The Matchup

The Sandy Bridge Pentiums go head to head with AMD's Athlon II and to a lesser extent the new triple-core AMD A6. At the low end we have the Athlon II X2 260 vs. Intel's Pentium G620. AMD has the clock speed advantage (3.2GHz vs. 2.6GHz) but Sandy Bridge does offer better performance at the same clock, we'll have to see if the 600MHz advantage is too much for Intel to overcome.

Moving on up AMD gets to throw more cores at the competition. The Athlon II X3 455 (3.3GHz) has three cores to the Pentium G840's two (2.8GHz), although the clock speed advantage shrinks a bit.

Finally compared to the Pentium G850 we have two options from AMD. If you can find one there's the Athlon II X4 635. The clock speed advantage goes away completely but AMD delivers twice the cores of Intel's Pentium G850. The 635 is no longer on AMD's price list so your chances of finding one at a reasonable price go down considerably. The Athlon II X3 460 is the only other similarly priced competitor, and its performance should be similar to the 455 I mentioned above.

Meet the A6

Although at a slightly higher price point than the most expensive Sandy Bridge Pentium, we also have a lower cost member of the Llano family: AMD's A6-3650. For $20 less than the flagship 3850, the A6-3650 loses 300MHz on the CPU clock and lops off 80 GPU cores. The GPU also runs at a slower 443MHz frequency. The TDP remains unchanged at 100W. Given the small price difference between a 3650 and a 3850 I'd much rather opt for the latter but we'll see what the slower GPU does to performance when every dollar counts.

Gallery: AMD A6-3650

Introduction CPU Performance & Power Consumption


View All Comments

  • 86waterpumper - Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - link

    It's not really a attempt, they have it all sewn up. Intel has dropped their prices and I don't see anywhere at all that amd can compete with the exception of someone that needs a six core for cheap. Everyone here is talking about unlocking cores and o/c and such. This is not the intended purpose of these nor is unlocking cores ever a sure thing. The new bar to hit is power consumption with acceptable performance. A g620 and h61 is perfect for a fileserver or htpc etc. I have always liked amd but they have even overpriced llano. The a8350 ought to be 100 bucks let alone the a6350. Their cpus use too much power, even the zacate. My buddy is building a new computer and doesn't care about overclocking. I told him to go with a h61 and i3 2100. It just makes more sense since he can upgrade to a i5 or i7 down the road. a x3 may be cheap but it's on a old platform. Intel has a much better sata driver also. Someone said above they never could find a decent intel motherboard for cheap. For 65 bucks, I can buy a h61 biostar board that has vga, dvi, and hdmi out, plus 2 usb 3.0 etc. This is even on a matx format. The only thing missing other than sata 6gb is usually firewire and esata but these are absent from alot of full size boards these days too. Firewire isn't used much anymore and esata can be had for 2 bucks and a backing plate with some wires. Reply
  • mino - Thursday, August 25, 2011 - link

    AMD competes with Llano. And there was a reason Intel lowered prices - they now have to squeeze a GPU into a budget where AMD needs none. Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Thursday, August 25, 2011 - link

    This is true to a certain extent, but I would also argue that for 90 percent of the users on the low end, especially if you dont game, the integrated graphics on the Pentium would be more than sufficient. Reply
  • 86waterpumper - Thursday, August 25, 2011 - link

    AMD competes and outstrips with Llano on the graphics front but not on price and not on cpu. No hardcore gamer is going to buy these chips. I still cannot understand the target marget on these Llano desktop parts? It's sure not for htpcs, because they don't need this much graphics power, and it's certainly not for hardcore gamers because it's not enough gpu and nowhere close to the cpu power they need. There is no compelling reason at all to pay 140 bucks for a a8350 instead of the i3 2100. Now I do see where Llano has it's place in the laptop market, but they need to get the power consumption down. Reply
  • mino - Sunday, August 28, 2011 - link

    i3 without a GPU is good for SuperPI. And that is about it.

    You may wanna look-up Steam statistics what most people play with.

    As for "but they need to get the power consumption down", I am just wondering what are you tlaking about when Llano has comparable idle and LOWER load consumption to Intel (without proper GPU!).

    Sure everybody should keep getting power down. But that claim of yours smell ignorance and/or PR warfare.
  • najames - Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - link

    Do you have an idle power comparison test??? These would make a dandy server if they idle without taking much power. It would be nice to see IGP power, not using the normally tested large video card. Reply
  • azcoyote - Thursday, August 25, 2011 - link

    To anyone disparaging these Intel Pentium chips, I challenge you to show me a way to build a newest architecture PC for around $200. I just bought a combo deal from NewEgg for like $239 that has 4GB, 500GB HDD, G620, MSI Mobo, Case, Power supply, Keys, Mouse, and speakers. When you need a PC for someone who does mostly Facebook and legacy games, that is pretty hard to beat. Gonna throw an old X1900 I have handy in there for them and call it good. Thrilled to see these available! Reply
  • ClagMaster - Friday, August 26, 2011 - link


    Thank you for comparing the Core 2 Duo E6850 and Q6600 in this article. One of my pet peeves is I upgrade every 3-4 years and its really hard to assess performance over these so-called legacy parts. I only upgrade if I get double the processor performance (PC 2005) of the processor to be replaced for the same price.

    I personally would go with the A8 for a HTPC or offline private PC because of its better graphic performance and hardware accelerated graphics converters.
  • najames - Saturday, August 27, 2011 - link

    I second that motion!! I still use a lot of older hardware and found it interesting to see it all listed too. Reply
  • rockfella79 - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    I still don't feel i need to upgrade from my E5200 and 2 GB DDR2 hohoho. Reply

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