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Reviews generally concluded that Llano provides budget shoppers unparalleled bang for their buck.  (Source: Anandtech)

Llano packs a mean GPU punch, besting Intel's comparable core by as much as 4x times the framerates in some games  (Source: Anandtech)

A Llano rig retails for about $350, and offers solid overclockability.  (Source: Tweak Town)
While not as strong in CPU performance and memory, most reviews conclude AMD gives a better overall performance

With the hard launch of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.'s (AMD) Llano processor lineup, branded the "A Series", the first reviews are trickling in about what it's like to use a Fusion desktop.  Many DailyTech readers expressed skepticism about the platforms' prospects on desktops, but they might be a little surprised by what the reviewers said -- here's a hint; it all comes back to AMD pricing its products aggressively.

I. Priced to Kill

Many of the reviews compared the AMD A75 platform (with a Llano A8 CPU), codenamed Lynx, to the Intel Z68 platform (with a Sandy Bridge Core i3 CPU).  Price-wise AMD is about $15 cheaper, which may not seem like much, but at a total platform cost of $355 USD and $370, respectively, it's just enough to give AMD a psychological edge.

Most of the price difference comes from the motherboard -- a Gigabyte GA-A75M-UD4H, compatible with A8 processors, retails for $130 USD, while the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3-B3, compatible with Sandy Bridge, costs another $10 of your cash.

Likewise an A8-3850 "Advanced Processing Unit" (system-on-a-chip), will cost you $5 USD less than a Core i3-2105 system-on-a-chip (SoC).

II. Performance

A Legit Reviews article offered generally kind words for the platform, stating:
The Lynx platform by AMD should do well with mainstream consumers that want a system that does everything they want it to do and without sucking down a bunch of power or draining their wallet.

The article shows that Intel has a lead on power consumption (not as much of an issue with a desktop) and on certain CPU specific benchmarks (like "HyperPi").  However, AMD delivered nearly twice the framerates in most games and was slightly faster in most video encoding benchmarks.  With many modern photo-editing software products, such as Adobe Systems Inc.'s (ADBE) Photoshop, relying heavily on the GPU that means that the AMD chip will likely come out ahead here, as well.

A PureOC piece offers more of the same, showing the DirectX 11 capable AMD chip pulling decent framerates in modern games, such as Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2, Aliens vs. Predator, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat.

The piece offers some insight in its overclockability, which they find to be around 30 percent on a stock air cooler.  They write:
The multiplier is locked on the A8-3850 and the only way to overclock is by the reference clock known by most as the FSB or AMD users HTT. The reference clock starts at 100 and there is no hypertransport, northbridge frequency to deal with in the bios. The reference clock however raises the APU frequency and the memory frequency which does have a multiplier. We raised the voltages to 1.52V and achieved a overclock of 3.712Ghz just shy of a 30% overclock.

PC Perspective's Ryan Shrout does offer some criticism of the CPU core performance, writing:

The problem really lies with the 2.9 GHz clock speed that the top end A8-3850 is tagged with, well below the speed of the most recent quad-core Phenom II parts from AMD that reached as high as 3.7 GHz. Because of the combination of a new 32nm process technology and that Llano is the first "true" Fusion part with standard CPU and GPU technology, AMD obviously had more problems getting this part to the speeds it wanted. Quite simply they ran out of time even after several delays and HAD to get something out into the market for OEMs to dabble in.

But, he adds that the integrated GPU does offer 2 to 4 times the performance of Intel's iGPU when gaming.

Anandtech found Anand Lal Shimpi took the platform out for a spin as well.  He came away very much a fan of the platform for budget buyers, writing:

If you're building an entry level gaming PC and have to rely solely on integrated graphics, it's clear that Llano is the only solution on the market today. You easily get 2x the frame rates of Intel's Core i3-2105 and can use that extra headroom to increase resolution, quality or sometimes both. The performance advantage is just one aspect of what Llano offers in this department. You do also get better overall game compatibility, DX11 and GPU compute support although the latter is still missing that killer app.

