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AMD A8-3850 Llano Desktop Processor Review - Can AMD compete with Sandy Bridge?

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: AMD

AMD Llano Motherboards, CPUs and the new FM1 Socket

New sockets, new motherboard, new processors: it is pretty much a routine here at PC Perspective.  The new FM1 socket doesn't differ by much compared to previous AMD sockets like AM2/AM3 and the new AM3+ though we need to define right up front that Llano processors will not work in any previous motherboard or socket!  If you end up deciding to invest in an AMD A-series of APU you will need to get a new motherboard along with it. 

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The new FM1 socket

That gap in the middle there is the telltale sign that you are looking at an FM1 motherboard rather than anything for the Phenom line of processors.  The pin count on this new socket is 905 to be exact - just a bit less than the Phenom II processors on the market today which is kind of surprising considering how much more complex the technology on Llano actually is. 

Our review kit from AMD actually shipped with the ASRock A75 Pro4 motherboard and it treated us very well during our testing and evaluation.

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ASRock A75 Pro4

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ASRock A75 Pro4

We also got in the new Gigabyte A75-UD4H motherboard with DisplayPort output support.

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Gigabyte A75-UD4H

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Gigabyte A75-UD4H

Of course, all of the standard board vendors that you know and love (or loath) are going to be offering Socket FM1 based options including ASUS, ECS, MSI and others.

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For the AMD Llano processor itself, from even a slight distance it would be easy to mistake it for one of its older CPU-only cousins.  Our AMD A8-3850 APU is a full production processor and NOT an engineering sample.  

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AMD A8-3850 APU

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AMD A8-3850 APU

As described earlier, here are the processors specifications:

  • AMD A8-3850 APU
  • 32nm HKMG process
  • Quad-cores @ 2.9 GHz clock speed
  • 4MB L2 cache (1MB per core)
  • DDR3-1866 memory support
  • 100w TDP
  • Radeon HD 6550D graphics
  • 400 Radeon Cores @ 600 MHz

Physical installation and all of that remain just as simple as you remember from any previous platform configuration.  And if you happen to have a heatsink that is approved for the AM2/AM3 processor sockets then it will also install on the new FM1-based Llano motherboards as well, saving you a bit of money and hassle. 

Now, there is just one more thing to get to before we dive into the many pages of benchmarks and performance metrics...what exactly are we going to be looking for in our evaluation??

October 31, 2011 | 08:11 PM - Posted by Bovinebill (not verified)

I think you have missed the whole point of buying an a-series APU.

If you want better performance that what the inbuild 6550 and a pci 6670 card will give you, then just dont bother buying the A-series APU.

Get yourself a decent AMD X4 or X6 chip instead and a motherboard that support AM3 chips.

These chips are faster the the A-series and will team up better with the higher end graphics cards.

November 18, 2011 | 07:33 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This review is bullshit.
You can't overclock llano more than 3-5%
All you are doing is changing a number with your "overclocks", benchmark and see.

December 14, 2011 | 03:37 AM - Posted by Jhangir (not verified)

This processor is perfect for me. Low price and reliable performance. and discrete level dx 11 and grafichs.

December 18, 2011 | 03:21 AM - Posted by Kaupo (not verified)

this is the future of protcessors!

January 11, 2012 | 12:02 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I just installed an amd a8-3850 processor, and i was wondering what is the best discrete graphics card to use dual graphics with my cpu. i have been looking at the Visiontek 900485 Radeon HD 6670 Video Card.

appreciate any help :)

January 11, 2012 | 01:08 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

im thinking the most likely card i will buy is the DIAMOND 6670PE32G Radeon HD 6670 2GB 128-bit GDDR3. its a little bit cheaper. and more likely to fit in my case

January 21, 2012 | 01:50 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I don't think that card will work in Crossfire X. I just got it today, and have spent literally hours trying to get it to Crossfire with A8-3850. I have all drivers installed and still cannot enable the Crossfire on AMD Vision Control Center. I am pretty savvy, but cannot figure it out. Diamond doesn't even list this card on their site anymore. Think they are running from this problem, instead of tackling it!

September 24, 2012 | 04:25 PM - Posted by geniusthmaster (not verified)

hey my bios doesnt have those options im running a laptop and i need to undervolt and overclock. can u shed some help? i may consider attempting e the fact flashing your bios over mine, despite the fact that ill most likely render my pc useless.

September 24, 2012 | 04:26 PM - Posted by geniusthmaster (not verified)

hey my bios doesnt have those options im running a laptop and i need to undervolt and overclock. can u shed some help? i may consider attempting e the fact flashing your bios over mine, despite the fact that ill most likely render my disfunctional. or do u have other suggestions etc etc?

September 24, 2012 | 04:55 PM - Posted by geniusthmaster (not verified)

just thought you would like to know, did some cusstomizations based upon my ELITE settings within my dell vostro core 2 duo westwood 1500 dell intel laptop, and i got this toshiba satellite 8100xlr8x to achieve stable all 4 cores at a 2464 Mhtz, the temparute gain without fan speed control is 1 c per second, the modification are thus:
volt rail 1 at 1.0063

volt rail 2 at 1.0437

turbo core disable

multiplier at 19x

system score on full benchmark :: 6436

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