AMD Llano A8-3850 Review

By on July 21, 2011
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Making integrated graphics a playable reality.

Good: Great integrated GPU performance; Decent performance increase with faster ram; Runs extremely cool; One chip solution for a budget gamer or HTPC build
Bad: Overclocking GPU & CPU speeds doesn't result in measurable performance gains; CPU performance is marginally less than Intel's offering
Price: AED 580
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

For reviewing the AMD A8-3850 I was provided with a Gigabyte A75M-UD2H motherboard to test it on. The motherboard in itself is a pretty impressive mini-ATX socket FM1 board in its own right, but today I’m just looking at the processor. So on the board went a pair of 4GB G.Skill RipJaws X DDR3-2133MHz memory sticks, our WD VelociRaptor 300GB HDD, a Zotac GTX 580 AMP! Edition (for comparisons) and a Noctua NH-U9B heatsink since we weren’t provided with the stock cooler. For comparisons, the only thing that comes close to price of the AMD A8-3850 is the Intel Core i3-2100.

While I have run benchmarks on just the A8-8350 APU alone, for proper comparisons with the Core i3-2100 I have plugged in the GTX 580. The below benchmarks are done in order to simulate CPU benchmarks between these two main competitors. Do keep in mind that the Core i3-2100 is running at 3.1GHz, a 6% increase compared to the A8-3850 is running at 2.9GHz. The lack of L3 cache is also hurting the Lynx processor a bit.

Both these tests simulate real-world computer usage, and it’s not surprising to see the Phenom II based A8-3850 lose out to the Sandy Bridge Core i3-2100. However the lead isn’t much, with a mere 4% increase in PC Mark but a sizeable 8% lead in Geekbench in favour of the Core i3.

I ran all tests thrice to ensure there were no inconsistencies, and indeed 7-zip results show the A8-3850 having a massive 26% leap over the Core i3-2100.

It seems that the multithreading on the Intel CPU is more effective than that of the AMD APU, giving he former a 13% increase. Clock speeds still play a big role here, so let’s not forget the 6% speed boost the Core i3-2100 has over the A8-3850. Interestingly when I ran this benchmark with the integrated GPU, I received a result of 3.41, a 16% increase over the Core i3-2100.

Once again the 3MB of L3 cache and 200MHz extra core clock speeds give the Core i3-2100 the edge in 3DMark 11.

It’s interesting to see the CPU score on Passmark for the A8-3850 having a 65% increase over the Core i3-2100, although the latter does have a superior lead in memory bandwidth, and strangely 2D, to balance things out.

One the biggest features of the Lynx processors are their extreme coolness. Ideally I would love to have had stock heatsinks for both of these CPUs, but as it were, we’re out of stock heatsinks in the Tbreak office. I know the Noctua NH-U9B is one hell of a CPU cooler, but do keep in mind that it isn’t the behemoth like its big brother, the NH-D14. The U9B was designed for small HTPC, and despite it’s dual-fan design, is still a relatively modest cooler. Then there’s the Intel XTS-100H cooler that you normally get with their high-end CPUs like the 980X, so what cooled the Core i3-2100 was an equally competent heatsink.

The end result is undeniable though, the AMD A8-3850 is an extremely cool running CPU. Even when overclocked, the maimum temperature never went beyond 42°C!

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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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