OverClockers Club also delivers a similar favorable review, writing:

All in all, I was pretty pleased with the AMD A8-3850. While not a game changer for the overclocker, it was not designed to fit this purpose. It was developed to bring strong video playback and decent mainstream gaming for a minimal cash outlay and it does just that. If you are looking for a second processor (without breaking the bank) for an HTPC, workstation or maybe that build for a special loved one, then the A-Series may just be what you are looking for.

TweakTown was gushing as well, applauding:

AMD really seem to have their fingers on the pulse of the mass market, though; they look to have developed an exceptional platform that sets a new segment, because it's leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. Atom from Intel is great, but it's a bit long in the tooth these days and is really beginning to age. The i3 2120 is a fantastic processor for the money and stock for stock it looks great. With such limited overclocking potential on the non "k" series Sandy Bridge CPUs, though, the stock performance you get is pretty much all you're going to get.

III. Conclusions

The "A Series" is suited for a very specific customers -- one that there happens to be a lot of of -- budget buyers who still might want to do the occasional HD video watching, photo edit, or fire up a game.  Given the fact that buyers of gaming rigs are in the minority, AMD is overall showing its ability to cater to the masses.

The Llano desktop comes at a sweet price of $350 USD, though OEMs may inflate that slightly.  It offers much better (2-4x) gaming performance than similarly priced Sandy Bridge desktops.  And it offers superior performance in apps that support GPU computing -- such as Photoshop or Microsoft Office 2010.  

About the only things Llano isn't the winner at are pure CPU performance and memory access times -- neither of which would make much of a difference to the average user.

And though few customers will probably ever try it, Llano even overclocks better than the similarly-priced low-end Sandy Bridge Core i3s.

AMD clearly seems to have Intel beat this time around.  First on the notebook and then on the desktop, AMD has beat Intel in mainstream performance.  It's not flashy, and it's no performance champ Sandy Bridge Core i7, but Fusion continues to show its potential for huge sales.  Intel should be very, very concerned.


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Decade Ago
By dsx724 on 6/30/2011 3:35:47 PM , Rating: 2
AMD should have done this a decade ago.




RE: Decade Ago
By fredgiblet on 6/30/2011 3:44:59 PM , Rating: 2
A decade ago it was impossible.


RE: Decade Ago
By stm1185 on 6/30/2011 3:49:10 PM , Rating: 4
A decade ago they were beating Intel on cpu speed.


RE: Decade Ago
By quiksilvr on 6/30/2011 3:52:22 PM , Rating: 5
A decade ago was when I realized 2001: A Space Odyssey was a lie.


RE: Decade Ago
By Mitch101 on 6/30/2011 4:19:03 PM , Rating: 5
A decade ago they didnt own a graphics company.


RE: Decade Ago
By Rage187 on 6/30/11, Rating: -1
RE: Decade Ago
By Mitch101 on 6/30/2011 4:40:00 PM , Rating: 4
Last time I laughed at a in Russia joke I fell off my dinosaur. LOL thats a knee slapper.


RE: Decade Ago
By JediJeb on 7/1/2011 9:44:05 AM , Rating: 2
Chuck Norris killed all the Russians so there is nothing to laugh at anymore.


RE: Decade Ago
By Eugenian on 7/1/2011 10:00:27 PM , Rating: 1
In Soviet Russia, jokes laughed at you.


RE: Decade Ago
By Taft12 on 6/30/2011 4:10:10 PM , Rating: 5
This is the fruit of the ATI acquisition.

It's taken a few years to bear, but it is a sweet sweet fruit indeed!


RE: Decade Ago
By ekv on 6/30/2011 10:56:25 PM , Rating: 2
So could somebody tell me why they got rid of Dirk Meyers?


RE: Decade Ago
By Samus on 7/1/11, Rating: 0
RE: Decade Ago
By ekv on 7/1/2011 3:32:53 AM , Rating: 2
Right. You're looking at his results. And for the record, AMD's board has their head up their proverbial you-know-what, since they'd rather have a more "mobile"-focused line-up thereby conceding top-end CPU performance to Intel. Not what Dirk had in mind, competitive engineer that he is.

Dirk didn't take over for Hector Ruiz (aka "ruiNz") until Aug. 2008, so that's a mere 2 1/2 years to turn things around. And frankly, ATI is not the problem since they've basically kept AMD afloat. Given the process technology and cash-flow problems, Dirk did a decent job. Especially considering what AMD is now delivering.


