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Present day consumers use their PCs for multimedia intensive tasks such as HD video playback. These HTPC tasks are not very power efficient when done using the x86 processor alone. Gamers have remained the main focus of the GPU developers. However, the GPU architecture (coupled with a dedicated video decoder on the same silicon) is quite useful for video playback and post processing also. This lightens the load on the x86 processor, and so, even consumers who rarely game opt to go for a discrete HTPC graphics card.

Intel used to integrate the GPU into the chipset till the GMA X4500. In Clarkdale, the integrated GPU became a part of the processor package itself, and eventually became a part of the main die in Sandy Bridge. The GMA X4500 and later models have a very efficient decoder, and renders a discrete HTPC graphics card redundant for most entry level users. AMD, unfortunately, had support for integrated graphics in only some of their chipset models. That is set to change today, as Lynx (the desktop version of the Llano) makes its way into the market. Ever since AMD acquired ATI, a processor with AMD's x86 CPU and ATI's GPU on the same die was hotly expected. The Lynx integrates a number of AMD Stars cores and also an updated Redwood class GPU (called Sumo) into the same die.

GPU Area in the Llano vs. GPU Area in Sandy Bridge (Die shots approximately to scale)

GPU support for basic HD video decoding and the 3D fad (Blu-rays) is provided by all the current platforms from Intel, AMD and NVIDIA. From an HTPC perspective, mainstream consumers have started feeling the need for good, flexible video post processing capabilities also. Discrete AMD GPUs are well respected in the HTPC community, and the Redwood class GPUs have been used to override the Clarkdale's IGP in many a setup. Can the Sumo wrestle the spot away from Intel HD3000 Graphics in HTPCs?

Lynx HTPC Testbed Setup
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  • duploxxx - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    You mention that 6550D is a good first step to counter the intel GPU HTPC market, I would turn it around.... provide any reason why there would be a need for any Intel HTPC without additional graphics with Liano released?

    Liano Display Quality and performance HTPC wise is better
    Liano total cost is lower, at least when you take the right board for it. (not like the asrock extreme review bold compare max vs low)
    Liano can actually play a game, can't on the Intel parts for any decent level and quality
    Liano will consume less power on idle, htpc use
    the boards have standard better features.

    anything left? oh yes unfortunate... its not an Intel branded logo...
    Quicksync is a marketing part just like the amd smooth
    Reply
  • L. - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Clearly, the opinion in the last AT reviews about the Liano is biased, and it's a pity.
    Good thing AT is not the only website that reviewed it, shows just how much of a threat this is for Intel.

    Fact of the matter is you can build your HTPC with just a Liano for cheaper, it does better and consumes less.

    Yes Liano is not half as good as it should be, but that's still much better than the Intel alternative, no matter how much you attempt to downplay the GPU part of this APU.

    Either way, platform costs will always make AMD a better option, the cheapest P67 mobo is around 100 euros, the first Liano mobos are 100 bucks, with a good price drop coming as usual.
    Reply
  • cacca - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    I second your analysis, here is getting ridiculous.

    They even split the review to not close their analysis saying that as a generalist solution llano is the best for buck for medium/low market.
    Reply
  • prdola0 - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Sorry but this back-patting squad seems like the AMD PR department on a posting spree.

    If AMD wanted to make waves, they shouldn't come with a half-done product. For gaming, the best Llano APU is barely able to play some new games at minimum details. Great. But that is only the top product. All the other Llanos are just going to be worse. Did you miss that?

    For the $30-$40 you can save on the expensive memory needed for Llano to get a half-decent gaming result, you could just invest into a low-end discrete GPU (AMD or NVIDIA, i don't care) and Intel i3-2100 and you get a more powerful CPU, better graphics power- and quality-wise and the ability to actually upgrade the GPU and CPU parts independently, should such a need arise.

    Please AMD PR, stop throwing your paid posters at every review that is just and fair - even if unfavourable to your product. Thanks.
    Reply
  • cacca - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    i think you have a reading comprehension problem.

    Llano is for medium/low market and if you go around you will see that it can run at medium settings with dX11 a lot of games and even some of the new.

    HD3000 can't run DX11 and not even at medium setting. That the reasono for the other review using not even AntiAliasing and/or super crappy quality/resolutions

    Is not problem of PR marketing or not.

    If i want a high market PC i would go intel 2500k/2600K overclock it and buy a 6950 mod to 6970 and overclock. Because INTEL has the best top processor.

    But at medium/low market for the same money Llano just puts a big torn in the ass to i3 and other half assed intel GPU. Are really 2 different worlds.

    If Intel halves the prices for motherboards and i3s they would get back the crown as system but not as single jack of all trades chip.
    Reply
  • prdola0 - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    It is really a simple, elementary school type, equation. You save some money when you buy a i3-2100 instead of A8. You save some money by going for just DDR3-1333, which is enough for the i3, instead of DDR3-1600 or even DDR3-1866, that are needed in order to get decent performance. Buy a low end GPU with that saved money, and you get better CPU power, better HTPC video quality, possibly better gaming framerates and the ability to upgrade the parts separately.

    It can't be simpler. You may even buy an Athlon II X4 instead of the APU for pretty much the same effect with more money to spend on the GPU. I don't care about the brands.

    Llano is only half-done and your AMD PR relation is too obvious. The rhetoric is too similar on most of the review sites. And most of the sites stated that Llano is far from expectations (on the desktop side, mobile is decent).
    Reply
  • silverblue - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Here's what I expected:

    1) Llano's GPU would be bandwidth constrained and faster RAM would help ease these issues.
    2) Llano's GPU would approach DDR3 HD 5570 performance. It may not surpass it, but we're talking relatively close.

    In terms of its gaming performance, Llano has turned out pretty much as I expected. I can't be the only one to have this opinion.
    Reply
  • duploxxx - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    I suggest you read again what you posted....

    HTPC Quality is better on Liano vs

    Mobo Price is lower for liano when you compare the same type of mobo, not the cheapest intel and the most expensive AMD like anandtech did. SO total price is already lower from the start not to mention the additional gpu cost and power consumption.

    you don't need 1866, 1600 has shown to be more then adequate and actually you can just use 1333 for HTPC only. Price of 1333-1600 is equal btw...

    Features are better on AMD chipsets

    Liano is able to play at least games on the same CPU, Intel not

    you can always add a gpu on liano, even a cheaper one in cf will do better.
    Performance idle and playback is lower then Intel
    Reply
  • cyrusfox - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Agreed, Super BIAS!

    Ganesh that whole bit about Intel getting the GPU on die quicker than AMD didn't mean anything for Intel as the GPU was very very weak. Even now on SB its still at the bottom of the discrete pile. Its also why Brazos is creaming atom and the only reason the ion market ever took off.

    Llano/Lynx is a great value proposition, you get AMD's superior GPU drivers and a bumped up Phenom ii performanc. With the A75 Chipset you also are getting usb3, when is Intel going to make that standard, 2012? Sure Intel has the fastest CPU's on the market, even in this price range. AMD 32nm is on the market! Can you imagine the impact fusion will have especially when it is this cheap.
    Reply
  • mino - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Just FYI, Clarkdale did NOT have a GPU on-die.

    It was a MCM - essentially a northbridge & CPU put on the same package.
    Reply

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