AMD reveals first Llano APU details

In a YouTube video of all things

SO FAR AMD has been very tight lipped about its upcoming Llano APU, but now the company has released both specifications and a performance comparison in a video the company posted on YouTube. This isn’t some fancy high-budget promo video; instead AMD’s own Godfrey Cheng is guiding us through what’s going on.

To go with the video is a post on AMD’s blog that talks about what Godfrey refers to as the phantom x86 bottleneck. It talks a little bit about the history of the x86 platform and how the way people use computers have changed over the years. No longer are we doing single task, even though many of the things we use a computer for haven’t really changed over the past 25 years or so. This all ties in with the video which very much focuses on doing multiple things at once, otherwise known as multi-tasking.

However, it’s not that simple anymore, we’re all multi-tasking, but we’re doing it with graphics and video intensive applications and this is where AMD claims that its Llano architecture beats Intel hands down. As by being able to call on the power of what should be a fairly powerful GPU built into the APU, AMD can offer something Intel can’t, CPU offloading to the GPU and this is what AMD is betting at least some of its future on.

So what we’re looking at is a comparison between a mobile Intel Core i7 2630QM processor at 2GHz with Intel HD 3000 graphics going head to head with an AMD A8-3510MX quad core processor with Radeon HD 6620M graphics. We don’t really know what speed this CPU is operating at, although it’s paired up with AMD’s A70M FCH, although the specs for the Intel systems chipset appears to be an Asus motherboard rather than Intel’s HM67 chipset. Both notebooks also have a 14-inch screen with 1366×768 resolution, 4GB of DDR3 1333MHz memory and a Crucial C300 128GB SSD.

The comparison starts with a Final Fantasy XIV benchmark running and the power draw is compared between the two systems. Then an Excel spread sheet is added that performs 2200 calculations per second. To make things even more interesting a video is added where the GPU in the AMD system also does split screen post processing. Finally a run of a part of the SPECviewperf 11 benchmark is thrown in which is doing some rendering. At this stage the AMD system is drawing some 20-25W less than the Intel system while being able to run all four workloads whereas the Intel system is anything but happy.

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come from AMD, even though its CPU cores might not be exactly as fast as Intel’s latest and greatest offerings, as long as the GPU offloading can be done properly it looks like AMD could have a winner on its hands. In the blog post Godfrey also notes that AMD’s Llano and Intel’s Sandy Bridge are “roughly equal in size and transistor count” which is interesting if AMD manages to offer performance figures in the same ballpark as Intel. Sadly the video doesn’t give us any kind of idea of how fast AMD’s Llano is in terms of raw CPU performance, but it seems like the graphics part is at least going to be more than capable.S|A

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