RE: Decade Ago
By fteoath64 on 7/1/2011 5:19:19 AM , Rating: 2
The Board was greedy (so whats new here), they wanted to expand the X86 market AND capture a large slice of mobile market. AMD has not got the resources to do both so they did the sure-thing : APU. Now we are getting the fruits of their labor.
I would love to see a Mobile Radeon to counter the Tegra, PVR and Adreno chips. Superb encoding/decoding of 3D video on mobile would need AMD's expertise.


RE: Decade Ago
By GaMEChld on 7/1/2011 2:00:06 AM , Rating: 2
Negative, this is not the fruit, this is no more than the first bud. I think the next iteration will be doubly impressive. Once they've really cleaned up the implementation regarding memory bandwidth to the GPU, replace the STARS cores with Bulldozer cores, and sort out the clockspeed situation... it will be disgusting. And then later on at 28nm? Jeebus!

Interesting times, eh?


RE: Decade Ago
By Gondor on 7/1/2011 5:59:22 AM , Rating: 2
Is Trinity or whatever comes after it even planned for 28nm or just 22nm ? I was under the impression that it is only Brazos's successor that will get 28nm treatment (from 40nm of today) while more powerful Llano successors will go the 32nm -> 22nm route.


RE: Decade Ago
By GaMEChld on 7/1/2011 10:16:47 PM , Rating: 2
Ah you are correct, Ontario/Zacate successors Krishna/Wichita (2core/4core) will be at 28nm. Trinity (Bulldozer based Llano successor) will be at the same 32nm as Llano and Zambezi. Komodo will be the Zambezi successor, and I am unsure what fabrication process it will use. I hope they can make the jump to 22nm by then (2012).


RE: Decade Ago
By hanmen on 7/8/2011 2:42:43 AM , Rating: 2
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if only
By kleinma on 6/30/2011 4:19:11 PM , Rating: 4
now if only cheap ass OEMs would ditch huge GB platter drives and drop some SSDs into these "lower end" machines, and people would actually get really good performance out of not so expensive machines. Yes SSD adds cost, but these old platter drives are still the major bottleneck for computers.

I put an Intel G2 ssd into my 5+ year old HP laptop and the thing boots faster and runs general productivity software faster than just about all new laptops with traditional drives in them.




RE: if only
By twhittet on 6/30/2011 5:31:01 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Maybe if they completely worked the kinks out of the Momentus hybrid drive, OEM's would start putting that in. Consumers wants a balance of size and speed, and typically aren't smart enough to install/store data on a separate data drive.


RE: if only
By GaMEChld on 7/1/2011 2:02:46 AM , Rating: 2
That raises the question, how much space do typical consumers really use? I mean the ones that, as you say, aren't smart enough to store data on a separate drive? I wonder if they'd be just fine with a 64GB SSD?


RE: if only
By cokbun on 7/1/2011 4:05:57 AM , Rating: 1
thats barely 64 porns


RE: if only
By jabber on 7/1/2011 5:40:15 AM , Rating: 5
Good question.

I now put a 64GB SSD into all my budget builds. I use a AMD platform (Athlon II 3GHZ) that enables me through the savings to provide the customer with a radically faster machine. CPU doesnt matter to most folks. They wouldnt know the difference between a Athlon II or an i5 for Ebay or Facebook, so whats the point? They notice the SSD though.

When I tell the customers it will have a 64GB SSD they ask if its enough. I ask then to check the data on their C: drive.

The average is less than 30GB. It's not a concern.

Also if they have a decent sized SATA HDD in their old PC I install that as a secondary drive for free and copy their pics etc. to that.


RE: if only
By GaMEChld on 7/1/2011 10:19:15 PM , Rating: 2
A good strategy. What brand/model do you typically go with for that kind of budget application? Do you go for the newest tech to maximize IOPS and responsiveness, or do you go for old tech to save money?


RE: if only
By jabber on 7/3/2011 1:23:00 PM , Rating: 2
The spec usually is as follows -

AMD Athlon II 250 3GHz CPU
Gigabyte GA-880GM-UD2H Matx board
4GB Corsair XMS3 Ram
OCZ Vertex 2E 60GB SSD 50K IOPS
Antec PSU
Windows 7 64bit

For day to day use it crucifies most off the shelf machines for responsiveness.


