AMD Llano A8-3500M APU Review

By on June 21, 2011
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Gaming on mainstream laptops becomes a reality.

Good: Extremely good performance for an integrated GPU; Good scaling of CrossFire when it works; APU runs very cool and quiet; Low power draw of 35W is great for long battery life
Bad: DX9 games do not use dual GPU; AMD Vision drivers don't scale CrossFire gaming across all DX10 & DX11 games
Price: AED 2,800+
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Before I go any further, I’d like to state that the current AMD drivers for their new AMD VISISON Engine Control Center is still in its very early stages. As such I saw very erratic results when running the laptop in CrossFire mode (using both HD 6620M & 6630M). Right now it would seem that performance on DX9 titles across the board is abysmal in CrossFire mode as only one GPU is being used, where only DX10 and DX11 titles are taking advantage of two cards. Even then, however, there are certain DX11 titles where CF isn’t being utilized properly.

All the below tests were done at the native resolution of 1366×768 with the following settings:

Scaling on DX11 titles seems to be consistent using dual GPUs, but scaling isn’t good in Metro 2033 and Lost Planet 2. While the developers may have some level of unoptimization for the Llano APUs, AMD obviously needs to put in a lot of effort for many titles with CrossFire support. As you can see, DX9 titles aren’t using the 2nd GPU at all. In fact, below I have given an example of GPU usage between Team Fortress 2 (DX9) using one GPU and Just Cause 2 (DX10) using both GPUs.

This is a huge issue for AMD right now; they need to get the drivers right with proper support for titles across the board. I must say that just the results from the onboard graphics were phenomenal; I haven’t seen performance like this from any Intel HD graphics chip to date, including their latest Sandy Bridge platform. With an included discrete graphics card, we have already glimpsed at how amazing the performance can get.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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  • Triguy

    Just as i though AMD will make it back on the market if they continue that many consumers will go on them for sure ( no doubt ) because of there price perfomrance ratio my penny is worth to buy on AMD fusion technology and the coming years my penny is on them thats for sure =] im glad that they made it hurray !!! =]

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