AMD's A-Series processor is official, gets put to the test

AMD's A-Series processor is official, gets put to the test

Summary: AMD has officially announced its A-Series Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), which combines up to four CPU cores with "discrete-level graphics," providing the first real competition to Intel in mainstream laptops and desktops.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Processors, Hardware
4

AMD has officially announced its A-Series Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), which combines up to four x86 CPU cores with "discrete-level graphics," providing the first real competition to Intel's second-generation Core processors in mainstream laptops and desktops. The company said the A-Series, code-named Llano, will be available in more than 150 notebooks and desktops starting this quarter. HP wasted no time announcing 11 systems that will offer the A-Series.

The A-Series mobile processors include the A4 dual-core with Radeon HD 6480G graphics (240 Radeon cores) and the A6 and A8 quad-cores, which have twice the cache and more powerful graphics. The A6 has 6520G graphics with 320 Radeon cores and the A8 has 6620G with 400 Radeon cores. AMD has not posted details on the desktop versions yet.

The A-Series is not AMD's first APU-the low-power C-Series (Ontario) and E-Series (Zacate) on foundry TSMC's 40nm process came out earlier this year. But it is AMD's first APU manufactured on 32nm with high-k and metal gates and the first that really lives up to the promise of merging a capable multi-core CPU with powerful graphics, a concept the company any has been working on since the acquisition of ATI in 2006.

Whether the on-die DirectX 11 graphics will be sufficient depends on your needs, but it is almost certainly the most powerful solution available short of a discrete GPU. It supports HD graphics, has dedicated HD video processing, can drive multiple monitors and has a Steady Video feature that stabilizes your videos during playback. Most users will not need discrete graphics, but the A-Series is also designed to work with a discrete GPU with switchable graphics to optimize the system for maximum performance or battery life. Perhaps the biggest area of improvement for AMD's mainstream laptop platform, the A-Series will deliver up to 10.5 hours of battery life, according to AMD.

Because it combines an enhanced version of the old "Stars" CPU core with a relatively powerful DX11 GPU, the A-Series has been widely expected to fall short of Intel's latest and greatest on CPU-intensive tasks but to offer better graphics performance. AnandTech has posted some early benchmark results on both a mobile processor, the 1.5GHz A8-3500M, and a desktop chip, the 2.9GHz A8-3850 quad core, which seem to confirm that. Reviews of real-world systems shouldn't be far behind.

Topics: Processors, Hardware

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

4 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: AMD's A-Series processor is official, gets put to the test

    If they only roughly match Intel's performance but are about the same price (as opposed to far cheaper than Intel chips which has previously been the case) then I think they might lose a fair amount of customers. Value is what AMD has previously been all about. It seems that might not be the case anymore. Although maybe this is just because they can't afford to go much cheaper because Intel has priced their Sandy Bridge chips so aggressively (far cheaper than their chips have been previously).
    josh92
  • RE: AMD's A-Series processor is official, gets put to the test

    Not only value, there was a window of time when they were just smoking Intel. The advent of the consumer 64 bit CPU's were not only cutting edge but faster.

    Opterons were faster and Intel was bleeding marketshare.

    Infact it was a combination of innovation and price point that really propelled them.

    But sadly they stumbled, again, and agian, and again. At the same time Intel made huge strides in technal advancements and truly produces superior products.

    I am an AMD fan, I buy AMD for all my desktops, servers, and if possible for my laptops though it is more difficult I find.

    I want AMD to be succesful, and I give the company huge accolades for ensuring that even today the consumers have more choices, lower prices and cutting edge choices by Intel as well.
    Raid6
    • RE: AMD's A-Series processor is official, gets put to the test

      @Raid6

      i completely agree with you! well said... I buy AMD and support AMD for all the same reasons. Winning doesnt mean you have to be first place or crowned with the best of best for everything.
      I think being in the market, challenging the rivals and beating the top guns at their own race is just great!

      AMD has done so well, they have brought many great technology advancements, along with competitive pricing for all you intel supporters to!
      MrGaZZa
  • RE: AMD's A-Series processor is official, gets put to the test

    I love AMD and am thinking about buying a laptop that has the A-series processor. Blog research will determine whether I go with A-series or Athlon II X2.
    bombidae