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Thread: AMD Llano APU

  1. #1
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    AMD Llano APU

    The processor wars are back. Intel and AMD are back after a nice long stretch of Intel dominating the CPU market on the performance side. AMD has always been the price winner with very healthy price to performance ratios, but Intel usually remains on the cutting edge of processor design.

    About 5-6 years ago, AMD and the graphic giant ATI merged, and we (computer enthusiasts) have been waiting for the fruits of that merger. At the beginning of the month, AMD finally released it's first APU, which combines a CPU and GPU onto the same die. Yeah, Intel has already done it with their earlier released Sandy Bridge processors, but AMD has done it better, and not just by marginally. At the $100.00 to $150.00 price points, the new AMD Llano processors kick the snot out of the Sandy Bridge offerings at any price on the graphics side of things.

    So, what does this mean for computer DIYers? It's hard to tell. The integrated graphics on the Llano APU's allow for some pretty solid gaming, with capability to handle all but the most intensive games currently out. To this date, this has been unheard of with integrated graphics, whether it be with Intel's Sandy Bridge, or integrated motherboard graphics.

    So, I was the first on my block to sample a new Llano APU. My goals are HTPC (Home Theater PC) specific. The reality is I need a PC that fits in a small case, handles media playback well, including Hulu, Netflix, and DVD, while also capable of some light gaming (Civilization V). Mostly a high powered GPU is wasted in typical media playback, and video streaming, but there's nothing wrong with a little headroom, right? I also need a PC that is virtually silent.

    Does the Llano deliver on all fronts? Absolutely. For $237.00 I walked out of the store with a new motherboard, processor and 4 GB of RAM. The Llano APU runs at top power of 100 watts, and that's for both the CPU and processor. So, ultimately, the system runs cooler, creating less heat, and therefore less fan noise.

    So far, I'm extremely pleased. If you need a gaming rig, a Sandy Bridge i5 plus the beefiest graphics card you can afford is still the way to go, but for budget minded individuals that want something that performs very well, for a very modest price, the Llano is a great option. A quad core Llano APU in a carPC would be pretty cool. Massive multitasking, sound processing, and video processing capabilities.

    Imagine one APU that could control several monitors in your car, provide your passengers with gaming, DVD/Blu-ray playback, all while offering the highest levels of audio digital sound processing.

    My refrigerator now drowns out my HTPC, and I sit much closer to my HTPC than my refrigerator. I can play the latest Civilization offering (Civ5) on my 50" flat screen without having to have a dedicated graphics card which would create more heat in my case, and therefore much more fan noise.

    It's a niche processor that does nothing great, but everything well.
    Just because you don't understand the data doesn't mean it's not relevant.

  2. #2
    Devil's Advocate Adam_MSS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiniVanMan View Post
    A quad core Llano APU in a carPC would be pretty cool. Massive multitasking, sound processing, and video processing capabilities.
    Time for me to go browse newegg. Is this the processor? Newegg.com - AMD A6-3650 Llano 2.6GHz 4MB L2 Cache Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU AD3650WNGXBOX

    and which motherboard did you go with? I see 4 with dual PCI slots Newegg.com - Computer Hardware, Motherboards, AMD Motherboards, FM1, 2
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    Devil's Advocate Adam_MSS's Avatar
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    Just looked up the passmark scores. Pretty impressive. 5922 score, which puts it toward the top of the performance/price heap at 42.3/$. Now I need to understand if this would actually yield enough performance/greater life before obsolescence to justify the cost over a $59 dual core processor.

    PassMark - AMD A8-3850 APU with Radeon HD Graphics - Price performance comparison

    This is for the 3850 and not the 3650 I had linked previously. Newegg.com - AMD A8-3850 Llano 2.9GHz 4MB L2 Cache Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU AD3850WNGXBOX

    Newegg also has a small promotion going on if you combine a Llano and a motherboard: Newegg.com - Feel the Power of DirectX® 11 with the New AMD A-Series APU
    Last edited by Adam_MSS; 07-15-2011 at 08:53 AM.
    You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right. - R.Munroe

    The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them. - W.L.Bragg



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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam_MSS View Post
    Now I need to understand if this would actually yield enough performance/greater life before obsolescence to justify the cost over a $59 dual core processor.
    It's a niche processor for sure. Like I said, if you don't have the room for a discrete graphics card, but need extended graphic capability, then it's a good option. It's priced right for sure, as to get a discrete graphics card, and processor that can beat it will cost you more.

    I got this Gigabyte board Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-A75M-UD2H FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

    Got another $15.00 rebate on mine as well. I also went with the A6 version of the processor. Plenty of oomph for my application.

    Oh, and if you do, get the 1866 RAM. The Llano can take advantage of it. When the benchmarkers put up a Llano running on 1866 against other processors that can't really utilize that then the Llano really comes through. Not many benchmarkers are doing that though. Because Sandy Bridge can only utilize 1333, that's what most have been using, and that chokes the Llano.
    Just because you don't understand the data doesn't mean it's not relevant.

  5. #5
    Devil's Advocate Adam_MSS's Avatar
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    That's a very tempting combo. I'm trying to find something with dual PCI slots to allow me to run 2 delta 1010lt cards if I so desire. Wonder if a PCI Express to PCI adapter would be a viable solution. Edit- according to this review, someone was successful using a 1010lt with the pci-e to pci adapter: http://www.buy.com/prod/startech-com...4.html#cRevSec

    There are some full size ATX boards that look really good, but I'm not entirely sure I'm ready to pick up the extra couple inches of board. Upside with the atx would be some addition connectivity in most cases.
    Last edited by Adam_MSS; 07-15-2011 at 08:55 PM.
    You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right. - R.Munroe

    The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them. - W.L.Bragg



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