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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Codename 'Llano' - A Quick Look at the A8-3870K APU

Before we dive in and take a closer look at the A8-3870K, we just want to remind those of you who are interested in the Llano APUs but haven't yet read our earlier reviews to check out the following sections from our previous articles:

With that out of the way, let's take a peak at the table below to see how this new model compares to the previous A-series APU offerings:

So as mentioned in the intro, the A8-3870K is pretty much identical to the A8-3850. They are both 32nm native quad-core processors, with 256KB of L1 cache, 4MB of L2 cache, 100W TDP, and they both have the same excellent Radeon HD 6550D GPU with 400 shader cores, 8 ROPS, and a 64-bit memory bus. The A8-3870K is distinguished by an incremental 100MHz frequency bump and the unlocked multipliers. Thankfully, this new K model does not carry much of a price premium, retailing at about $145 versus $135 for the locked chip. The ease of overclocking definitely justifies the minor additional expense. On a site note, AMD has also just released the A6-3670K, which is basically an A6-3650 with a 100Mhz higher core clock and unlocked multipliers.

As you can see, the A8-3870K sample is physically identical to the other A-series APUs, as well as the previous Athlon II and Phenom II series. This is a socket FM1 chip so it has 905 pins, instead of AM3's 938 pins, but AMD have wisely decided to keep the same AM2/AM3 mounting bracket for the FM1 socket, so all your previous CPU coolers will be re-usable. Our particular sample was manufactured in the 32nd week of 2011, which is 9 weeks later than our A6-3650 and 13 weeks later than our A8-3850.

Much like Intel have done with Sandy Bridge, AMD have elected for a 100Mhz reference clock on the A-series APUs, which they aptly call the APU bus. Unlike Intelís approach though, this new APU bus has good a bit of overclocking headroom, with early results ranging from 133Mhz to 150Mhz.

Thanks to some new power-saving features and the 32nm manufacturing process, these new chips can undervolt themselves by an incredible amount when idle. As you can see in our screenshots, our sample would dip down to 0.444V when idle, while requiring up to 1.392V under full load, both of those figures are identical to our A8-3850.

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