AMD A8-3850 APU review -
The A75 chipset - Socket FM1
The A75 chipset
Despite the fact Llano already has an embedded Northbridge, the motherboards do need some sort of a Southbridge for external connectivity and other controllers. This will be the A75 chipset, also known as the Southbridge or FCH. It connects from the APU's PCI-Express 2.0 bus over four links to the A75 chipset.
The feature set is pretty impressive as up-to six SATA-600 ports are supported with support for RAID 0, 1 and 10. That is alongside 10 USB 2.0 ports, 2 USB 1.1 ports and yes, USB 3.0 leads natively straight out of the A75 chipset as well with four USB 3.0 ports. Obviously the chipset also offers support for the older PCI slot, up-to three of them.
This is all embedded inside the FCH, thus motherboard manufacturers do not have to purchase extra USB 3.0 and SATA controllers, making the bill of materials a chunk smaller and cheaper.
An interesting point with Llano processors is that AMD introduces a new socket - FM1. This was to be expected given that the silicon features both a CPU and GPU. Maintaining AM3+ compatibility couldnt really be expected.
FM1 processors has 905 pins by the way.
Whereas Bulldozer processors will use Socket AM3+, A4, A6 and A8 Llano processors will make use of FM1. Now, it's good to know that all current AMD coolers will fit perfectly onto this new slot. So there is no need to invest in new CPU (APU) coolers.
Above, a block diagram of the A75 chipset features. Quite an extensive list for entry level to mainstream PC products alright.
The A8 series processors are entry level to mid-range targeted processors (well -- APUs). So we are looking at reasonably up-to okay CPU performance versus a rather kick ass integrated GPU, and all that for prices that are very interesting. Today's tested A8 3800 APU will cost roughly 89 EUR, and you get a whole lotta CPU/GPU for that money.
AMD A8-3850 APU review
Combine the power of a CPU and a GPU then tie a Northbridge into that product and boom -- AMD calls the end product an APU. We take a look at the AMD A8-3850 APU in combination with the new A75 motherboard chipset. Let's have a peek at what AMD brings to the table.