AMD A8-3850 Llano APU Reviewajmatson - June 29, 2011
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While not a door busting six or eight core processor, the AMD A8-3850 puts up a valiant fight and never backs down. I was surprised on how well this little guy held up to the testing abuse and kept asking for more. The new platform brings the mainstream segment up a bit and gives them up-to-date decent power for a low cost. The A-Series is aimed at those wanting to build a solid workstation, media computer or even a powerful HTPC without a lot of money or overhead. With the integrated Radeon HD 6550D graphics processor, you get full DirectX support for your games and smooth HD playback for your movies. Clocked at 2.9GHz, the A8-3850 has a nice powerful side to it but I was shocked that the lower-end versions support Turbo Core but the higher-end ones do not. I think for what the A-Series is designed for that would have allowed better power savings and efficiency while keeping the performance from suffering. Priced at about $135, the AMD A8-3850 will give you the power you want without having to pay a lot for it.
Overclocking the APU was a bit more difficult as it is not a Black Edition processor so the multiplier is locked. The only way to get more juice out of it is by raising the voltage and pushing the reference clock up until it is no longer stable. I was able to squeeze just past 700MHz more by raising the reference clock to 125MHz. The kicker was the voltage had to be regulated just right because too little left me unstable and anything more than 1.48 volts made the processor too hot and forced it to throttle down to keep from overheating. It seemed anything more than 60 degrees Celsius, the APU would down-clock the multiplier to 26x or less making the overclock run worse than the stock speeds. As long as I kept the voltage under control, the overclock was stable and even ran Prime95 with no throttling.
All in all, I was pretty pleased with the AMD A8-3850. While not a game changer for the overclocker, it was not designed to fit this purpose. It was developed to bring strong video playback and decent mainstream gaming for a minimal cash outlay and it does just that. If you are looking for a second processor (without breaking the bank) for an HTPC, workstation or maybe that build for a special loved one, then the A-Series may just be what you are looking for.
- Competitively priced
- Integrated CPU and GPU on one chip
- Great price to performance ration
- Low TDP
- Supports DDR3 up to 1866MHz
- Decent overclocking for mainstream chip
- Locked multiplier
- No Turbo Core