AMD A8-3850 & Gigabyte A75M-UD2H Review

AMD A8-3850 & Gigabyte A75M-UD2H Review


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 A6-3650 AMD A8-3850
Manufacturing Process 45nm 32nm 45nm
Core Frequency (CPU/GPU) 3000MHz / N/A 2600MHz / 443MHz 2900MHz / 600MHz
Stream Processors N/A 320 400
L2 Cache 4 x 512kB 4 x 1MB 4 x 1MB
Multiplier Unlocked Downwards Only Downwards Only Downwards 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…