The AMD A8-3500M APU Review: Llano Is Unleashed

Graphics Benchmarks: Synthetic

Let’s begin our graphics comparison with synthetic benchmarks, starting with 3DMark Vantage:

The aggregate score suggests the A8-3500M’s integrated Radeon HD 6620G is about 50% faster than Intel’s HD Graphics 3000 and right on par with a Radeon HD 5570 running at identical GPU and memory clock rates.

This is a fundamental win for Llano, assuming it holds up in real-world game benchmarks. Also note that the discrete 6630M shows a slight advantage over the APU. However, Dual Graphics mode doubles that spread. What the charts can’t convey is that we experienced unexpected skipping and visual anomalies using Dual Graphics mode in 3DMark. It looks like AMD has some driver work to do.

The CPU score is dominated by the Intel i5-2520M, and only the Phenom II X4 at 2.4 GHz comes close to matching it. You can see that the A8-3500M performs very similar to the 1.5 GHz Phenom II X4, suggesting that Turbo Core doesn’t increase the Llano architecture’s processor frequency in this benchmark. Such a result makes sense, as a combined CPU and GPU workload leave less thermal headroom for the CPU.

In 3DMark 11, the A8-3500M slightly outperforms a discrete Radeon HD 5570 at the same clocks in the aggregate and graphics scores. The discrete 6630M and Dual Graphics results show improvement over a Radeon HD 5570 or A8-3500M APU. Note that there are no results for the Intel Core i5-2520M in this benchmark. 3D Mark 11 requires DirectX 11 support in order to run, and Intel HD Graphics does not feature this capability.

The Unigine Heaven benchmark shows the A8-3500M neck-and-neck with a Radeon HD 5570 at identical clocks. Dual Graphics achieves a huge performance advantage here. Once again, the Intel HD Graphics engine is unable to run this benchmark because it requires DirectX 11 support.

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  • Jay_83
    Hmm. Mixed feelings about this one. One the one hand, it's less impressive than I wished for. On the other, it's obvious AMD has done some good work here, in more than one direction.
    Ultimately, We'll have to wait and see what Trinity has to offer to give the final word. Here's hoping Bulldozer throws a serious punch. I'm sure we'd all like to see AMD back in the game, and not just in notebook space.
  • aje21
    If you want us to look at this as the end of entry level discrete GPUs for light gaming, how about comparing it to the GPU running at its real speed? Once you have a real price for an APU+M/B you can put it up against a similar spec/price CPU+GPU+M/B to see how they compare.
    If the transcoding performance was worth having (and supported by Windows 7 in Media Center) then this could be an HTPC route...
  • daglesj
    Chaps, you are wasting your time commenting on the UK version of the article. All the comments are over on the US version.

    Why they cant pull the 'shared' article comments together I dont know.
  • Anonymous
    Seems like the Turbo CORE was simply turned off... Perhaps it needs more than enabling it in the BIOS. Like in case of Cool'n'Quiet, that you has had to enable in Windows, as well?
  • silverblue
    ajaraSeems like the Turbo CORE was simply turned off... Perhaps it needs more than enabling it in the BIOS. Like in case of Cool'n'Quiet, that you has had to enable in Windows, as well?

    Yeah, by selecting Minimal Power Management in XP or Balanced in Vista/7.
  • wild9
    daglesjChaps, you are wasting your time commenting on the UK version of the article. All the comments are over on the US version. Why they cant pull the 'shared' article comments together I dont know.


    I've often thought the same..I wish all the UK and US comments could be combined. I discovered the duality by accident, and also noticed that the UK version of the article has 4 comments, whereas the US had 4 pages. I am grateful for all this tech news..I just wish the comments section could be combined. Also, if they could send the spammers to Mars..that would be a nice bonus.