AMD Llano A-Series APU Sabine Notebook Platform ReviewMon, Jun 13, 2011 - 7:00 PM
Let’s take a look at the Windows Experience Index score as that is
one that you can easily compare to other notebooks at retail stores.
As you can see our system had a Windows 7 Index base score of 5.7 and
the lowest scoring component on the notebook was both the processor and the graphics. This is a big improvement from the last AMD APU that we reviewed as the E-350 scored just 3.7 on this test.
To test out the performance of the new AMD Llano series of APU’s we’ll be running a series of benchmarks and then compare it to several other notebooks. The notebooks that we have for testing are the Sony VAIO Y Series laptop with an AMD E-Series E-350 APU, an ASUS K53E notebook with an Intel Core-i5 2520M processor and a
Packard Bell notebook with the Intel Core-i7 2820QM processor.
Just like we expected the AMD Llano A-Series A8-3500M mobile APU performed very well on the GPU benchmarks and was a little slower in the x86 CPU benchmarks when compared to Intel Core i5 & i7 ‘Sandy Bridge’ mobile processors. The gaming performance of the Llano APU is amazing as the A8-3500M was able to beat the Intel Core-i7 2820QM processor in real-world game tests like Resident Evil 5 and H.A.W.X. 2 respectable resolutions like 1280×720. Our testing also showed that the AMD A-series APU is more than twice as fast when compared to the E-series APU, so if you’ve ever used one of those you know that this is a very capable system.
We are just showing you these numbers so you can put the pieces together on your own. You can download 3DMark, CrystalDiskMark, Sandra, Cinebench, x264 HD, Hyper Pi, Resident Evil 5 Benchmark and H.A.W.X. 2 benchmark for free and see how your current laptop compares to these scores. We like using these tests as you can do them at home to see how your system stacks up against the new ones!
Discrete Graphics Testing
As you can see the AMD Radeon 6620 GPU inside the Llano A8-3500M APU has no problems playing games, but the notebook AMD sent also included discrete graphics. We were able to try out the discrete GPU in the review system only by enabling ‘High-performance GPU’ in the Vision drivers. This means that the APU GPU is disabled and we were running the AMD Radeon HD 6630M graphics only.
As you can see the performance improved by roughly 20FPS at a respectable 1280×720 resolution and we were gaming above 60FPS with ease. Very impressive results for a 14-inch notebook that you can carry around with you! If you want more graphics performance be sure to get a Sabine notebook platform with discrete graphics. It’s nice as you can switch between graphics modes with ease and does enhance DX10 and DX11 gaming.
One area of testing that we tried out for the very first time is unplugged gaming. With batteries lasting so long these days it is becoming common for users to game unplugged so we thought we’d see what happens. When we did this we noticed that performance dropped slightly on the Intel notebook, but greatly on AMD. The funny thing is that AMD still had better performance with the power drop than Intel in the same situation.
Intrigued we thought we’d do some battery life testing by using just the CPU/APU graphics and found a huge difference in battery life. In our standard DVD playback test we only saw a one minute difference when playing a DVD with PowerDVD 11 until the notebook stopped running. With gaming though we found a 45 minute difference between the platforms!