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AMD Vision A8-3850 APU & Asus F1A75-M Pro Motherboard Review

Rating: 9.5.

A couple of weeks back, AMD released the notebook portion of their Llano platform, dubbed ‘Sabine’, which we explained in detail over here.  This left many people wondering when the desktop variant of Llano would be released, and how it would perform compared to the latest offerings from Intel.

Today we are going to examine the top-end ‘Lynx’ APU, the A8-3850, and compare it to Intel’s i3-2105 CPU.  The Lynx platform has a completely redesigned socket, named FM1, meaning the APUs aren’t backwards compatible with existing motherboards.  So we will also be looking at one of the first Lynx motherboards to market, the Asus F1A75-M Pro. This is a Micro-ATX model that is perfect for a small-form factor PC and should let us achieve a reasonable overclock.

The key feature of the Lynx platform is the powerful GPU that is integrated into the APU, promising solid ‘out of the box’ performance without having to add a discrete graphics card.  But, for those who require a little more graphics grunt (and there will be many), you can still add a discrete graphics card alongside the APU.  In our tests we will be looking at how the APU performs both on its own and when combined with a discrete graphics card.

We will also be keeping a watchful eye on the power consumption of the Lynx test system as this is another key area of interest.  AMD have employed some clever power gating technology which is able to shut down individual cores when they are not required, so they don’t consume power.  This re-enforces our belief that the Lynx platform will be perfect for those looking to build a low-power HTPC.

AMD are releasing four different A-Series Lynx APUs today which are detailed in the table above.  The two A8 APUs feature the Radeon HD 6550D graphics with a clock of 600 MHz whereas the two A6 APUs have lower clocked 443 MHz Radeon HD 6530D graphics.  The four APU’s do have a number of common features, though, including DirectX 11 support, Blu-Ray 3D support and OpenCL acceleration.

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