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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  • HW_mee - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Thank you.

    The single core parts are only in the older laptops, the Athlon's and ULV's are dual core, but immensely slow compared to a i3-2100.

    I believe that any post Pentium 4 processor, either Intel dual core or Athlon X2, should be enough for a casual user, yet people here give me the impression that i3-2100 or athlon X4 is a bare minimum in any computer :-/ I just had to respond to that.
    Reply
  • seapeople - Saturday, July 02, 2011 - link

    Come on, this is getting silly. You may be right on your points about the "average user", but what's also true about the "average user" is they probably set their 1440x900 20" LCD monitor to 1024x768 because "it all looks bigger". Does that mean we should all team up and head out to different websites reviewing new monitors saying "The 1080p resolution is USELESS nowadays! Most people don't even use it! Ever since they came out with 720p, resolution doesn't even matter on a monitor anymore,"

    Just because people happily tolerate crappy old processors doesn't mean they wouldn't notice and be happier with the speed of an i3.
    Reply
  • HW_mee - Tuesday, July 05, 2011 - link

    Unfortunately some users do set their LCD monitor to lower than native resolution because they want things to be bigger, I do not see this with Windows 7, but a lot of older people did it in XP to get bigger icons and text.

    I am not saying that the average user idiotic mindset should be the point of a test, I am saying that the discussion on Intel iX-XXXX vs some AMD X4 for an average user is overkill. Give the average user a cheap Athlon X2, an E-350 or a low end Core 2 and use the money saved on an SSD or proper GPU and the end user will be way happier than with an expensive processor.

    It is funny, people replying to my post really seem to hate reading about someone recommending a slow processor.
    Reply
  • Seikent - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    +1

    It's a bit obvious that Llano is not for the people reading this review, but I see a lot of average users that at most have a dual core pc (celeron, pentium 4, athlon x2, etc) that don't want to update their computers because they don't use them very much and they are good enough to browse and write stuff. For them, Llano is a suitable upgrade.

    Remember that there are a lot of countries where the salaries are way lower than USAs and electronic stuff is more expensive, so it isn't cheap to buy a $400 USD PC.
    Reply
  • HW_mee - Tuesday, July 05, 2011 - link

    Thank you. It is nice to see someone who comments on the market I find Llano is intended for, instead of thinking I am a troll claiming somebody may not care that their 5 year processor is slow compared to what they can get now.

    BTW. I am from a country where the average income is higher than in most of the world and the equivalent of 400$ barely buys you a computer, that was the launch value of the Wii when it launched here :-)

    For that money you can get an Atom or Sempron based computer :-( not exactly a fast computer by any accounts. The AMD A8 processors will probably end up in OEM system costing the equivalent of 1000$ once they get here.
    Reply
  • BigDDesign - Friday, July 01, 2011 - link

    If you can move a mouse fast, than a faster processor works. PEROID. Use a mouse to it's ability, and there is room for even faster CPU's. Enough said. Reply
  • tech6 - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    While it may make a good entry level gaming system, I would also say that it is a solid business PC platform, providing enough GPU and CPU performance, decent power usage at a competitive price. The weakness of the Sandybridge desktop is the single core graphics which is underwhelming on larger (and increasingly common) monitors and this is where AMD has a sizable advantage. Reply
  • BSMonitor - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Nope. Why on earth would a company switch from Intel to AMD machines because the AMD APU delivers better integrated gaming performance???

    Not a one.

    Llano is a tiny niche product. A total yawn.
    Reply
  • L. - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Look at a few trends, like desktop virtualization, thin clients, all that.. and you'll see how smaller-scale APU's are quite the business flavor of the moment.

    This goes just the same for brazos ..

    Llano is way too powerful for anything businessy so let's not bring it into the discussion.
    Reply
  • BSMonitor - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    And what benefit does a Llano CPU with 4 cores and decent gaming performance do for the desktop virtualization picture??

    The Core i3's wipe the floor with them in terms of power usage and single threaded applications.

    So what benefit is Llano in this case? What good would 2 extra cores and better FPS do with the real work applications on the server?

    Intel has already been producing these chips since January. It's now July.
    Reply

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