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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  • L. - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Oh and to go further than that ... i3-2100 + CF6950 > i5+6970
    And yet here we are, buying i5-2500k's and saying its THE cpu to get .. lol
    Reply
  • smartarse - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Yeah, that's generally how things are done around here.

    Intel's CPU wins a benchmark by 5%? YOU MUST BUY THE INTEL CPU

    Intel's setup uses 10w less at the plug? Clearly, any respectable human being would think of the planet

    Core iX integrated graphics beat 890GX in 2 of 10 games? YOU MUST HAVE ONE NOW!!!!

    Now, flip that around:

    AMD ties Intel in a real world benchmark you actually use? You still want Intel for it's Sysmark score.

    AMD is more efficient? Who cares about efficiency?

    Llano integrated graphics win by 200%? Meh, we expected more, and graphics don't matter anyways.
    Reply
  • HW_mee - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    I had to create an account after reading the review and comments.

    I have a two points that I hope people are open for a discussion about.

    First of all, I believe Anand has missed the point of desktop Llano processors. The target platform seems to be laptops, and it really fits in the laptop market, while the desktop Llano processors seem to get low priority from AMD.
    The desktop processors are useful as they provide a powerful platform at a low cost, which is an indication of the intended market for these parts.

    The target consumer for the desktop parts seems to be OEM's, as they can now get rid of dGPU parts in AMD equipped machines in the 500 - 700$ segment, as this segment often features a Radeon 5450, Nvidia GT 430 or similar low end dGPU.
    One less component to worry about is welcome news at any OEM.

    Looking at Llano as a part for a home build, which I think is what Anand is doing in this review, makes it seem odd. Home build are designed to be very good at one or several points, single threaded performance, gaming, low power etc. The only point where Llano excels is idle power use, which nobody seems to care about, and delivering balanced performance with excelling or being particular bad at anything.

    Second point I think should be discussed is peoples notion of what an average user needs in terms of computing power.

    You guys are very demanding users and seem to expect a lot from the average user.
    Going the list of people i know and their computers specification shows that none of them are even close to needing an i3-2100. the computers have a mix of single core Pentium M and ULV processors in the laptops and the desktops consist of a mix of old Athlons, post socket A, and first gen core processors.
    These people are not even close to really stressing their processor. The two most common complaints from the average users I know is the slow harddrive and crappy Intel IGP.

    I could write a lot more on this, including talk of SSD/dGPU being more useful than a powerful processor, but I think I have rambled enough.
    Reply
  • HW_mee - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Anand needs an edit button, just to allow editing for one minute after posting.

    I wanted to edit this part:
    The only point where Llano excels is idle power use, which nobody seems to care about, and delivering balanced performance with excelling or being particular bad at anything.

    to say:
    The only point where Llano excels is idle power use, which nobody seems to care about, and delivering balanced performance without excelling or being particular bad at anything.

    changing with to without makes a big difference :-/
    Reply
  • L. - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    And for that ... we have the successor to e-350, the only APU that actually hits the spot. it's what everyone needs as HTPC, PC, laptop, work pc, ... all you like.

    And it's prolly as powerful as an Xbox360 anyway ;)
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    As work PC? Glad you're not ruling my IT department!

    MrS
    Reply
  • BSMonitor - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    "You guys are very demanding users and seem to expect a lot from the average user.
    Going the list of people i know and their computers specification shows that none of them are even close to needing an i3-2100. the computers have a mix of single core Pentium M and ULV processors in the laptops and the desktops consist of a mix of old Athlons, post socket A, and first gen core processors."

    Ok grandpa, you sound like my 60y/o supervisor.

    "in my day, a horse could get you everywhere you need to go"

    Try running WIndows 7 and Office 2010 on a Pentium M. Not gonna be pretty. Try jumping on a web site with some Java or Flash.

    YOUR point is that, "I never really use my PC except to look at pictures or lightly browse the interent". Well, why are you looking at a new PC for this if your Pentium M can handle it.

    The point of ALL these articles is to decide what is the best available tech on the market right now. No one cares that you still use woefully underpowered machines to run windows 2000 and office 95..
    Reply
  • L. - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    You sir . are unnecessarily offensive.

    If MS managed to make Office 2010 heavy enough to be an issue on anything above a p3, it's quite just another episode of "hey we can't code shit, but let's do it anyway, add some duct tape, paint it and sell it".

    The point of the articles is to decide what is the MOST APPROPRIATE tech on the market for a USER's specific NEEDS.

    In that, you sir, fail.

    Most people only use facebook,youtube,gmail (or any webmail,really),some music player, some divx player (yes not everyone watches full HD x264 like me), and a few flash games or stuff.

    Would you seriously state that an i3-2100 is REQUIRED for those tasks ?
    Reply
  • BSMonitor - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/71?vs=289

    And that Celeron is actually faster than an equivalent Pentium M.

    Are you just stuck in a box? Software today cannot run on 5 year old hardware. Let alone 8y/o.

    =

    MOST people multi-task. You must be of the variety that sits at the computer screen and receives and email notification and thinks, "whoo that is cool, email.. who knew!"

    ==

    OWNED
    Reply
  • HW_mee - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Great, lets try using that Celeron as a comparison point, I guess it is 4 times slower than an i3-2100, heck it is the cheapest Intel processor you could but 3 years ago, but even that is enough for a game of L4D, Fallout 3 or Oblivion.

    If you go cheap today and buy a dual core 2.X GHz, what task will you not be able to complete "fast enough" as an average user? You mention Encoding sound/video, but the average user just downloads that song/movie straight from the Internet.
    Reply

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