Llano vs. Sandy Bridge: Finally, Acceptable Processor Graphics

On average the A8-3850 is 58% faster than the Core i5 2500K. If we look at peak performance in games like Modern Warfare 2, Llano delivers over twice the frame rate of Sandy Bridge. This is what processor graphics should look like. While I believe Sandy Bridge was a good start for integrated GPU performance, Llano is my ideal for 2011. Update: We've added results from the latest 2372 driver for the 2500K. Most performance results remain unchanged however a few problematic areas for Sandy Bridge have been addressed as a result. Llano still maintains a significant performance in the majority of cases.

Games that are more CPU bound however do show Llano's weakness. Both Dragon Age and Starcraft II have Sandy Bridge either outperforming or coming very close to Llano in frame rates. Those are most definitely the exception rather than the rule however; for the most part AMD is able to deliver entry-level discrete GPU performance with Llano.

Dragon Age: Origins

Dawn of War II

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

BioShock 2

World of Warcraft


Starcraft II - AT GPU Test

Starcraft II - AT CPU Test

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Mafia II

Civilization V - DX9

Metro 2033

DiRT 2

GPU Performance: Between a Radeon HD 6450 & 5570 Final Words


View All Comments

  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - link

    Thanks for your input :) I'll definitely get some of this in there.

    Take care,
  • StormyParis - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    Thanks for your answers Anand. I indeed keep trying to play at non-native resolutions, but for a PC (very close to the screen; as opposed to a console), things get very ugly very quickly.

    I was kinda hoping Llano would be able to play WoW, in a raid 25, lowest settings, on my 1680 screen if not on my 1920... that doesn't seem to be the case ?

    Thanks for you very interesting website, and best regards,

  • Veerappan - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    You're making me feel sad here... my primary desktop at home still uses a 19" 1280x1024 Dell 1905FP. My work desktop was also a 1280x1024 19" until that machine was replaced about 2 months ago.

    My laptops both run 1280x800 as well, which is even less resolution than my desktops.
  • Dorin Nicolaescu-Musteață - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    According to StatCounter, a quarter of world population still run at 1024x768 and two thirds (!) at 1280 or below.

  • DanNeely - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    For gaming purposes steam's hardware survey is a better dataset. It has about 26% at 1280x1024 or less, and 17% at 720Pish resolutions (1366x768 and 1400x900) . It's still a large share, but is much smaller than the overall web average.

  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    Comparing the Sandy Bridge scores on page 4 with your original Sandy Bridge review it looks like you are reposting your original scores for Sandy Bridge with launch drivers.


    Normally, I don't get too picky about Intel graphics driver updates since they tend to be bug fix focused rather than performance, but the most recent Intel driver update looks to have a new description format and specifically calls out double digit percentage performance increases in a number of games. With it looking like Intel is finally getting gaming serious with their IGPs and now their drivers too, it's disappointing that you didn't use the latest drivers to compare to Llano. Especially when you conclude that the A8-3850's IGP is 56% faster than the fastest Sandy Bridge IGP, if Intel's double digit percentage performance claims are actually realizable, that has a material impact on how significant the IGP difference between Llano and Sandy Bridge is.

  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the post - I've updated the results with the new 2372 drivers :)

    Take care,
  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    Looks like a measurable improvement overall for Sandy Bridge with the newer drivers, but only a significant performance increase in Starcraft II and Black Ops.

    Thanks for the prompt response.
  • iwod - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    Great Itcommanderdata actually points this out here. Which i just did in the other Mobile Review comment.

    We are comparing ATI Mature drivers to Intel Drivers that can still extract double digit percentage gain in performance.
  • Exodite - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    While it's not surprising to find out that the GPU end of Llano is memory-starved it's no less disappointing. I had expected performance closer to that of a 400 SP-equipped discrete card.

    With the current performance levels it's still impossible for the chip to allow for even reasonable gaming power, being within spitting distance of other IGPs.

    Unless we'll see solutions that add dedicated GPU memory to Llano motherboards I'd still rather buy the i3 2100 as it offers better performance for the majority of the applications relevant in that segment of the market.

    Let's face it... people who buy low-end/midrange chips, AIOs and entry-level graphics aren't going to be doing any amount of work that benefits significantly from multi-threading power or GPU grunt.

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