Any Llano Lynx based platform (A4, A6 and series A8 APUs) offers value for money really. The strong point of Llano 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.
Half a year ago our prognosis was that Llano would be substantial in the notebook market, and perhaps a little less strong in the PC market initially. Currently as it seems it's AMD's best selling series. I mean you take a motherboard, PSU, HDD, memory and the APU and you are good to go really -- a fully functional PC for very little money. Llano offers good enough CPU performance, excellent multi-media options, the Full HD experience and sure, even gaming, albeit very low level will work. But at 125 EUR for this APU, obviously it is a very entry-level to mainstream product.
The cherry on top of the ice cream is that the new K model 3870 APU can be overclocked so much easier. Now granted, it's not huge due to the complexity of the architecture, but on a simple air cooler you will get at least 3700 MHz out of the APU's processor and that will get you an instant 20% performance benefit. By doing so, this APU comes closer to the Phenom II X4 975. Obviously that CPU can overclock as well so it's an ongoing never ending cycle.
The graphics core on the 3870K can now be tweaked as well, and if you give it the proper dedicated time and lovin' you can quite easily bump up performance by a third. At default the GPU will run at 600 MHz, we got it towards 900 MHz... but even 960 MHz should be an option if we'd spent a little more time on it. With its 400 shader processors that graphics engine will deliver decent performance for low monitor resolutions. Fact remains that after 1280x1024 the IGP will slowly run into problems. Performance wise the lower end games with lower quality settings however will run say 1600x800 quite reasonably, but that is really substantial for an integrated GPU. For those that do not have the money or need for a dedicated graphics card the result is simple... it's the fastest integrated GPU in an APU to date.
The A8 processor's power envelope is decent. With use of the integrated GPU we noted down 39 Watts in idle and roughly 115 Watts when we stress the APU, that's pretty okay really. The dynamic shifts when you add a dedicated graphics card, obviously.
Heat levels of the APU are a non-issue as well, obviously we always recommend a proper cooler. But expect a thermal envelope of 45~50 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.
The AMD A8 3870K processor as tested today offers what AMD always offers, an affordable alternative with every gadget available on-board. If you purchase an A8 APU with the combination of that A75 based motherboard, you'll have a 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.
Now, if you combine all these features with the APU price you'll be surprised, the AMD A8-3870K APU as reviewed today will cost only 125 EUR, that is the current price here in the Netherlands. And that's a very fair price for what you get...
For 125 EUR the A8 3870K processor is truly hard to beat for all the features, CPU and GPU goodness you receive alright. Great value and definitely fun to fool around with.