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Asymmetric CrossFire

Asymmetric CrossFire is supported by desktop Llano APUs. You can combine your A6 or A8 with a Radeon HD 6450, 6570 or 6670 and have both GPUs work in tandem. There are some limitations as we found - mainly asymmetric CF only works in DX10 or DX11 games. While DirectX 9 titles will still function, performance will be suboptimal as you'll soon see.

AMD Radeon Dual Graphics Branding
Discrete GPU 6550D 6530D
HD 6670 HD 6690D2 HD 6690D2
HD 6570 HD 6630D2 HD 6610D2
HD 6450 HD 6550D2 HD 6550D2

Getting asymmetric CrossFire working was a breeze. ASRock's BIOS was setup by default to allow for a secondary discrete GPU to function in dual-graphics mode, all I had to do was install a Radeon HD 6570. My monitor remained plugged into the motherboard and the driver handled the rest:

If you're running a DX10/DX11 game you can get positive scaling, however the gains vary. In Crysis we saw a 68% increase in performance over the APU alone, but only a 12% increase over the discrete GPU by itself:

Crysis: Warhead

HAWX showed us bigger gains on both sides. We saw a more than 2x improvement over the APU alone and a 32% increase over the Radeon HD 6570 by itself:

HAWX

Fire up a DX9 game (or a DX10/11 game in DX9 mode) however, and the results are disappointing. You actually get lower performance than if you had stuck with the discrete GPU alone:

Metro 2033

DiRT 2

Mass Effect 2

StarCraft II

GPU Performance Performance in Older Games
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  • AnandThenMan - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    What happened to them, I thought it was stated that they will be up "in a few hours". And what about some DX11 tests, seeing Llano is capable, why not run a few DX11 games to see what it can do? Reply
  • crocin - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Would be interesting to see how this A8-3850(150$?) will fair vs an intel pentium G840 + amd 5670(85$+70$=155$). Simply because these are the 2 options one would have when picking up a system with same money yeah?

    Also, wont this system would make so much more sense, if mobo makers came out with a 20$ motherboard w\o pci-e, hell no old school pci slots either. One 4gb ram slot of speeds upto 1866. Hmmm, that will bring AMD into the win for ultra cheap desktops. Or I am just crazy maybe. :p ANyway, always best part about AT is the technical part and the colorful graphs yey,
    Reply
  • triclops41 - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Slap this in a windows version of a Mac Mini and you have the coolest HTPC/portable 720p gaming system around. Almost as good as a PS3 or 360, tiny, quiet and versatile. Reply
  • JoJoman88 - Friday, July 01, 2011 - link

    To me this just will not due for desktop at all. I can see the positives for notebooks and all but unless there is a greater range to crossfire with this is no use to me. Isn't that the problem with PS3 and 360, you are stuck with the video that the unit comes with at the time of purchase. Yes you could just pop in a better Fusion chip later and keep the rest of the system the same,that is better that what you can do with a PS 3 or 360. I have at least 5 AMD video cards that will smoke this thing.

    I know AMD will improve the Fusion line in the future. but they will never come even with the latest separate CPU and video card. Is Open CL really going to be that big of a deal that you will need the feature. I can't see this APU doing Open CL and gaming at the same time. Would, or do games use Open CL/Direct Compute at the the same time as Direct X. Would they not be using the same GPU at the same time and choke the system down.What about multitasking, you couldn't run a Open CL/Direct Compute at the same times as you were playing a DX game at the same time without killing the GPU Right ?!?

    I just don't see what good except as others have said that this desktop stuff is aimed for OEM's to save money and raise the preformance of their lower end computers. I am open to that i'm totally wrong about how this works.
    Reply
  • bhima - Saturday, July 02, 2011 - link

    The Llano APU in a desktop just makes absolutely no sense as a budget gaming system unless you really only want the APU's graphics. Otherwise, if you are planning to actually buy a cheap discrete GPU you'll already surpass Llano's on-board offering with like a $50 board AND you won't be severely bottlenecked by their piss-poor performing CPU. The mobile Llano's make sense, but the desktop ones are just too damn gimped compared to the i3... the lowest performing Intel processor.

    /yawn wake me up when Bulldozer gets here.
    Reply
  • Aone - Sunday, July 03, 2011 - link

    When you did the price calculation of Llano vs. Athlon you forgot to include MB price.
    Llano MB prices are >100$ today.
    And IMO, Phenom X2+d.GPU is much better option for gaming PC than Athlon X4.
    Reply
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  • Idanisi - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    would crossfire work with a nvidia video card? Reply

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