Settings: Medium
Test 1: Built-in Benchmark
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)




Real world gaming scenarios show basically the same results as the two 3DMark tests did: the A8 and its IGP are able to come close to or beat certain mainstream DX11 GPUs. The past generation of AMD IGPs and even Intel's own HD 3000 don't have a snowball's chance in hell of keeping up. The HD 6550D is actually the first non-discrete graphics processor that we'd consider playing games with.

In our opinion, AMD has simply shattered almost every preconception about what an integrated graphics chip can do. To make matters even better for the Fusion architecture, Intel is still mired in the DX10.1 generation without any hope of DX11 reinforcements until Ivy Bridge arrives sometime in 2012.
 
 
 

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