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Old 11-23-2011, 10:28 PM   #1
sonicchaos1993
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Default Testing out a "Llano" based mobile AMD APU

Bah. Wall of text was just deleted by an accidental click of the back button. Right after I finished typing too.

Anyways, I just got a new laptop run by AMD's A8-3500 APU. I was originally planning on getting an i5 or i7 with discrete graphics, but the A8 was on sale at Office Depot for $479, along with 8GB RAM and a 640GB hard drive, and I felt like that was the best deal I would find for some time. So far, I'm not disappointed.

As far as the CPU itself goes, it's no Intel Sandy Bridge. But you probably knew that already. This chip is a better competitor for Intel's last-gen CPUs, and even then it wouldn't match up to the i7 models. Even a 2nd gen i3 can outperform the A8 in some CPU-intensive tasks, despite the A8 having 4 cores to the i3's 2. A good part of this has to do with the A8's horrible base clock speed (1.5Ghz). On top of that, at least with the A8-3500 that I'm using, AMD's Turbo Core, which supposedly can boost the CPU to up to 2.4Ghz, has yet to show any signs of working. Since the 3500 has a smaller heat capacity than other A8 models, and some of that capacity is taken up by the integrated 6620G graphics, it's possible that the GPU takes up too much heat for Turbo Core to ever come into play. Even with the disappointing CPU performance, though, the A8 is more than capable of meeting the needs of the majority of computer users.

Thankfully, building a chip that's faster than Intel's wasn't the goal of Llano. The A8's main feature, the on-die 6620G graphics card, doesn't disappoint in performance. The integrated graphics can easily match the performance of today's middle-end dedicated GPUs. Needless to say, the 6620G eats Intel integrated graphics ALIVE in anything graphics-intensive. Namely, gaming.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to test any hardcore games on the A8 yet. Minecraft, however, can run on max performance settings with frame rates of 35+--on battery power alone. When plugged in, the on-die graphics consistently cranks out over 40-45FPS on max performance settings. On top of that, the A8 gets impressive battery life even when running Minecraft at max settings. On a full charge, my notebook can play Minecraft at max settings for over 3 hours. By lowering performance settings a little, I can stetch that out to 4+ hours of Minecraft on a single charge.

Since Portal 2 just finished installing, I'm going to go give that a test and see how well Llano handles it. I'll post an update on how it worked later.
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Old 11-24-2011, 12:05 AM   #2
sonicchaos1993
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Default Re: Testing out a "Llano" based mobile AMD APU

Update:

Having just played Portal 2 for some time on the Llano PC, I'm even more impressed with the A8's on-die graphics. With All performance settings maxed out and 4xAA, the game ran smoothly with the frame rate only jumped very occasionally. It was playable on 8xAA as well, but there were more frame rate jumps and frame rate dropped more often.

Unfortunately I don't have exact FPS numbers to give, but overall, the A8's given one of the smoothest PC gaming experiences I've ever had. Later this week I'll probably install some more GPU-intensive games (namely Oblivion and Crysis) and see how those run. I'm fairly sure Crysis will be unplayable in higher detail settings, but who knows. So far, Llano keeps on surprising me.

EDIT:

Oblivion runs on native resolution (1366x76 and with all detail settings on high with only occasional FPS problems. Crysis is in the middle of installing now, so we'll see how that runs.
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Last edited by sonicchaos1993; 11-24-2011 at 10:27 PM.
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