Over the years there have been some noteworthy IGPs, the ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated into the 780G chipset comes to mind as one product that was head and shoulders above the rest. However, no matter how much better they were than their predecessors, past IGPs still never really provided a pleasing gaming experience.
This historical truth is one of the reasons why we were so impressed with the A8-3850 when we first reviewed it
. The 32nm quad-core Llano A-Series APU (Accelerated Processor Unit
) featured the first integrated graphics processor that was able to provide a satisfying level of performance in contemporary games. Even the lower-end A6-3650
, which has 25% less shader cores and a 35% lower GPU clock, proved to be a quantum leap better than any of the IGP variants found in Intels Sandy Bridge lineup.
Ironically, despite being Llano's claim to fame, the IGP is not the most important aspect of the APU model that we are reviewing today. What we are interested in is that the A8-3870K has unlocked multipliers for both the CPU and GPU portions. While we had reasonable success overclocking our A-series APUs, this was achieved by increasing the APU bus and this approach can be fraught with complications since it has an affect on the core clock, the GPU clock, the memory frequency, the NCLK, and the PCI-E/SATA/USB interfaces. By being able to freely adjust the multipliers, we should now be able to not only circumvent any secondary bottlenecks, but also achieve a better and faster overclock.
As you will see on the next page, aside from the unlocked multipliers and a very minor frequency bump, this new model is pretty much identical to the A8-3850, but thankfully it only comes with a $10 price premium too.