RE: if only
By Taft12 on 7/8/2011 11:08:37 AM , Rating: 2
Those off-the-shelf machines have an i5 or Phenom CPU too!

Why don't those OEMs put the component dollars where its needed for the user to have a good experience? If just one does it, they would really have an advantage over their competitors ("why is your HP so much damn slower than my Dell?")

PS I have infinitely more faith in the Intel 320 or X-25M series than anything with OCZ on the label however... Reliability counts more than a minimal performance bump in a system like this.


RE: if only
RE: if only
By mckirkus on 7/1/2011 1:36:16 PM , Rating: 2
True but the HDs in those cheap consumer boxes probably cost $45. SSDs are a lot faster but best case they're looking at $100 for 60GB (a minimum IMO). Reliable SSDs (Intel) are even more expensive.

In a year when they're cheaper and more reliable I think the switch will begin. They'll need a huge marketing/education campaign to explain why consumers should care.


PC Gaming's Future May Brighten Up!
By MistaP on 6/30/2011 5:00:08 PM , Rating: 4
I am a HUGE intel fanboy and everytime I build a system I build bleeding edge ... However, I use my PC pretty much only for gaming and benching. That being said seeing something like this, if you actually think about the different things it could mean, is pretty exciting.

PC Gaming has been on the decline due to a lot of things. Devs have to try and program for a managerie of configurations holding some games back from the PC market. The massive number of console gamers vs. the number of pc gamers means more monetary incentive for devs to just focus on consoles. And reasons that there are so many more console gamers vs pc gamers ... there is ease of use as well as cost to consider.

If the market is there the devs will come. High end PC Gaming is becoming increasingly a niche market because it takes high end parts that take high end money. If they keep improving on affordable solutions for PC gaming they will draw people back to the market and bring some devs back as well.




By jabber on 7/1/2011 5:42:17 AM , Rating: 2
Gaming = Good!

Benching = Sad!

Benching makes computers sad.


By mckirkus on 7/1/2011 1:42:49 PM , Rating: 2
Well said. It's not just the large number of configuration that developers have to contend with, it's the lowest common denominator system. Once the masses all have integrated PC graphics more powerful than the XBox and PS3 (and maybe more importantly, DX11 support), things will get interesting.

The next step is simplifying access to games. Steam has this nailed right now but they need to partner with Amazon.com or similar to really create incentives for game developers.


MB pricing for the AMD APU
By DrApop on 6/30/2011 5:26:15 PM , Rating: 2
What is the deal with the price of FM1 MBs. Granted they are new products just like the APU but what is so great about these boards vs an AM3 board.

I thought they would be a bit cheaper considering they don't even have to have onboard video chips since the video is on the CPU/APU.

Seems to me that at least with the motherboards, you are paying more but getting less (on the MB, not the APU)




RE: MB pricing for the AMD APU
By Motoman on 6/30/2011 11:41:01 PM , Rating: 1
Probably just because they're new. Next year at this time they'll probably be available for $50 on the low end.


RE: MB pricing for the AMD APU
By Parhel on 7/1/2011 10:33:09 AM , Rating: 2
Seems like the boards out so far are mid to high market offerings. Give it 3 months and no doubt we'll see decent boards available around the $80 mark.

I don't see the processors available yet on NewEgg. Maybe they're planning on offering some combo deals.


GPU capabilities
By excrucio on 6/30/2011 5:31:47 PM , Rating: 1
GPU's are so powerful nowadays, they can do certain tasks a hell of a lot quicker than a CPU can. Granted it's mostly used for graphics.

But what we miss is that, we got a great graphics card, with a decent i3 equivalent processor for cheap. ALL IN ONE. Meaning smaller computers. tablets, what ever the hell. you name it.

ATI has now got the lead in that department. All they got to do, is shrink it and improve. AMD and it's innovation. Too bad they are under estimated to hell and back.




