AMD A-Series Desktop Processors Set the APU Bar

Subject: Processors | June 30, 2011 - 10:51 AM |
Tagged: lynx, llano, igp, amd, a8-3850, 6550d, 3850

AMD (NYSE:AMD) today announced availability for the AMD Fusion A-Series Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) A8-3850 and A6-3650 desktop processors. The AMD A8-3850 and A6-3650 desktop processors will enable a high- performance experience for desktop users, including brilliant HD graphics, supercomputer-like performance, and incredibly fast application speeds.

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Both the AMD A8-3850 and A6-3650 desktop processors combine four x86 CPU cores with powerful DirectX®11-capable discrete-level graphics, and up to 400 Radeon™ cores along with dedicated HD video processing on a single chip. Only AMD Fusion APUs offer true AMD Dual Graphics, with up to 120 percent visual performance boost*, when paired with select AMD Radeon™ HD 6000 Series graphics cards. Consumers can achieve supercomputer-like performance of more than 500 gigaflops compute capacity and enjoy rapid content transfers via USB 3.0.

All A-Series processors are powered by AMD VISION Engine Software, which is composed of AMD Catalyst™ graphics driver, AMD OpenCL driver and the AMD VISION Engine Control Center. With this suite of software, users get regular updates designed to improve system performance and stability, and can add new software enhancements.

With a suggested retail price of $135, the AMD A8-3850 desktop processor operates at 2.9GHz (CPU) and 600MHz (GPU) with 400 Radeon™ Cores, 4MB of L2 cache and a TDP of 100W.

The AMD A6-3650 desktop processor has clock speeds of 2.6GHz (CPU) and 443MHz (GPU) with 320 Radeon™ Cores, 4MB of L2 cache and a TDP of 100W. The suggested retail price of the AMD A6-3650 desktop processor is $115.

In an increasingly digital and visually oriented world, consumers demand more responsive multitasking, vivid graphics, lifelike games, lag-free videos, and ultimate multimedia performance. AMD A8-3850 and A6-3650 desktop processors enable these visually stunning end-user experiences.

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FM1 motherboards for the A-Series APUs are available now from leading original design manufacturers (ODMs), including ASUS, ASRock, Biostar, ECS, Foxconn (Hong Hai Precision), Gigabyte, Jetway, MSI and Sapphire.

AMD A8-3850 and A6-3650 desktop processors are scheduled to be available for purchase through system builders and at major online retailers, including Amazon, CyberPower Inc., iBuyPower, Newegg and TigerDirect beginning July 3, 2011. Additional processors are scheduled to be available later this year.

AMD A8-3850 and A6-3650 desktop processors, and the corresponding FM1 motherboards, were created with desktop consumers and gamers in mind.

Read about the AMD A-Series features and performance here.
Learn about the software advantage with AMD A-Series desktop processors here.

Source: AMD
Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

Architecture Details

Introduction

Just a couple of weeks ago we took the cover off of AMD's Llano processor for the first time in the form of the Sabine platform: Llano's mobile derivative.  In that article we wrote in great detail about the architecture and how it performed on the stage of the notebook market - it looked very good when compared to the Intel Sandy Bridge machines we had on-hand.  Battery life is one of the most important aspects of evaluating a mobile configuration with performance and features taking a back seat the majority of the time.  In the world of the desktop though, that isn't necessarily the case. 

Desktop computers, even those meant for a low-cost and mainstream market, don't find power consumption as crucial and instead focus on the features and performance of your platform almost exclusively.  There are areas where power and heat are more scrutinized such as the home theater PC market and small form-factor machines but in general you need to be sure to hit a homerun with performance per dollar in this field.  Coming into this article we had some serious concerns about Llano and its ability to properly address this specifically. 

How did our weeks with the latest AMD Fusion APU turn out?  There is a ton of information that needed to be addressed including a look at the graphics performance in comparison to Sandy Bridge, how the quad-core "Stars" x86 CPU portion stands up to modern options, how the new memory controller affects graphics performance, Dual Graphics, power consumption and even a whole new overclocking methodology.  Keep reading and you'll get all the answers you are looking for.

Llano Architecture

We spent a LOT of time in our previous Llano piece discussing the technical details of the new Llano Fusion CPU/GPU architecture and the fundamentals are essentially identical from the mobile part to the new desktop releases.  Because of that, much of the information here is going to be a repeat with some minor changes in the forms of power envelopes, etc.  

