Applications, Round Two: Treading Water

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

Futuremark PCMark05

Cinebench R10 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R10 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

x264 HD Benchmark - First Pass

x264 HD Benchmark - Second Pass

This time we have a more interesting competitor to look at: the Toshiba A660D. AMD says Turbo Core works at speeds of up to 2.4GHz on the A8-3500M, but we have no way of monitoring the actual CPU clocks right now. (CPU-Z if you’re wondering shows a constant 1.5GHz, but AMD says that utility doesn’t currently detect the proper clocks.) When we compare performance results between the Llano notebook and the A660D, we definitely see some differences in performance. Some of that may come from the added L2 cache and other architectural tweaks, but Cinebench R10 in particular shows a healthy 17% performance increase, even with a base clock that’s 7% lower. In the multi-threaded Cinebench result, the lead drops to 10%, which correlates well with how we’d expect Turbo Core to work. PCMark Vantage is still heavily influenced by the storage subsystem, and the storage score of 2950 on the A660D versus 3791 on the Llano suggests the Toshiba HDD is a significant bottleneck.

Looking at other laptops and tests where we’re looking purely at CPU performance, suddenly Llano starts to struggle. The Arrandale i5-520M offers 92% higher single-threaded performance in Cinebench R10 and 48% better single-threaded performance in R11.5; multi-threaded performance also goes to Arrandale, with a 23% lead in R10 and 17% lead in R11.5. x264 also gives Arrandale a decent lead, with i5-520M 17% faster in the first pass and 29% faster in the more intense second pass. The overclocked i3-380M in ASUS’ U41JF tells a similar tale—and both of these laptops are running processors from early last year. When we shift to Sandy Bridge, even without looking at the quad-core parts AMD’s CPU performance is tenuous. The i5-2520M is anywhere from 50 to 150 percent faster depending on which test we look at; even if we toss out the older Cinebench R10 single-threaded result of 150%, R11.5 given the 2520M a 94% lead. In general, then, a moderate dual-core Sandy Bridge i5-series processor looks to be at least 30% faster, so quad-core Llano really only competes with Core i3 and its lower, non-Turbo clocks.

None of the results here are particularly surprising; K10.5 even at 32nm is still largely the same performance. AMD has focused this round up upgrades more on reducing power consumption rather than increasing performance, and that’s a perfectly reasonable approach for a mobile CPU. Most of us probably aren’t doing 3D rendering, CAD/CAM, or unassisted video transcoding on our laptops anyway. It would still be great to see AMD offer up an equivalent to Intel’s Quick Sync; they have the better GPU architecture, but a dedicated decoder like Quick Sync can clearly pay dividends. Outside of that one deficit the reality is that Llano is still plenty fast. Slapping an SSD into Llano will make more of a difference than upgrading an HDD-based Llano laptop to Core i5, so if you’re looking for an inexpensive laptop that can do everything most users need, Llano is very appealing.

Application Performance, Round One: PCMark 7 Fusion GPUs: A Long-Awaited Upgrade to IGPs Everywhere
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  • CyanLite - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    Looks very interesting. Getting one ASAP. Looks like AMD is back.
  • therealnickdanger - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    Yeah, back behind Intel yet again. If the price is right (cheaper than Intel) and the form factor is right (super thin and light notebooks), then I would consider this over SNB. Right now you can get entry-level SNB with medium-quality discrete AMD or NVIDIA graphics for under $700 that will more than match this notebook on GPU performance, battery life, and then proceed to run circles around it in CPU performance. $650 isn't a very good starting point. I hope they work down into that $500-600 bracket soon.
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    I dont get all the talk of $600-$800. There is fundamentally no reason why we wont see these chips in $449 back to school specials, or black friday specials. It is only $50 more in parts vs what we're seeing on slickdeals for $400.

    For example, this is from today: Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E520 15.6" Notebook Laptop: Core i3-2310M (2.10GHz), 4GB DDR3, 320GB 7200RPM, DVD Super Multi, Intel HD Graphics, HDMI, Win 7 Pro $434 Shipped

    That is a $200 ripoff chip from intel. In a $450 notebook deal.
  • mino - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    Go troll somewhere else.

    Intel managed to book a bunch of Quad+Discrete while preventing any dual+HD chips in this review providing a fine level of reality distortion field.

    But that field does not reality change. Period.
  • Samus - Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - link

    Well considering it will be cheaper than Intel (significantly when considering the additional cost of a comparable $50+ graphics card) and it uses less power than just about any SNB configuration, I think you answered your own questions.
  • 8steve8 - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    eh, while this offers modest improvements over sandy bridge in games, the general cpu performance is pretty poor. If gaming is that important to you, then you won't be happy with EITHER IGP, so you'll still be better off with sandy bridge (paired with another gpu).

    That said, if they were free, I'd buy one. So they could still be a winner in the market if the price is right.
  • ash9 - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    operative word is mobile - Who number crunches on a laptop anyway?
  • 8steve8 - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    well mobile computers are becoming primary machines for many people. It's not just about "crunching numbers" everything non-3d-gaming is limited by storage,cpu, or memory bandwidth. try using a netbook, they aren't a pain to use because of their graphics, storage or memory bandwidth, they suck cause of their cpu performance.
  • duploxxx - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    that is why you probably have an Atom :) perhaps try an E-350 and see how much usable it is in a daily task.
  • Broheim - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    E-350 isn't an improvement over Atom in the CPU department,.

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