A new member has been added to AMD’ Fusion family of processors: Llano APUs, now officially known as the “A” series “APU”. Note that “APU” is simply a name given by AMD to refer to its new processors that are equipped with an integrated graphics core, but that’s not all the story. By also integrating the Northbridge’s functionality inside the APU, Fusion platforms use only a single chipset (southbridge) on the motherboard to control I/O functions. The APU takes care of the rest, as it has everything else embedded within it, including the PCI-Express and memory controller, and of course, integrated graphics. This concept was first introduced by AMD’s in its Brazos platform (Zacate and Ontario). Llano takes it further into the mainstream desktop and mobile segments.
For our testing purposes, we received two Llano processors (APUs): the A8-3850 and A6-A3650. Both processors use the same “Husky” CPU cores, but are distinguished from one another in terms of CPU clockspeed and the type of integrated graphics core. AMD A8-3850 has four CPU cores clocked at 2.9 GHz and a Radeon HD 6650D discrete graphics with 400 unified shaders. Its sibling, A6-A3650 has the same four CPU cores that are clocked slightly lower at 2.6 GHz and a Radeon HD 6530D discrete graphics with 320 unified shaders. Both processors plugs into the new FM1 socket on an A75 motherboard. Now, let’s continue to see the AMD Llano processors themselves!
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AMD uses a redesigned package box for its Llano APUs, which is colored mostly in red as opposed to the usual green color theme of its previous processors. Perhaps because AMD wants to emphasize the discrete Radeon Graphics on board its new APUs?
Upon opening the box though, we can see that its contents remain the same. One notable difference is the inclusion of an “AMD Vision” sticker sitting right next to the processor in its plastic case.
A brown cardboard box that rests inside the main package contains Llano’s heatsink fan. Considering that Llano has a rated TDP of 100 watt, it would be interesting to see how the cooler unit employed for this product performs.
Surprisingly enough, the HSF appears to be very modest, with an all-aluminum heatsink design reminiscent of the one used by AMD Duron and Athlon XP a few years ago.
Without a copper base on this standard heatsink to optimize the heat transfer between it and the processor (Phenom II’s HSF, in contrast, is all-copper), we couldn’t help but feel a little worried about the safety of this brand new APU. However, the concern might just be baseless because, being the device manufacturer, AMD surely knows which HSF is right for which processor.
As for the processor itself, take a look at the pictures below!
The “A-Series APU” uses socket FM1 packaging. It has 905 pins, fewer than AM3’s 940 contact points.
Both Llano APUs are ready for the test, can they live up to our expectations? Before moving on though, let’ see how they compare to the other processors of their class on papers!
Llano A6 and A8 compete directly against the Core i3-2100 from Intel. The Phenom II X4 840 was included in our test as well to compare the Llanos with one of AMD’s own, which happens to have quite a similar technical specification. Then, to get an idea of how the new processors perform in a core-per-core basis compared to the older Phenom, we lowered the latter’s clock speed to match Llano’s.