AMD A8-3850 & Gigabyte A75M-UD2H Review

Introducing AMD's latest APU

AMD A8-3850 & Gigabyte A75M-UD2H Review

Introduction


Integration; a truly vital part of life. Consolidating multiple solutions into something optimal has its benefits in a number of applications. Take a weekend paper for example - chances are there is an interesting article for everyone. Needless to say that the concept of unifying devices in technology is nothing new; as transistor counts rise (at least) in line with Moores' law, we continually see performance improvements appearing in machines that seem to be ever shrinking. Newspapers? Forget it. Amazon's kindle? Getting there but not quite. Today's city worker is reading his Financial Times on a light and ultra thin 1080p capable tablet. Who would have thought it?

While system on chip processor designs are blowing minds in the mobile phone, entry level netbook and tablet segments, a similar evolution is stirring in the world of desktops computers. In 2009, Intel were first to market a processor package which integrates a graphics processing unit under the hood of the Core i3, i5 and i7 range. In turn this has simplified chipsets on motherboards. This however hasn't done much for the consumer. Yes, Intel finally brought full HD capabilities to entry level desktop processors but so what? This is where AMD steps in.

Annoyingly, there is normally a significant gap in performance between integrated graphics processors and many dedicated PCI-Express options; so if it happened that your needs were above and beyond Intel's HD 3xxx graphics or AMD's own 880G, you would be expected to shell out a further 50+ pounds of your valuable funds. However the game has changed with AMD's new platform - meet AMD Llano and the FM1/A75 motherboard platform.

Under the hood of AMD's new "bang per buck" 32nm processor lies something a little different. While the quad core processor design remains largely akin to the 45nm Athlon II processor, the core processor occupies a surprisingly small proportion of the overall die space. This is because the processor package incorporates a Radeon HD 6000 based GPU with 320/400 stream processors; a staggering 5x increase over the preceding motherboard based IGPs.

  AMD Athlon II X4 640
AMD A6-3650AMD A8-3850
Manufacturing Process 45nm 32nm45nm
Core Frequency (CPU/GPU)
3000MHz / N/A
2600MHz / 443MHz
2900MHz / 600MHz
Stream Processors
N/A 320400
L2 Cache
4 x 512kB 4 x 1MB
4 x 1MB
Multiplier Unlocked
Downwards Only Downwards OnlyDownwards Only
Current Price
~£70 ~£85
~£100



Considering the above table, there are currently two Llano processors available today - the A6-3650 and A8-3850. Priced similarly, they differ considerably where the former loses 80 stream processors and a trim of both GPU and CPU frequencies. We suspect that the A8-3850 will be the preferred choice amongst the vast majority.

In a nutshell, for a little more than the cost of its predecessor you can purchase a processor which comes equipped with its own GPU. But what sort of motherboard does one need? Today we will also be examining the Gigabyte A75M-UD2H. Turn over for more...

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Most Recent Comments

01-08-2011, 05:53:33

SieB
Good review Mul Quote

01-08-2011, 06:43:51

alienware
This is going to be a very hard product to review.

Mostly because there is nothing else like it on the market.

I'm a little confused as to why this was pitted against an I5 when the I5 is clearly far more expensive.

£103.99 inc for the Llano from Ebuyer, £137 inc for the I5.

The comparissons should be against the I3. Now sure, as a CPU the I3 is faster. However, the GPU aboard the 3850 poos on the I3 and is actually playable at sensible resolutions. Every other review I have read have pitted it like for like, so I can't understand why this has been benched against a CPU that puts another 35% on top of what the 3850 costs.

I can only summise it was because OC3D maybe didn't have an I3 to put it against?Quote

01-08-2011, 08:07:10

AxJaWz
I agree but nice review!Quote

01-08-2011, 09:45:52

jonowee
Oh FFS Gigabyte, I want vomit when I see SATA ports stick straight out of motherboard. Yeah this motherboard has some odd mix of price, IGP, and Crossfire capability.Quote

01-08-2011, 10:03:17

Mul.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SieB View Post

Good review Mul
Thank you. I haven't published anything since February - glad to have been able to help out a little

Quote:
Originally Posted by Z0mB13 View Post

I can only summise it was because OC3D maybe didn't have an I3 to put it against?
Bingo.

Indeed an i3 wasn't available to compare it with, however I had left hints along the way that the price of the A8-3850 accounts for its inferior core for core and clock for clock (gag) performance. However, I feel that the article was able to highlight what was most important. Entry level multimedia users don't need outright core processor performance - combine an average CPU with a good enough GPU and their most complex needs are satisfied. Intel's Atom + nVidia ION as well as AMD's own FUZION E350 is a testament to this.

I maintain that so long as you build a FM1 system in a cut price fashion, it represents very good value for money. However as I've said in the review, you've got to be bonkers to spend big £££ on a A75 FM1 board.Quote
Reply
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