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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  • silverblue - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    So, in other words, you completely skipped over what I posted, especially the comparisons between similarly clocked parts? In that case, you may not recall my saying that comparing to Thuban was unfairly skewed in AMD's favour and that for productivity you'd have to be mad to fork out for a high-end Core 2 Quad that is soundly beaten by Thuban under those very circumstances.

    I'm not going to spend anymore time on this subject for fear it may cause my brain to dissolve.
    Reply
  • silverblue - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    We really don't know how Bulldozer will perform. Superior in some areas, inferior in others, perhaps. Its roots are in the server domain so it probably won't be the be-all-and-end-all of desktop performance. Should handily thrash Phenom II though.

    That is, if they stop pushing it backwards... if they do it anymore we may as well wait for Enhanced Bulldozer. :/ I can only truly see Bulldozer being a 9-12 month stop gap before that appears, and as we know, Trinity is going to use the Enhanced cores instead of first generation Bulldozer cores, so it remains to be seen how long a shelf life the product will have.
    Reply
  • duploxxx - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Ivy Bridge before buldozer, oh man you really have no idea about roadmaps...
    Server and desktop will be there long time before Ivy, if they don't hurry with Ivy even Trinity will be ready to be launched.
    Reply
  • j_iggga - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Single and double threaded performance is most important for games.

    Bulldozer has no chance in that regard. The only hope Bulldozer has is that it outperforms a quad core Intel CPU with its 8 cores in a fully multithreaded application.
    Reply
  • L. - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    GPU's are most important for games, that and a CPU that can feed your GPU's ;)

    More and more stuff is using 4+ threads, I'd be surprised if the next benchmark from Crytek isn't vastly multithreaded on the CPU side.

    We'll see anyway, but the design choices AMD made for Bulldozer are definitely good, as were their multicore designs that Intel quickly copied - for the best.
    Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Are you kidding me??? If Bulldozer is so great why do they keep having delay after delay and are showing no performance figures?? Reply
  • HangFire - Tuesday, July 05, 2011 - link

    Given the number of Nocona CPU's Intel sold- as evidenced by the huge number showing up on the secondary market right now- Intel server shipments won't die even if they have an inferior product (again).

    The faithful will buy on.

    L., you seem to be betting on a jump for Bulldozer that will exceed that of C2D over Netburst. I'm not sure that's even possible. C2D only lacked a built-in memory controller, and that has been fixed. I'll be happy if BD even matches Nehalem in core instruction processing efficiency.

    But I agree the more progress AMD makes, the better the market is for all of us, no matter which we buy.
    Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    totally agree with your post. Just a weak gpu tacked on to ancient CPU architecture that could easily be beaten by a 50.00 discrete GPU in the desktop.

    I can see a place for this chip in a laptop where power savings is important and it is not possible to add a GPU, but for the desktop, I really dont see a place for it.

    And I agree that Bulldozer is late to the game and may not perform like the AMD fanboys claim. AMD talks a good game, but so far they have not been able to back it up in the CPU area.
    Reply
  • jgarcows - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Can you use OpenCL with the Llano GPU? If so, how does it perform for bitcoin mining? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Yes, Llano fully supports OpenCL -- it's basically a 5570 with slightly lower core clocks and less memory bandwidth (because it's shared). On a laptop, Llano is roughly half the performance of a desktop 5570 (around 40Mhash/s). The desktop chip should be about 40%-50% faster, depending on how much the memory bandwidth comes into play. But 60Mhash/s is nothing compared to a good GPU. Power would be around 60-70W for the entire system for something like 1Mhash/W. Stick a 5870 GPU into a computer and you're looking at around 400Mhash/s and a power draw of roughly 250W -- or 1.6Mhash/W.

    In short: for bitcoin mining you're far better off with a good dGPU. But hey, Llano's IGP is probably twice as fast as CPU mining with a quad-core Sandy Bridge.
    Reply

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