RE: GPU capabilities
By BSMonitor on 7/1/11, Rating: 0
RE: GPU capabilities
By GaMEChld on 7/1/2011 10:26:35 PM , Rating: 2
They aren't going to shrink it and improve though. They are shrinking to 28nm but not improving the old tech, but instead switching the architecture to one more similar to Fermi because they are betting heavily on OpenCL taking off, and the Fermi style architecture seems better suited for non gaming, computational tasks. So Radeon HD 7000 "Southern Islands" will be a new kind of architecture than the VLIW arch we have been seeing from ATI/AMD. I just hope they dont run into the same design flaws that NV ran into when they initially launched the GTX 480.


Good chip for mom and pops
By osxsier on 6/30/2011 7:19:42 PM , Rating: 2
Like others have pointed out, the GPU acceleration is not just for games. Modern browsers support using the GPU and if your flash can run better, why the hell not? Plus you are saving money going with this platform.

Finally, if you go to mom and dads house and you get board, you can fire up WoW or something. I think this chip is a win win situation for AMD.

Glad I got a bunch of their stock, in fact, ill be buying more. At $6.99 after todays close, I think its a steal.




Article pic
By Parhel on 7/1/2011 10:27:16 AM , Rating: 2
Had to comment on the picture for the article. "He Got Game" is one of my all time favorite movies, if not my very favorite, and not a lot of people I talk to have ever seen it. If you haven't seen it, dear readers, I recommend you check it out. Especially if you're a father of boys like myself, or a basketball fan.




BEST DAILY TECH PICTURE EVER!
By faster on 7/2/2011 5:34:24 AM , Rating: 2
I love that picture to represent this story.




llano on the desktop
By frozentundra123456 on 7/2/2011 9:33:23 AM , Rating: 2
This may have a place in the mobile market, but it does not impress me at all on the desktop.

Obsolete CPU architecture and mediocre graphics at best. And I dont get the talk about this being for basic use and then talking about high speed ram and overclocking. You think HP or dell is going to put high speed ram in a cheap box that would use this processor? And dont you think anyone knowledgeable enough to overclock would not buy a more powerful system?

If they had been able get the graphics up to say HD5670 levels, then it might be worth it to sacrifice the CPU performance. But as is I am not impressed.




At the end of anandtech review
By finalfan on 6/30/2011 4:50:59 PM , Rating: 1
Why quoting Anandtech review without copying the very last statement:

"If gaming isn't something you're going to be doing then you're better off with Sandy Bridge. And at that point there's no need to spring for the Core i3-2105, the standard 2100 will do just fine."

And when testing video encoding, the APU with the help of GPU still scores less than half what a SB can do but uses much more power?




what?
By intelfanboi on 6/30/11, Rating: -1
RE: what?
By twhittet on 6/30/2011 5:28:22 PM , Rating: 4
I read your post three times trying to figure out wtf point you were trying to get across. Still have no idea.


RE: what?
By tecknurd on 6/30/2011 8:13:09 PM , Rating: 2
Do not worry about intelfanboi because intelfanboi is fud. What intelfanboi does not know is there are different types of buyers and AMD is trying to suite them. For example the Llano processor is suites me very well. I do not need the best processor to do what I need to do. The Llano processor already comes with graphics processor that is more than I need. It is great that it is there when I need to use it. Really having the best components brings out the worst and this case brings out the worst in intelfanboi. The name of the poster should already stand out that the poster is an Intel fan. I am an AMD fan but I do look at the Intel side too and understand the differences. The differences between AMD and Intel is where the companies are heading and what customers at this time they want to hit. Intel hits performance while AMD hits economy or budget-minded.


RE: what?
By TSS on 6/30/2011 10:13:53 PM , Rating: 3
That sniffing glue is generally a bad idea.


RE: what?
By GaMEChld on 7/1/2011 10:36:55 PM , Rating: 2
I think he got confused. Intel is the one who keeps reeling out new motherboard sockets and making things obsolete.


Not as meaningful for desktops
By corduroygt on 6/30/11, Rating: -1
RE: Not as meaningful for desktops
By MarcLeFou on 6/30/2011 3:52:14 PM , Rating: 3
Llano is not the i5 or i7 equivalent so discrete cards are irrelevant. That will be bulldozer in Q3.

Compared to its target market (i3), Llano does incredibly well.

