|AMD A8-3850 Lynx APU Processor|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Friday, 01 July 2011|
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AMD A8-3850 Final Thoughts
It's been five years in the making, but AMD has finally accomplished what they set out to do when they acquired ATI. Putting discrete level graphics onboard has been something of a hit or miss operation, let alone on die. In January, Intel released the Sandy Bridge Platform, signaling the beginning of this new trend of all-on-one-die processing. The idea was very appealing to media users; an ever-growing market share in the PC industry. Oddly enough, some people don't want to play games on their computers. I know, I was shocked as well.
However, in trying to please everyone, Intel strived to make their 2nd generation Intel HD Graphics able to play mainstream games. In some aspect, they were successful. I reviewed the i5-2500K on an Intel H67 motherboard and on the lowest settings, mainstream games were playable. However, not many gamers want to play on the lowest settings. In addition to gaming, any GPU intensive task was a little difficult for the Intel HD Graphics. That is, except for transcoding. Intel QuickSync made transcoding quick and easy.
But back to gaming. It just wasn't possible on Intel HD Graphics. At least not at the settings that we want to experience it at. So six months later, AMD comes out with a solution. The A-Series APUs are supposed to have discrete level graphics on die. The A8-3850 we tested comes with Radeon HD 6650D graphics. They proved to be quick a bit more adept at GPU intensive processes than the Intel HD Graphics. At the same time, you still have to play on relatively low settings, but it's much more realistic than with the Sandy Bridge CPUs.
At any rate, a serious gamer isn't going to be pleased with the performance of the A8-3850. That being said, it is very nice that you can pair another discrete graphics card with the APU. This is a really cool feature that will allow for an entry-level system to perform quite well in games. With games depending mostly on the GPU anyway, it wouldn't be out of the question to pair a high-level discrete GPU with the A8-3850. That would certainly make all your games playable.
The biggest disappointment to me is that I'm not shocked by the performance of the A8-3850. It outperforms the lowest level i3 Sandy Bridge CPU and the GPU is far ahead of the Intel HD Graphics. That being said, I am still a little disappointed. Here is why. AMD hasn't had the fastest CPU in a long time. The high-end market has eluded them. The sub-$200 price point has been there playground. For the last six months, that hasn't been the case. Before Sandy Bridge, Athlon-II processors were competing with Intel CPUs twice their price. That was stunning performance at entry level prices. The A8-3850 doesn't show me that stunning performance.Of course, it isn't really that fair to compare it like that either. To get the same CPU performance from an Intel CPU, you wouldn't have to spend much more money. But to get the same CPU performance and GPU performance, you'd have to get a better CPU and a buy a discrete graphics card. When put in that perspective, it is a little more stunning.