|AMD A8-3850 Lynx APU Processor|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Thursday, 30 June 2011|
Page 15 of 15
AMD A8-3850 Processor Conclusion
IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
The performance of the AMD A-Series A8-3850 CPU was great for its price range. In most of our testing it outperformed the similarly priced i3-2100. This performance was exaggerated in gaming tests, where the on-die Radeon HD6650D proved much faster than the Intel HD Graphics. At the same time, I am not as impressed with the performance of the A8-3850 as I would like to be. When the Athlon-II processors were competing in price with the i3 Clarkdale and Aarondale CPUs, the performance difference was very noticeable. The AMD CPUs were competing far above their price range. With the A-Series CPUs, I feel like they have succeeded in maintaining the entry-level throne, but not by such a big margin. Besides the Passmark CPU tests, CPU performance was generally slightly above or on par with the Intel CPU, while sometimes dropping below it. I hope the FX series of processors shines a little brighter.
In terms of construction, I am glad to finally see some 32nm chips out from AMD. It has been a long road. Of course, something has to be said of the effort it must have taken to get discrete level graphics on die. With the GPU performance being shown by the off by the Radeon HD6650D, it almost make it seem like Intel launched a little early. The A8-3850 runs consistently cool and has very little trouble being overclocked, both testaments to its construction.
Not only does the A8-3850 offer better performance and better graphics at nearly the same price as the Intel alternative, it comes with a lot of functionality as well. One thing that even mainstream gamers missed in the Intel HD Graphics was DX11 compatibility. AMD fixed this with their A-Series APUs. The Lynx platform offers native USB 3.0, UVD3, and the ability to pair with a second, discrete graphics card. The functionality offered on the A-Series APUs again makes it seem like Intel released their product a little earlier. Six months of market time without any real competition is a lot, but when your product misses the mark in several areas, there is something to be said about patience.
The overclockability of the A8-3850 was very disappointing. We were met with a locked CPU and GPU clock and nothing to do about it. AMD didn't go as far as Intel and make overclocking an impossibility on the lower end platforms, but they did make it extremely difficult. The only way to overclock the A-Series A8-3850 APU is by increasing the reference clock. This increases the entire system, not just the CPU. There isn't any other way of increasing the GPU clock beside using the reference clock either. This makes overclocking very simple, but it can also make it dangerous. You have to be careful that your RAM has a lot of headroom and you have to be careful of voltage. You will have to increase the APU, and possibly RAM voltage to keep with the increases reference clock.
In terms of value, I am torn by the A8-3850. As of early July 2011, the retail AD3850WNGXBOX kit sells for $140 at Newegg. I certainly think it is a better value for many purposes than the Intel i3-2100. Those purpose mainly being GPU driven. However, for transcoding, this isn't the case. Also, we are talking about entry-level systems here. I suppose what I have to say is this; if your main function is web-browsing, streaming media, and a little gaming on the side, the A8-3850 is great for you. If you transcode a lot of media or don't play any games, it's a toss-up. If you are a heavy gamer, don't even bother. You can play games on the A8-3850, but hardcore gamers will want more. Where the market is right now, the A8-3850 is a good deal. I just wish it would have been a little better.
+ True Quad-Core CPU/GPU Combo for $135
+ UVD3 Support
+ Virtualization Support
+ DirectX 11 Capable, Discrete Level Graphics
+ Ability to Pair with another Discrete Graphics Card
+ Good Overclocking Headroom
- Difficult to Overclock, Limited Ability
Final Score: 8.8 out of 10.
Questions? Comments? Benchmark Reviews really wants your feedback. We invite you to leave your remarks in our Discussion Forum.