Let's see in Q3 how AMD does in the high-end but if I had to buy a system for my mom today, it'd be a Llano part, not a i3.

If I was buying for myself, now that'd be a different story ...


RE: Not as meaningful for desktops
By Nutzo on 6/30/2011 5:23:20 PM , Rating: 2
You mom plays 3d games? pretty cool.

If not, then why buy a Llano when an i3 would be FASTER for just about everything else.


RE: Not as meaningful for desktops
By Camikazi on 6/30/2011 6:28:44 PM , Rating: 2
My mom does play some 3D games, and my GFs mom plays a few MMOs, so umm yea I would go for Llano, don't think that just cause they are moms that they won't know how to use comps or play games.


RE: Not as meaningful for desktops
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/11, Rating: -1
RE: Not as meaningful for desktops
By Motoman on 6/30/2011 7:33:19 PM , Rating: 2
Um, no.

WoW and other MMOs are highly dependent on the video card. Highly. Moreso than CPU or RAM.


RE: Not as meaningful for desktops
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/2011 8:31:05 PM , Rating: 1
Oh I'm sorry, are you a system builder who's also been playing WoW for almost 7 years now?

Trust me, in a raiding environment with 20+ players on the screen, WoW is extremely CPU and memory limited. These are NOT cutting edge graphics we're talking about, you're vastly overstating GPU dependency.

I could post crap tons of benchmarks and ancillary evidence, but like me, once you have decided something there's no point in changing your mind. Although...

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/world-of-warcr...

That's not to say you can't get playable frame rates from a processor from AMD. But wow--they turn in significantly lower average frame rates in Cataclysm. Like, even the fastest unreleased six-core CPU gets pegged at 60 FPS with a GeForce GTX 480 under the hood. Thinking the problem could have been with our graphics card, we even swapped in a Radeon HD 5870 and saw the same ceiling at 59 frames per second. You can get more performance for about $150 less from a dual-core Core i3-530. Sad.

WoW is extremely CPU/memory scalable, far more than GPU. We see here that with a slower CPU, FPS goes down DRASTICALLY even with a hot (for the time) video card.

Other MMO's might be different, if there are any others. I consider a requirement of Massive Multiplayer Online games to be, well, massive.


RE: Not as meaningful for desktops
By Alexvrb on 6/30/2011 8:59:03 PM , Rating: 2
Reclaimer, I normally respect you, but you're a bit off base here. We're comparing cheap machines with integrated graphics. An i3 2105 is a direct competitor to A8-3850 and it gets SMOKED in WoW and other games. That's Intel's new revision i3 with HD 3000 graphics, too. It's not even close, either. It only gets worse when you equip the Llano with good memory (decent DDR3 1600/1866). Which, given that Llano platforms seem to cost a bit less, isn't that unrealistic.

So yeah, once you drop in a real graphics card that costs nearly twice as much (by itself) as the integrated GPU/CPU combo in one of these budget machines, then you're right. The games DO scale wonderfully with faster CPUs and better memory! But budget OEM boxes relying on integrated graphics? The 6550 integrated into the A8 series smushes the HD 3000. Meanwhile, the 4 Stars cores provide "good enough" performance.

So no, Llano isn't for you. But if you're going to buy mom or dad a budget box anyway, and they do some light gaming or other GPU-accelerated things like viewing Flash videos, using a modern web browser, etc, then Llano is not a bad choice.


RE: Not as meaningful for desktops
By BSMonitor on 7/1/2011 9:43:57 AM , Rating: 2
But we are talking barely acceptable resolutions. Why would anyone whose intention is to game build something with one of these??! They would be better off spending $70 on an Athlon X3 and cheaper RAM for $30 and then spend $130-150 on an AMD 5850 discrete card. Or even $170 on a 6870:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

Not to mention the slew of AM3 motherboards out there under $60-70. The Llano is nothing more than marketing. Intel has it, so we have to, kind of thing.


By Alexvrb on 7/2/2011 11:09:26 PM , Rating: 2
Many OEM boxes do not come with reasonably fast dicrete cards (on purpose) until you get to their more expensive models and configurations. Again, enthusiasts miss the point, this isn't a chip for you or me. This competes with other OEM boxes, and for the price, it has much better graphics than the HD 2000/3000.

