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AMD A8-3870K Unlocked Llano APU Review

Author: MAC
Date: February 1, 2012
Product Name: A8-3870K
Part Number: AD3870WNGXBOX
Warranty: 3 Years
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IGP Gaming Benchmarks



In order to get an idea of how the Radeon HD 6550D GPU in the A8-3780K APU compares to the competition, we decided to test it against the A6-3650, the A8-3850, 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 previously in the A8-3850 review, both overall memory bandwidth and the amount of memory allocated to the IGP greatly affects gaming performance. We did not bother re-testing the A8-3870K with the various memory frequency/timing configurations, but we have included the original results so you can see what kind of performance gain to expect if you do go that route. We have also included results from the Highest Stable GPU Overclock configuration to demonstrate just how much additional gaming performance can be squeezed from the A8-3870K via overclocking.



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.





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.




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)




As you would expect, the default performance difference between the A8-3850 and the A8-3870K ranges from between nil and 3% depending on how CPU-centric a game is. Nevertheless, this level of performance is still more than enough to blow away every other IGP in the charts, as well as be competitive with the dedicated GeForce GT 430 in a few instances. However, it is when you overclock that the A8-3870K really shines. When set to our Highest Stable GPU Overclock configuration, the A8-3870K came in first place in every instance, decidedly surpassing both of the dedicated graphics cards with ease. Yes, the CPU is having a significant impact here, but it just goes to show what level of performance you can unlock from these Llano chips with a little easy multplier tweaking. You might also achieve a similar level of performance by overclocking the A8-3850, but it is going to be much more of a challenge.

If we isolate and compare the similarly-priced A8-3870K and Core i3-2120, the difference is stark. Even with its much higher CPU performance the Sandy Bridge chip gets slaughtered across the board, sometimes achieving less than half the frame rates of the stock Llano APU. If you're a gamer on a really tight budget, the choice is obvious.
 
 
 

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