|AMD A8-3850 Lynx APU Processor|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Friday, 01 July 2011|
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AMD A-Series A8-3850 Processor Review
Manufacturer: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD)
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by AMD, Inc.
When AMD merged with ATI in 2006, they immediately began working on combining discrete level graphics onto the die with an x86 CPU, thus forming an Accelerated Processing Unit (APU). In 2009, AMD expanded on that effort by launching VISION with the intent of shaping the performance of a PC to fit the needs of the user. Five years after the merger, AMD's design has come to fruition in desktop form. In this article, Benchmark Reviews is taking a look at the AMD A-Series A8-3850 APU.
AMD's idea for the need of an APU with discrete level GPU capabilities comes from the high level of demand for media computing. According to YouTube, in April 2011, over 35 hours of video were uploaded every minute with a total of more than 13 million hours of video uploaded during 2010. Those videos don't just get uploaded, of course. They get watched, millions of times. Other media hosting sites have seen similar growth and online TV watching has blossomed as well. Netflix and Hulu are staples in my house, and I know I'm not alone.
AMD isn't the only CPU manufacturer with this idea. Six months ago, we all remember the Intel Sandy Bridge launch. The Sandy Bridge platform also integrated a GPU and a CPU onto the same die. While this had outstanding performance value where media is concerned, other types of PC usage, such as gaming, provided a little more than the Intel HD Graphics could handle. Sure, on low settings, many mainstream games were playable, but even upgrading to a very low-end discrete graphics card increased the playability substantially. With the A-Series platform, combined with the A75 or A55 Fusion Controller Hub (FCH) to make Lynx, AMD purportedly offers discrete level graphics in their on-die GPU. In the A8-3850 we are looking at today, that amounts to a Radeon HD 6550D.
While AMD is running six months behind the Intel launch of their combined GPU/CPU platform, they have included some features that you won't find with the Sandy Bridge. For one, the A-Series APUs are DirectX 11 ready. This is pretty much a must-have if you are going to say that your product is capable of mainstream gaming. Another feature that a lot of us were wondering about when Sandy Bridge was released was native USB 3.0 compatibility. Intel left if off Sandy Bridge; AMD included it in Lynx. Not that it was all that difficult to find a third-party controller, of course. The A-Series also includes AMDs UVD3 and the ability to pair a discrete graphics card with the APU graphics.
The A-Series APUs and Lynx platforms are being priced to compete monetarily near the very bottom end of the Sandy Bridge line. The A8-3850 is set for an MSRP of $135, which is right between the i3-2100 and i3-2105 Sandy Bridge CPUs. As long as the A55 and A75 motherboards are priced in the H67 range, these two platforms will compare nicely in price. In this article, we will compare the A8-3850 with an A75 motherboard to the i3-2100 and an H67 motherboard to see just how the price/performance ratio pans out between these platforms.