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The platform diagram above gives us an overview of what components will make up a system built on the Llano Fusion APU design.  The APU itself is made up 2 or 4 x86 CPU cores that come from the Stars family released with the Phenom / Phenom II processors.  They do introduce a new Turbo Core feature that we will discuss later that is somewhat analogous to what Intel has done with its processors with Turbo Boost.

Continue reading our AMD A-series Llano desktop review for all the benchmarks and information!

Llano's dance card is available, pick a date with your favourite new AMD APU tomorrow

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2011 - 11:29 AM |
Tagged: x79, release, llano, Intel, brazos, APU, amd

DigiTimes has announced that the 32nm Llano we've all be waiting for will be arriving tomorrow with the A75 chipset in tow.  A pair of A8s and a pair of A6's should be available for you over the next few weeks, with a refresh of less powerful A4 APUs set for the Fall/Winter of 2011.  The last quarter will also see AMD flesh out their lineups of A8 and A6 CPUs and the first arrival of the E-series for their Brazos platform. 

You'll have to wait a while longer for Scorpius, it is not scheduled to hit until the beginning of 2012, which means Intel's X79 chipset will be out along with a few new i3 and i5 models and even a new Celeron.

 

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"CPU maker AMD is set to announce its latest 32nm A series APU codenamed Llano on June 30 with motherboard makers including Asustek Computer, Gigabyte Technology and Micro-Star International (MSI) all having announced products based on AMD's A75 chipset, according to sources from motherboard players.

In early July, AMD will initially supply its FM1-based A8-3850, A8-3800, A6-3650 and A6-3600 APUs with A6-3500, A4-3400, A4-3300, A8-3870, A8-3820, A6-3670 and A6-3620 APUs set for launch in the fourth quarter along with E2-3200. In September, AMD will also announce E-450 and E300 for its Brazos platform.

For the high-end Scorpius platform, AMD will announce the AM3+-based FX-8150, FX8100, FX6100 and FX4100 by the end of September with FX8170, FX8120, FX6120 and FX4140 set for the first quarter of 2012.

For chipsets, AMD will launch A75 (Hudson D3) and A55 (Hudson D2) together with its A series APU, and is set to launch a chipset codenamed Hudson D4 in February 2012.

On the other hand, Intel is also prepared to launch its high-end X79 chipset after September along with 11 upgraded CPUs including Core i5-2320, Core i3-2120T, Core i3-2130 and G540.

The sources pointed out that AMD is targeting Llano at the entry-level and mainstream markets, competing mainly against Intel's Core i3 and Pentium, while E-450 and E300 will target Intel's G440, 540 and 530 series."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

More fun with AMD's new 990FX chipset

Subject: Motherboards | June 27, 2011 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: Sabertooth, asus, amd, 990fx

The ASUS Sabertooth 990FX is not a ROG board as you might expect, instead it bears a logo describing it as a member of "THE ULTIMATE FORCE" aka TUF.  This AM3+ board still features some serious extras, from TUF components and MemOK as well as DIGI+ VRM which denotes an 8+2 power phases on the board and the ability to run 2 of it's 3 PCIe slots at a full 16x simultaneously.  Legit Reviews used the Phenom II X6 1100T BE to power the system during their testing as we are still awaiting the release of the AM3+ CPUs from AMD.  From their testing this $200 board takes top spot, USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbp/s performance were significantly ahead of the 890FX board they compared the Sabertooth to, making this a worthy upgrade for AMD users.

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"ASUS hit the mark with the Sabertooth 990FX! The Sabertooth 990FX was able to dig its teeth into everything we threw at it and be the dominant force in the charts! If you're in the market for a motherboard the ASUS Sabertooth 990FX should be at the top of your short list..."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Asus Announces New Feature Rich F1A75 Motherboard Series For Llano APUs

Subject: Motherboards | June 24, 2011 - 02:27 PM |
Tagged: llano, cpu, asus, APU, amd

Asus today launched a new AMD focused F1A75 motherboard series, which the company claims is designed to optimize the performance of AMD’s Llano APUs. Equipped with such Asus features as Dual Intelligent Processors 2 (DIP2), DIGI+ Voltage Regulator Modules, auto-overclocking features, and a UEFI BIOS the new motherboards are packed with features and ready to be paired with a socket FM1 AMD processor thanks to the A75 chipset.  