So yeah, you could build a cheap gaming box using older AM3 parts. No big surprise there. But as far as OEM boxes relying on integrated graphics? Llano is the first I've seen that I believe would be OK for light gaming, as well as accelerating other software that leans on the GPU via OpenCL, DirectCompute, etc. Granted, I think the lower-power laptop Llano chips have a lot more potential, especially considering you usually have to spend quite a bit more to get some GPU muscle a lappy. Not to mention mobile Llano so far has proven pretty decent on battery life.

As far as resolution goes, that depends on how modern the game is. But I don't think anyone relying on integrated graphics is going to be playing a lot of cutting edge games, or expect too much out of a budget OEM machine. But for the record it is DX11 so for WoW it helps speed things up - they built their new DX11 renderpath for speed. 1680 x 1050 WoW is good enough for many of the common folk, and it'll run decent at that resolution.


By JediJeb on 7/1/2011 11:03:07 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Other MMO's might be different, if there are any others. I consider a requirement of Massive Multiplayer Online games to be, well, massive.


I have never played WoW, but for the last 6 years I have been playing Star Wars Galaxies and I can tell you it is very GPU intensive more so than CPU. My old Athlon 2400xp processor handles the CPU side of it, but to run full out on the graphics the newest cards from the last couple years are finally able to run it well on full settings. My old rig with an ATI x700 can't even handle it when I turn shadows on.

I only wish the game wasn't being sunsetted in December, it was finally coming back to what it should be, but a few weeks down time and Lucas Arts releasing a new MMO I guess killed it off. But it will live on with the EMU project which seems to be progressing nicely and is running the original version of the game as it was released.


RE: Not as meaningful for desktops
By izmanq on 7/2/2011 10:42:29 AM , Rating: 2
even i5 or i7 can't compete with Llano in gaming if just using IGP.Intel IGP are hopeless :D (yes, i'm AMD fanboy, but what i said is still a fact :D )


By corduroygt on 7/2/2011 10:47:31 PM , Rating: 2
A $75 video card will kill Llano in performance and you'll also have a much faster CPU if you go Intel though.


RE: Not as meaningful for desktops
By MrTeal on 6/30/2011 3:56:31 PM , Rating: 2
Other than for HTPCs or other SFF builds, I don't see the attraction of the Llano platform at the current prices.

Given you need to spend $10-20 more for higher clocked RAM just to get lower performance, the A8-3850+MB combination looks especially weak compared to just buying a 3.1GHz X4, AM3 MB and HD5570. You'd get better performance and save $50-70.

Until some lower priced FM1 motherboards start coming out in the $75 range, the platform will be overpriced compared to AM3.


RE: Not as meaningful for desktops
By MrTeal on 6/30/2011 4:18:50 PM , Rating: 2
As an example, right now on newegg.ca you could buy an AM3 MB, X4 645 (3.1GHz), XFX 5570, and 4GB of DDR3-1600. Total cost $255 before $45 worth of mailin rebates. CPU performance would be similar to the 3850, and gaming performance would be much better.

Even using the same RAM, a $135 3850 would need a $90 motherboard to even match the same price as the AM3+X4+5570 combination before mail in rebates. Since you almost never see MIRs on a processor, if you can stomach them there's no way that Llano can touch a $35 HD5570.


RE: Not as meaningful for desktops
By MrTeal on 6/30/2011 4:52:21 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, that's such a good deal that I had to buy it. I need a computer for the basement TV anyway.

Phenom II X3 720 Black
Cheap Biostar AM3 MB
XFX HD5570
Crucial 2x2GB PC-1600
Cheap RF wireless KB+mouse

Grand total after shipping and tax, $257, before $35 MIR. An old ATX case and PS and I'll have a computer I can do some light gaming 1080p on, for less than just Llano+FM1 motherboard.


RE: Not as meaningful for desktops
By Nutzo on 6/30/2011 5:34:47 PM , Rating: 2
I'm still waiting for more information on idle power levels & image quality.
I was planning on building an i3 SB based HTPC, with a cable card/tuner so the idle power is important. But if the image qualiy is better on the Llano, and the price/idle power is the same, I might switch. Guess I'll wait a couple more weeks before I decide.


