Power Consumption

Both the A8-3850 and Intel's Core i3-2105 are built on a 32nm process and both feature extensive power and clock gating. By virtue of having lower power cores the A8 manages to beat the Core i3 in idle power consumption. Under CPU load however the A8-3850 does consume more power as it simply has more cores that can be loaded up. We also see higher power consumption in 3D gaming, but we do get much higher performance and as a result much better performance per watt.

Power Consumption Comparison
  AMD A8-3850 Intel Core i3-2105
Idle 43.6W 51.7W
GPU Accelerated Video Transcoding 126W 85W
3D Gaming (Metro 2033) 126W 101W
CPU Load (x264 Encode) 123W 87.6W

Final Words

If you're building an entry level gaming PC and have to rely solely on integrated graphics, it's clear that Llano is the only solution on the market today. You easily get 2x the frame rates of Intel's Core i3-2105 and can use that extra headroom to increase resolution, quality or sometimes both. The performance advantage is just one aspect of what Llano offers in this department. You do also get better overall game compatibility, DX11 and GPU compute support although the latter is still missing that killer app.

AMD's dual-graphics (asymmetric CrossFire) is an interesting solution to the argument that you could just buy a cheaper AMD CPU and a low end discrete GPU and get better performance. For example, you could get better performance if you bought a Radeon HD 6570 and an Athlon II X4 640 for $175 vs. a A8-3850 for $135. With dual-graphics in play you could add a discrete GPU to the A8-3850 and have better overall performance (in theory) than the discrete card by itself. In practice, limiting dual-graphics to only DX10/11 titles does hurt some of its potential. In my opinion the better solution here would be more aggressive pricing on the Llano APUs. The Athlon II X4 + Radeon HD 6570 is a better buy (unless you want the power savings of the A8), the only way to truly combat that is for the A8-3850 to drop in price.

If gaming isn't something you're going to be doing then you're better off with Sandy Bridge. And at that point there's no need to spring for the Core i3-2105, the standard 2100 will do just fine.

Compute & Video Transcoding Performance
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  • evilspoons - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Haha, I stupidly ordered a 1920x1200 panel in my work laptop (I really should've gone with 1680x1050).

    It's a 15".

    Hahaha.
    Reply
  • Alexvrb - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    You don't like your eyes very much, do you? Reply
  • misuspita - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Oh come on, we come from the same place and that is not true. Budget systems come with the cheapest 19 LCD's which add 80€ to the price of a new budget PC. Resolution?1600x900.

    Yes, if you buy a second hand PC, then you get it with older monitors, but then, you don't get a brand new A8, right?

    I also think that the resolutions tested should be max 3:

    1. laptop minimum - 1366x768
    2. LCD medium - 1600x900
    3. LCD standard - 1920x1080
    Reply
  • Musafir_86 - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    -Where are you from? I'm from Malaysia, and the place I mentioned is in context of a city (that's just a bit bigger than a town); in bigger cities the situation would be different, of course.

    -BTW, I meant a *NEW* budget system paired with a recond/refurbished monitors. CRT is offered to the most budget-constrained customers who would want a PC just for some word processing, surfing the internet, watching YouTube, and some light gaming for their kids. But more would prefer a LCD anyway, even if it's a refurb. :)

    Regards.
    Reply
  • misuspita - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Sorry, your nickname is a word from romanian language, and I thought you are from Romania.

    Well, here new systems come with LCD's only, because they got really cheap in the past 5 years. And the cheaaaapest one still boasts a higher resolution than 1024x768. That's pretty ancient and not used anymore. Why do we not test in 640x480? I mean, safe mode works, we shoul test that one too...
    Reply
  • L. - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Again guys, we're reviewing new tech, the kind that costs a lot of money ... and stuff ..

    If you're into refurbished, I don't quite see the point of getting an i3 when you could get so much more out of second hand (pardon me, but in your position I'd rather spend 130 bucks on a full HD led-backlit LCD rather than a useless core i3).
    Reply
  • ET - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    I'd argue for 1280x720 (720p) as the minimum resolution. That's a reasonable resolution to use as a step down on a 1080p monitor or HDTV.

    By the way, looking at Newegg, the lowest price monitors are either 1366x768 or 1440x900, then a couple of 1600x900 and then 1080p. The difference between in price between the cheapest 1600x900 and 1080p is $10.

    Probably 1366x768 and 1080p are the only two resolutions really worth testing these days, since the market seems to be moving towards them as standards (much as I personally hate 16:9). Though I argued for 720p, the difference between it and 1366x768 is small.
    Reply
  • BigDDesign - Friday, July 01, 2011 - link

    1366x768 feels good with my eyesight and a 15" laptop. WTF is the problem with actually seeing what is on the screen at 2 feet away. 16:10 would be better, but we are stuck with cheap panels at 16:9. I wear glasses for the small stuff. Still don't think that a native resolution of anything less than a 24" monitor is good for 1080p resolution. Reply
  • stephenbrooks - Monday, July 04, 2011 - link

    --[Still don't think that a native resolution of anything less than a 24" monitor is good for 1080p resolution.]--

    Yep, bought a 21.5" 1080p panel and it's pixels seem a little small for desktop use, suggesting 23-24" would be better. (Until all applications and OSes magically become resolution independent.)
    Reply
  • zebrax2 - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    I disagree as many of lower end plasmas use 1024x768. Reply

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