AMD A6-3650 APU review -
Finals Words and conclusion
Final words and conclusion
Much like the A8-3850 APU we recently reviewed, the conclusion will be very similar. With Llano Lynx, or the AMD A8 and A6 series APUs, AMD places an attention-grabbing product onto the market for those that like to build a decent Net-PC, an entry level PC, a simple desktop PC or an HTPC.
See, the strong point of Llano APUs obviously is the embedded GPU and combined with their A75 chipset features like native SATA-600 and USB 3.0 support. Next to that, the powerful software suite surrounding Llano definitely brings heaps of advantages to AMD opposed to the competition.
And as such I foresee that Llano will be huge in the notebook market, and perhaps a little less strong in the PC market initially. For notebooks for example, with Llano AMD effectively kills off the market for NVIDIA with products like an AMD processor / NVIDIA GPU combo. Llano offers good CPU performance, excellent multi-media options, the Full HD experience and even a great gaming experience -- I'm still talking laptops here ok?
But back to the desktop platform, for the PC the Lynx based A6-3650 is an okay performing processor wise at best. The integrated GPU, though a notch slower then the A8-3850 is, however is a class of its own and it will accelerate all GPU assisted applications extremely well. For HTPC usage the Llano Lynx processors will be hot stuff as for little money you can design an HTPC that just downright kicks ass.
The 320 shader processors will allow you to do additional post-processing on your content and the UVD3 engine will offer you seriously good movie playback from pretty much any source. Also think about stuff like AMD Accelerate where you can use the processor and shader processors to compute and accelerate more generic applications. If the software supports it, that's where the A series APU will kick in hard.
We also have to realize that with the embedded GPU the dynamic of the 'generic processor' changed. Combine the processor with the GPU and see that GPU as an extra parallel co-processor for a second. Imagine software taking advantage of both these units simultaneously. That's where the true power is, and unfortunately for AMD... most benchmarks and tests are just not ready for that, as 80% of the tests and benchmarks focus mainly on just the processor. Ironically a test like the 3DMark Vantage P score is probably a very good indicator as it emasures both CPU and GPU performance.
For the series A6 processor that we tested we have to admit that the power envelope is decent. With use of the integrated GPU we noted down 40 Watts in idle and roughly 110~120 Watts when we stress the APU, that's okay really as there is a GPU inside that processor, don't forget that. Heat levels of the APU are a non-issue as well, obviously we always recommend a proper cooler. But expect a thermal envelope of 50 Degrees C with a decent cooler and heavy APU stress. We did not include final temperatures in our tests just yet as we noticed a weird offset in the monitoring software, likely related due to a BIOS or sensor offset issue.
Gaming then; well Llano for Laptops will be really good, the 320 shader processors and that graphics engine will deliver decent performance for laptop monitor resolutions. After 1280x1024 the 320 SP encounting IGP will slowly run into problems. Performance wise the lower end games with lower quality settings however could run 1600x800 reasonably, and yeah that is just a colossal step forward for an integrated GPU.
Say if you are on a very steep budget, well... gaming is becoming an option and AMD certainly offers the best IGP in the business. Especially compared to the IGPs in say Core i5 660/661 and the current Core i3/i5/i7 Sandy Bridge series processors, the A8 series will dominate, rule and has set a completely new standard.
From that other point of view, sure... if you have gaming needs in decent resolutions with respectable image quality settings and modern more stringent on the GPU based games, you will need to be on the lookout for a dedicated graphics card. But obviously, that was as expected.
Alright, let's sum things up; the AMD A6 processor as tested today offers what AMD always offers, a very affordable alternative with every gadget available on-board.
Fact is that the A6-3650 as tested today costs only 90 EUR, combine it with a 100 EUR A75 motherboard and you already have your PC built for like 70%. Just add storage, memory, a PSU and a chassis and you got that processor, graphics subsystem, SATA-600 ports, USB 3.0, heaps of USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, HD audio and well... everything you need to get a very up-to-date PC. It's just not the fastest kid on the block.
Now, if you combine all these features with the APU price you'll be surprised, the AMD A6-3650 APU as reviewed today will cost you give or take 90 EUR and in the months to come, that price will only get lower. Honestly we feel that in three months from now this APU will settle at 75 EUR, maybe even lower. And that's a hard price to beat for all the features and GPU goodness you receive alright.
The first generation Fusion processors are impressive in many ways, but most of all price versus performance versus features. It's the start of a new series 'processors' and in the years to come we'll probably see time really impressive stuff. The A6-3650 APU is certainly good for generic PC usage and to play a game in the lower resolutions. But most of all, for the money it's nice value.
AMD recently released the A8 series APUs and though not expensive they also released APU's that are even more affordable. Currently the A8 3850 APU will cost you roughly 110 EUR. Now if you can live with a tiny bit less performance then the A6 3650 APU can be spotted for 90 EUR already. Yep it still packs a nice 320 Shader cores... that's right. That's really a huge leap in performance for integrated graphics alright; though not as fast as the 400 SP counting 3850 of course. For those that immediately noticed it, correct -- these processors do not have a shared L3 cache. Anyway, we'll talk all about the features and architecture over the next pages of course. So before we dive a little deeper into the performance of the processor review I wanted to quickly talk about the APU and the technology behind it.