The most noticeable end-user feature in the new motherboard series will be the UEFI BIOS which does away with the old-school DOS look in favor of a sleek graphical interface that can be navigated via a touchscreen or a mouse (in addition to the obligatory keyboard input).  Further, beyond the EZ mode and auto-tuning functions, it will allow overclockers to enter an Advanced mode to tweak their settings to get the highest overclock possible, and then save screen captures to a thumb drive by pressing the F12 key.

More specifically, the F1A75-V EVO model features the FM1 processor socket as well as two PCI-Express x8 slots for CrossFireX support in addition to native support for USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps standards.

The new boards should be available shortly at your favorite retailer(s).  Be sure to stay tuned to PC Perspective for Llano desktop APU benchmarks.

Source: Asus

Powercolor's take on the ultimate HD6970

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 24, 2011 - 12:50 PM |
Tagged: powercolor, amd, HD6970, factory overclocked

Head over to [H]ard|OCP to meet the PowerColor PCS+ Radeon HD 6970 with a 60MHz bump on the CPU to 940MHz and memory of 1425MHz which is a 50MHz bump, along with an improved cooler.  They also added some extras to the back of the card, a dual-link DVI-I port, a single-link DVI-I port, one HDMI port, and two mini-DisplayPort jacks which will make setting up EyeFinity a breeze.  The boosted speed helped in overcoming the GTX 570  in almost every single benchmark, pity that the same can be said of the price as it costs more than NVIDIA's card and doesn't surpass it in performance enough to justify the increased cost.

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"PowerColor's highest-end Radeon HD 6970 is on our test bench today. The PCS+ Radeon HD 6970 has a respectable out-of-the-box overclock, a custom cooler, and a free game, but does it offer value for its price premium?"

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

PC Perspective Podcast #159 - AMD Llano Notebook Platform, AMD Fusion platform architecture, X79 Rumors, the deal about BAPCo and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2011 - 02:39 PM |
Tagged: x79, podcast, nvidia, llano, Intel, fusion, APU, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #159 - 6/23/2011

This week we talk about the AMD Llano Notebook Platform, AMD Fusion platform architecture, X79 Rumors, the deal about BAPCo and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:27:10

Program Schedule:

 

  1. 0:00:30 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:01:50 AMD A-Series Llano APU Sabine Notebook Platform Review
  6. 0:05:00 AMD Fusion System Architecture Overview - Southern Isle GPUs and Beyond
  7. 0:33:24 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  8. 0:34:00 AFDS11: AMD Demonstrates Trinity Powered Notebook
    1. AFDS11: Upcoming Trinity APU will use VLIW4 / Cayman Architecture
  9. 0:35:45 AFDS11: ARM Talks Dark Silicon and Computing Bias at Fusion Summit
  10. 0:41:30 AFDS11: Microsoft Announces C++ AMP, Competitor to OpenCL
  11. 0:45:45 New Rumor Indicates X79 Chipset Will Support Both 1366 and 2011 Sockets
  12. 0:49:49 Microsoft is probably laughing as AMD speculates the unlikelihood of Intel buying NVIDIA
  13. 0:54:45 Larrabee rides again, almost ... meet Knights Corner the new Many Integrated Core design
    1. Intel Hopes For Exaflop Capable Supercomputers Within 10 Years
  14. 0:58:35 What's the big deal with BAPCo? Why Benchmarking Matters
  15. 1:05:20 Crysis 2: Cry Harder (with DX11 and High Res textures)
  16. 1:06:00 *Allyn Show and Tell*
  17. 1:12:45 Quakecon Reminder - http://www.quakecon.org/
  18. 1:13:17 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: https://www.findbigmail.com/
    2. Jeremy: How to Encrypt Your Dropbox Files, at Least until Dropbox Wakes the F* up
    3. Josh: nice combo!  http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.654093.24-176-144
    4. Allyn: Lytro
  19. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  20. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  21. 1:25:45 Closing

Source:

More Llano because you know you llove it

Subject: Processors | June 23, 2011 - 12:32 PM |
Tagged: llano, amd, AFDS

Since Llano is the best news we have seen from AMD in quite a while here is more coverage of the APU and the AMD Fusion Developer Summit, this time from The Tech Report.  They take an A8-3500M APU and Radeon HD 6620G powered laptop and pit it against an HP ProBook 6460b with a Core i5-2410M and HD3000.   The TDP of both processors is 35W and they are likely going to be priced similarly once Llano powered laptops hit the market.  As with Ryan's review, for CPU bound tests the AMD processor lags far behind but once the GPU power comes into play the positions are completely reversed.  It will be interesting to see how AMD positions Llano in the marketplace.

