If you haven't gotten the hint, today is all about Llano. The big story is of course Llano's notebook appearance; however, in the coming weeks you'll be hearing a lot more about Llano on the desktop as well. This is AMD's Socket-FM1, the brand new socket that'll be used for desktop Llano parts:

If you read our Computex coverage, the socket should look pretty familiar. Motherboard manufacturers all over Taiwan are busy readying their Socket-FM1 boards for retail release. In fact, there was so much interest in desktop Llano on behalf of the motherboard manufacturers that a number of Socket-FM1 boards and CPUs made their way off the island as Computex ended.

Existing Socket-AM3 coolers will work on FM1 motherboards

By now you may have already seen a lot of information leaked from AMD's Llano presentations, as well as its desktop strategy. In the past few days performance numbers have been revealed as well. While we're hard at work on our full review of AMD's desktop Llano APU, we wanted to chime in with some thoughts on Llano's desktop performance.

AMD isn't ready to disclose pricing or the entire product matrix for Llano on the desktop, but what we do have is the high-end desktop Llano SKU: AMD's A8-3850.

The 3850 has four cores running at 2.9GHz and doesn't support Turbo Core. On the GPU side it has the full Radeon HD 6550D configuration with 400 shader processors running at 600MHz.

Sandy Bridge's GPU performance is the target, but how much better will AMD do on the desktop? Let's find out.

CPU Performance: Pretty Much an Athlon II X4
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  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - link

    Thanks for your input :) I'll definitely get some of this in there.

    Take care,
  • StormyParis - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    Thanks for your answers Anand. I indeed keep trying to play at non-native resolutions, but for a PC (very close to the screen; as opposed to a console), things get very ugly very quickly.

    I was kinda hoping Llano would be able to play WoW, in a raid 25, lowest settings, on my 1680 screen if not on my 1920... that doesn't seem to be the case ?

    Thanks for you very interesting website, and best regards,

  • Veerappan - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    You're making me feel sad here... my primary desktop at home still uses a 19" 1280x1024 Dell 1905FP. My work desktop was also a 1280x1024 19" until that machine was replaced about 2 months ago.

    My laptops both run 1280x800 as well, which is even less resolution than my desktops.
  • Dorin Nicolaescu-Musteață - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    According to StatCounter, a quarter of world population still run at 1024x768 and two thirds (!) at 1280 or below.

  • DanNeely - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    For gaming purposes steam's hardware survey is a better dataset. It has about 26% at 1280x1024 or less, and 17% at 720Pish resolutions (1366x768 and 1400x900) . It's still a large share, but is much smaller than the overall web average.

  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    Comparing the Sandy Bridge scores on page 4 with your original Sandy Bridge review it looks like you are reposting your original scores for Sandy Bridge with launch drivers.


    Normally, I don't get too picky about Intel graphics driver updates since they tend to be bug fix focused rather than performance, but the most recent Intel driver update looks to have a new description format and specifically calls out double digit percentage performance increases in a number of games. With it looking like Intel is finally getting gaming serious with their IGPs and now their drivers too, it's disappointing that you didn't use the latest drivers to compare to Llano. Especially when you conclude that the A8-3850's IGP is 56% faster than the fastest Sandy Bridge IGP, if Intel's double digit percentage performance claims are actually realizable, that has a material impact on how significant the IGP difference between Llano and Sandy Bridge is.

  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the post - I've updated the results with the new 2372 drivers :)

    Take care,
  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    Looks like a measurable improvement overall for Sandy Bridge with the newer drivers, but only a significant performance increase in Starcraft II and Black Ops.

    Thanks for the prompt response.
  • iwod - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    Great Itcommanderdata actually points this out here. Which i just did in the other Mobile Review comment.

    We are comparing ATI Mature drivers to Intel Drivers that can still extract double digit percentage gain in performance.
  • Exodite - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    While it's not surprising to find out that the GPU end of Llano is memory-starved it's no less disappointing. I had expected performance closer to that of a 400 SP-equipped discrete card.

    With the current performance levels it's still impossible for the chip to allow for even reasonable gaming power, being within spitting distance of other IGPs.

    Unless we'll see solutions that add dedicated GPU memory to Llano motherboards I'd still rather buy the i3 2100 as it offers better performance for the majority of the applications relevant in that segment of the market.

    Let's face it... people who buy low-end/midrange chips, AIOs and entry-level graphics aren't going to be doing any amount of work that benefits significantly from multi-threading power or GPU grunt.

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