AMD A6 3500 APU review -
The APU - Llano
As you guys have learned by now Llano is a processor series with integrated graphics (in the processor die), an idea much like what Intel did with Sandy Bridge.
AMD calls this an APU, an Accelerated Processing Unit. Back in 2005, when AMD bought ATI, rumors immediately popped up about the technology you will learn about today. Earlier last in 2011 you have noticed the introduction of APUs like the E350 (Zacate and Ontario chips), these however can be seen as 'Atom' like processors for netbooks and entry level notebooks. The Llano series is intended to address the entry-level to mid-range segment of both the notebook, but also desktop market. And for that, Llano needs to be a heck of a lot more powerful then Zacate, not just in processing power, but also GPU power as that is AMD's strong point opposed to Intel.
The processor reviewed today for example is targeted against Intel's Sandy Bridge Core i5 2300 and 2400 processors. Now, processor power wise things will be easy, Intel has the upper hand, but the GPU architecture in Llano is just so much more advanced allowing you to do much more with less components in your PC, especially in the multi-media segment. Llano APUs are going to dominate as that overall experience is much more powerful.
Combine that with a much more advanced motherboard chipset, A75, and you'll notice that AMD has a lot more to bring to the table.
So, with the Llano APUs AMD is going to target the PC entry-level to mid-range segment, ie. mainstream. Two derivatives come from Llano - there's Sabine for the notebook platform, and then there's Lynx, for the desktop processor market -- thus the PC. Lynx processors will slowly start to replace processors like the Athlon II, Phenom II and Turion series -- that, we think, might already happen before the end of this year.
For the mainstream to more enthusiast desktop PC platform there are the Bulldozer (FX) processors, you can pair these with a dedicated graphics card for a more hardcore experience.
We look at entry level hardware, for a great deal you get some processor power and actually quite some decent GPU power all harbored inside that processor. We'll go even weirder though, as today we'll be testing a triple core APU, yes that is an APU with three physical CPU cores activated, instead of the four you expected. This three CPU cores product was actually announced back in August already but now finally seems to be available in good volume in the stores, at the nice price of only 70 EUR here in the Netherlands.