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"Can AMD's 'Llano' APU really take on Intel's excellent Sandy Bridge processors and hold its own? We've taken a deep look at its architecture and performance in order to find out."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

AMD is out and ARM is in for several major notebook vendors

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 22, 2011 - 12:05 PM |
Tagged: arm, amd, texas instruments, snapdragon, amazon, tegra

It is not just AMD which is forging a new relationship with ARM, which we saw evidence of during the AMD Fusion Developer Summit, several other manufacturers are making good on previous statements made while waiting for AMD, and are going to be selling ARM based notebooks.  These companies are not on the fringe of the market, these are major vendors like ASUS which are releasing quad-core ARM based notebooks which will use SnapDragon, Tegra or TI for the graphics portion.  DigiTimes has the scoop here, as well as news on a tablet which will be released by Amazon running an unspecified TI processor which we should see by August.

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"Several vendors, including Samsung Electronics, Toshiba, Acer and Asustek Computer, plan to develop ARM architecture notebooks, with products possibly to be launched as early as the end of 2011, according to industry sources.

The sources pointed out that ARM-based systems using Android were already launched under the smartbook name two years ago with Toshiba and Lenovo both launching products in the retail channel. However, due to weaker than expected demand, the related products were soon phased out of the market.

Since ARM's CPU has already been upgraded from single-core two years ago to quad-core with a significant increase in performance, while the platform's storage capacity has also seen significant improvements, and an enhanced user interface, ARM is already capable of launching notebook products that are able to run for a long period of time, and if the price is attractive, there is a great chance for the products to create a brand new market segment in the IT industry.

Asustek has already made plans to launch a 13-inch ARM-based notebook adopting Nvidia's processor with Android.

The sources pointed out that there are already several brand vendors reportedly set to launch ARM-based notebooks with prices lower than US$299 to compete for market share and the vendors' processor choices include Nvidia's Tegra, Qualcomm's Snapdragon and processors from Texas Instruments."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

What's the big deal with BAPCo? Why Benchmarking Matters

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 21, 2011 - 02:36 PM |
Tagged: VIA, sysmark, nvidia, Intel, benchmark, bapco, amd

It seems that all the tech community is talking about today is BAPCo and its benchmarking suite called Sysmark.  A new version, 2012, was released just recently and yesterday we found out that AMD, NVIDIA and VIA have all dropped their support of the "Business Applications Performance Corporation".  Obviously those companies have a beef with the benchmark as it is, yet somehow one company stands behind the test: Intel.

Everyone you know of is posting about it.  My twitter feed "asplode" with comments like this:

AMD quits BAPCo, says SYSmark is nutso. Nvidia and VIA, they say, also.

AMD: Voting For Openness: In order to get a better understanding of AMD's press release earlier concerning BAPCO...

Ooh, BapCo drama.

Why Legit Reviews won't use the latest BAPCo benchmark:

Even PC Perspective posted on this drama yesterday afternoon saying: "The disputes centered mostly over the release of SYSmark 2012. For years various members have been complaining about various aspects of the product which they allege Intel strikes down and ignores while designing each version. One major complaint is the lack of reporting on the computer’s GPU performance which is quickly becoming beyond relevant to an actual system’s overall performance. With NVIDIA, AMD, and VIA gone from the consortium, Intel is pretty much left alone in the company: now officially."

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Obviously while cutting the grass this morning this is the topic swirling through my head; so thanks for that everyone.  My question is this: does it really matter and how is this any different than it has been for YEARS?  The cynical side of me says that AMD, NVIDIA and VIA all dropped out because each company's particular products aren't stacking up as well as Intel's when it comes to the total resulting score.  Intel makes the world's fastest CPUs, I don't think anyone with a brain will dispute that, and as such on benchmarks that test the CPU, they are going to have the edge.  

We recently reviewed the AMD Llano-based Sabine platform and in CPU-centric tests like SiSoft Sandra, TrueCrypt and 7zip the AMD APU is noticeably slower.  But AMD isn't sending out press releases and posting blogs about how these benchmarks don't show the true performance of a system as the end user will see.  And Intel isn't pondering why we used games like Far Cry 2 and Just Cause 2 to show the AMD APU dominating there. Why?  Because these tests are part of a suite of benchmarks we use to show the overall performance of a system.  They are tools which competent reviewers wield in order to explain to readers why certain hardware acts in a certain way in certain circumstances.  

Continue reading for more on this topic...

Source: PCPer