If we're comparing Desktop Llano to Sandy Bridge, we essentially have to look at the best Llano package, the A8-3850, against a low end Sandy Bridge, the i3-2100.  This makes sense, as Desktop Llano comes to the market as a beefed up mobile processor, whereas a Sandy Bridge second-generation Core series CPU is a scaled down performance product.

If we consider the current and expected prices of motherboard and processor combos, the high end ASRock A75 Extreme6 will cost $150 (so I'm told), and the A8-3850 is expected to retail at $150 also.  With the i3-2100, we're looking at a H67 board (most of which are below $100) and the processor will cost $125 (all prices from newegg.com), totalling $225.  The question now becomes, is Desktop Llano worth the extra $75?

The chipset features are the best place to start - on A75 there are six native SATA 6 Gbps ports, whereas the H67 will only have two (both motherboards may have more from controllers).  Memory speed on the A75 will natively accept DDR3-1866 MHz, whereas the H67 will only allow DDR3-1333 MHz.  Both motherboards will accept one GPU at 16x, or on Llano this can be split into two at 8x.  You can pick and choose with your network, audio, and USB 3.0 controllers - the exact features and warranty will be determined by which model a consumer ends up buying.

In terms of performance, this board and the A8-3850 were tested in several key areas.  Compared to Sandy Bridge, the Desktop Llano single thread performance is abysmal - but this is what was to be expected, given that Desktop Llano is based on a K10 core and performs like a Phenom II X4.  In multi-threaded performance, it's a case of whether the full four cores of the A8-3850 can outshine the two cores with hyperthreading we find on the 2100.

The one area Desktop Llano stands out in is the integrated GPU.  The A8-3850 has 400 streaming processors, wrapped in a HD 6550D.  Technically, we're dealing with a DirectX 11 product.  Compared to the Sandy Bridge solution, we're looking at nearly double frame rates for the Llano at the resolutions we've tested.  That's a clear tick in the Desktop Llano department.

So, for pure iGPU performance and more SATA 6 Gbps ports, can I personally recommend Desktop Llano over a Sandy Bridge model, for an extra $75?  In my non-HTPC oriented mind, only in the integrated GPU arena does it make sense.  If you're a GPU developer and don't want to tie up a discrete GPU, then yes, it can make sense, as long as you can access that GPU.  If you're a multi-GPU gamer, the odd Crossfire scaling leaves something to be desired, and P67 is just a minor step up over H67 prices.  Desktop Llano certainly isn't a low power system - the A8-3850 is rated at 100W, so if you want something to word process, look at emails and play flash games, an AMD Fusion board for $150 will do all that quite easily for all under 60W.  If you want to do almost anything else (except play 23.976 fps video), in my opinion, I'd recommend the Sandy Bridge route as it commands that extra CPU grunt.

Conclusions: The ASRock A75 Extreme6
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  • jjj - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    no desktop Llano review or there will be one soon? Reply
  • ganeshts - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Coming soon.. We are working on it right now, getting pictures in the engine. Reply
  • FragKrag - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    On your conclusion you compared a relatively high end $150 board with budget H67 boards when earlier on in your article you said that the lower end A75 boards would cost around $100.

    Wouldn't it make more sense to compare a high end A75 board to a higher end H67/Z68 board and a lower end A75 board with the lower end H67? If you did it that way, you would be paying only $25-40 more for Llano over Sandy Bridge.

    I do realize you haven't tested one of the $100 A75 boards, but your conclusion seems to be a bit questionable nonetheless.
    Reply
  • L. - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Motherboards are going to be much cheaper on the AMD side, as usual.

    Comparing mobo prices now, and taking a high-end cheap-brand on one side against a cheap board on the other does indeed not make sense.

    If it's any indication, my NAS mobo (gigabyte am3) cost like 35 euros. Quite likely that there will be Llano boards around 50 euros before long.
    Reply
  • cknobman - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Agreed this article's conclusion is not based off an apples to apples comparison and is really misleading.

    To the reviewer - please do a better job of trying to compare similar products next time.
    Reply
  • qu3ry - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Agreed, and also:

    "Desktop Llano certainly isn't a low power system - the A8-3850 is rated at 100W, so if you want something to word process, look at emails and play flash games, an AMD Fusion board for $150 will do all that quite easily for all under 60W. "

    Alternative: Wait for A8-3800 instead; same IGP but slower clocks (while still faster than say an E-350) @ 65 watts TDP.

    Xbitlabs managed to get their hands on A8-3800 silicon which might also be worth reading (no idea what the sites reputation is like so take it with a grain of salt)

    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/print/amd-a8-...
    Reply
  • ganteng3005 - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    What about having a Core i3 2100 + H61 motherboard + Dedicated Radeon HD 6570?
    It runs faster on both processor and graphics, and the price is equal to the Llano combo.

    Other than that --
    I love the conclusion part of this article. The cheapest available FM1 A75 motherboard at google shop is currently $103 (if that is true). With the A8-3850, that will end up at $250.
    Is Llano a good choice to pick over the i3 2100 for an $25 premium?

    Well, it all depends on the user. And the points I would like to make are:
    -If you only play flash games, browse the web, type, watch Full HD movies, and use the computer for productivity reasons, pick the Core i3 2100 - the Intel HD graphics will suffice for those flash games - with similar or even better power consumption.
    -If you want to do some gaming, then A8-3850 might be the better choice.

    Overall, I agree with Anand. I would personally choose the i3 2100 due to its beastial dual-core performance and being able to do anything except heavy GPU stuff - which can be solved by adding a single HD 6570 - and it runs faster than the APU, with the price being similar to the Llano.

    TBH, i3 2100 and H61 without any additional GPU will run fine for office desktops. Except if the employees are allowed to play Metro 2033 in office.
    Reply
  • AnandThenMan - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    What a load of PR rubbish. Reply
  • Exodite - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    How so?

    For mainstream users, which Llano is presumably aimed at, the i3 2100 ends up the better deal as it'll offer better performance in all common tasks.

    Llano does have a better native graphics solution, though still not good enough to actually allow for gaming. And if you skip gaming both Llano and the i3 2100 are good enough to handle all other graphics tasks like video and 2D acceleration.

    It makes sense to me.
    Reply
  • L. - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Stop this please.

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A COMMON TASK THAT REQUIRES AN i3 2100 !!!

    Why do you people keep on throwing that idea around, when it's clear that any basic user (you know, e-mail,facebook,youtube @ home, same @ work + excel, word, stuff) DOES NOT need an i3 (or a Llano for that matter) at all.

    Llano has a much much much better graphics solution, which is completely hidden in this biased review as the gpu benchmarks w/ decent RAM are NOT SHOWN (and yes, 2ghz ram is CHEAP today, so anyone buying a Llano should not go for anything lower).

    Llano does actually Allow for gaming, the titles tested here only show how with an integrated gpu, you'll be very limited in DEMANDING titles, as Crysis, Metro, ... while NOT demanding titles, like dirt 2 and pretty much everything else, will be fine without _ANY_DEDICATED_GPU_
    This will of course not be at maximum settings, but come on, people play on CONSOLES every day, hasn't killed them yet.

    I demand a real benchmark, with decent RAMsticks !
    Reply

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