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AMD launches desktop Llano A-series processors to 'demolish' Intel

Piles on the graphics power
Thu Jun 30 2011, 05:00

CHIP DESIGNER AMD has launched its A-series Llano accelerated processing units (APUs) for desktop computers.

Following AMD's launch of its mobile Llano chips earlier this month, AMD turned its attention in getting the new FM1-socket A-series APUs out of the door. The desktop A-series chips follow a similar naming convention to that of the firm's laptop parts with the A6 and A8 series of chips, but all are quad core parts.

AMD's A6-3600 and A8-3800 chips have a thermal design power (TDP) of 65W, are clocked at 2.1GHz and 2.4GHz, respectively, and have a turbo mode that bumps the frequencies up on the A6-3600 and A8-3800 to 2.4GHz and 2.7GHz, respectively. The faster 100W TDP A6-3650 and A8-3850 lack the turbo mode speed boost capability but have higher clock frequencies of 2.6GHz and 2.9GHz, respectively.

The big difference between AMD's A6 and A8 Llano chips is the graphics core, with the A6 sporting a Radeon HD 6530D and the A8 having a Radeon HD 6550D. The Radeon HD 6530D has 320 cores, four SIMD units, 16 texture units and a clock speed of 443MHz, as opposed to the Radeon HD 6550D's 400 cores, five SIMD units, 20 texture units and a clock speed of 600MHz.

The never at a loss for words Terry Makedon, manager of software product management for discrete GPUs at AMD said that the firm has been "in a difficult battle over the years", however AMD's "main target is now Intel". With regard to Intel, Makedon said that the battle "would be an easy ride" and that AMD would "basically demolish them on the software". So, a nicely metered response there, then.

To that end AMD is pitching the A-series of chips squarely at Intel's low-end Sandy Bridge parts, highlighting that Intel's Core i3 chips do not support DirectX 11, OpenGL 4.1, shader model 5 or OpenCL on the GPU. To further increase graphics performance, the A-series APU can be 'boosted' by a discrete AMD graphics card, though that feature is only available on the A8 chips at present.

Trouncing Intel at graphics is a bit like beating a dead horse, so AMD also claims that both the A6-3650 and A8-3850 produce higher 3DMark Vantage scores than Nvidia's Geforce G210 and GT520 discrete graphics cards.

AMD said that its pricing for the A6 and A8 will be similar to the prices of Intel's Core i3 parts, citing rough guide prices of $120 for the A6-3650 and $140 for the A8-3850. µ


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