RE: Not as meaningful for desktops
By Taft12 on 6/30/2011 4:15:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
When you can spend a little bit more and get a discrete card that blows away any IGP solution...


That's not how the OEM PC market works. Almost nobody builds or upgrades their own desktop. In the OEM market, a "gamer" buys an Alienware or Dell XPS and it ships with an HD 5570 video card, unless he paid to upgrade (and paid far more than the price of the card on Newegg, natch).

This is exactly the niche AMD is capitalizing on here. An inexpensive PC capable of enough performance to warrant the word "gaming" in Acer or HP's marketing leaflet.


RE: Not as meaningful for desktops
By Mitch101 on 6/30/2011 4:39:01 PM , Rating: 2
Leaving the graphics on the motherboard does the same.

The bad is if your someone who buys discreet graphics your now paying extra for the chip with a part you dont have any need for. If the price remains the same then AMD is eating the cost of the silicon instead of producing more chips on the same wafer.

Dont get me wrong I think every CPU should have a good GPU as it paves the way for developers to be able to write code that uses it because its a known item in every machine. Photoshop, Video Encoding/Decoding, Encryption, Compression etc.

Now the key is for the OS to leverage the GPU passing specific functions to the GPU over the CPU when necessary rather than using the GPU strictly for graphics output. So the ideal scenario is to ignore the GPU on the CPU for graphics and to leverage it for functions the CPU does poorly to improve OS/Application performance. Eventually the GPU would Merge with the CPU even more so you could use the command set of both more than a CPU/GPU on the same die. Having a hard time expressing my meaning here. Its like how no one thinks of the co-processor any more because the two have merged a long time ago along with the instruction sets.


By Solandri on 7/1/2011 8:20:04 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The bad is if your someone who buys discreet graphics your now paying extra for the chip with a part you dont have any need for.

Unfortunately for you and me, gamers make up a tiny fraction of PC buyers. Most systems will never have a discrete graphics card put into them. Us paying for features we don't need isn't likely to hurt sales much.


Average user?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/11, Rating: -1
RE: Average user?
By fredgiblet on 6/30/2011 3:53:31 PM , Rating: 5
For the average user a smartphone is powerful enough to do everything they want.


RE: Average user?
By ClownPuncher on 6/30/2011 5:07:08 PM , Rating: 2
Who wants to be average?


RE: Average user?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/2011 5:23:01 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly!


RE: Average user?
By MarcLeFou on 6/30/2011 4:06:45 PM , Rating: 5
CPU performance needs to be there but even decade-old P4 are able to properly run most applications an average user runs on their computers these days.

GPU performance on integrated parts is the limiting performance is what most average users will do (watch youtube videos, flash games, etc).

So you get a bigger benefit from having a beefier GPU than CPU.


RE: Average user?
By corduroygt on 6/30/2011 4:21:17 PM , Rating: 2
Youtube videos and flash games, etc. are perfectly playable on a Sandy Bridge just as well as any discrete card. The only time it matters is when playing "big" games such as crysis 2.


RE: Average user?
By nafhan on 6/30/2011 4:48:39 PM , Rating: 2
Mmmm... even things like Sims 3 won't run great at panel resolution on Sandy Bridge (especially on the desktop where most of the chips sold by OEM's have the "2000" GPU).


RE: Average user?
By Marlonsm on 6/30/2011 4:08:20 PM , Rating: 4
For the average user, IMO it's far better to spend money in a faster HDD or even an SSD than in a CPU or GPU.
Any i3 or Llano or whatever you buy today has more than enough power for browsing the internet, watching videos, simple document editing... But a faster storage would make everything open and load faster, which does make a difference.


RE: Average user?
By Taft12 on 6/30/2011 4:19:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
how is CPU and memory performance LESS important than gaming for the "average user"?


The average user gets enough CPU performance from a Celeron or Sempron CPU (or even an AMD E-350).

The CPU performance of every CPU on the market today is capable of doing almost everything a basic PC user would want to do. Playing 3D games is the "last frontier" a cheap Acer or Dell PC can't handle. AMD has finally got us there.


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