To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

New AMD ‘Llano’ processors promise graphics 60% faster than Intel

AMD has just lifted the embargo on its new graphics-equipped Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) chips, going by the name of Llano.


AMD sent us an A8-equipped laptop to test – see how it stacks up against the company’s claims. The processors also support CrossFire; you can add a dedicated graphics card which will run in tandem with the on-chip graphics. AMD claims the Llano APU will give the graphics card up to a 75% boost in performance – the difference would be most noticeable when adding a low-end AMD card to a Llano system.

While it was all good news on the gaming front, the company was frank about the Stars core’s general computing performance relative to Intel’s Sandy Bridge chips. One graph in the presentation showed an AMD Llano A8-3510MX versus an Intel Core i5-2410M in PCMark Vantage, and the AMD chip was 29% slower than the Intel one.

Codemasters Llano presentation
Codemasters’ lead programmer Andrew Dennison played Dirt 3 live on stage to demonstrate the gaming performance of a Llano laptop

AMD claimed that as very few people work with spreadsheets with 25,000 rows, this won’t affect the majority of users, who would be more interested in strong graphics performance – the same graph showed the AMD chip being 60% faster in 3DMark Vantage. Like Sandy Bridge processors, Llano chips have a ‘Turbo’ mode, where the processor can boost the speed of its cores temporarily above their TDP limits in order to quickly process a demanding task.

After admitting that AMD mobile processors have led to disappointing laptop battery life in the past, AMD was keen to stress the ‘all-day battery life’ of the Llano processors; with AMD defining ‘all day’ as a battery life of over eight hours. The company claimed that in its in-house ‘idle’ tests, where Windows sat at the desktop, a laptop equipped with a Llano processor could manage ten and a half hours, while a Sandy Bridge model ran out at eight and three quarters.

Individual cores on the chip can be powered down when idle, and most of the graphics functions can be shut down when the system doesn’t need them. The chips’ Unified Video Decoder (UVD) module can help decode Blu-ray 3D, MPEG-2 and DivX or XviD video while using very little power and taking the strain off the rest of the processor.

There’s no official word on when the desktop processors will appear, but laptops containing AMD’s new Llano chips will arrive before the autumn.

Pages: 1 2

Read more