TODO alt text

AMD A8-3850 Fusion APU review

AMD's first performance Fusion APU

Our Verdict

We're impressed with the AMD A8-3850 Fusion APU, giving the equivalent Intel offering a kicking in both computational and especially graphical performance.

Product features

  • Processor Core : Quad-core (4 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Excellent overclocking
  • Decent computational performance
  • Brilliant integrated graphics prowess

Against

  • Slightly immature drivers
  • Concerns remain about FM1's lifespan

The AMD A8-3850 Fusion APU is the current top-end desktop Llano chip, and is a bit of a doozy.

Last month saw the launch of the first Llano Fusion chips from AMD on the notebook side, the AMD A8-3500M, and if that isn't enough alliteration for you we've now got the release of the desktop Llano APU code-named Lynx.

Before we go any further we ought to get into what the hell we're talking about when we're going on about an APU.

It's an Accelerated Processing Unit, essentially that means it's a combo chip combining both traditional CPU and GPU parts in one die. That's right, we're back to the old days of the one chip to rule them all, though this time we've actually got graphical prowess to shout about.

AMD has released Fusion APUs before now, with its lower-end Brazos chips (Zacate and Ontario) paving the way for this far more serious, performance part. Both Brazos chips though were designed specifically for the ultrathin notebook market, coming in at 9W for the Ontario chips and 18W for the Zacate APUs.

They did make appearances in the mini-mobo segment of the desktop market but didn't really take off.

Intel stole the march on AMD in terms of performance parts though with its Sandy Bridge lineup, integrating its HD 3000 and HD 2000 GPUs in with its 2nd Generation Core CPUs.

Intel's focus though was on powerful CPU parts with an improved GPU component integrated into the chip.

AMD's focus however is far more based upon jamming discrete class graphics into the same component as a decent quad-core processing part.

The Llano laptop we checked out last issue has us astounded by just how much graphical grunt AMD has managed to pack into its latest mobile APU, offering legitimate gaming performance out of a laptop that's capable of going for eight hours and costs around £600.

On the desktop though it's looking even more impressive.

The CPU component of the mobile part looked pretty weak at 1.5GHz, but on the desktop it's a far more serious setup, and for a far more reasonable price.

Around £400 for a proper DirectX 11 gaming machine, with the top-end A8-3850 Fusion APU, capable of playable framerates on a 22-inch panel?

Sign us up Mr. AMD.

Tech Specs

Product TypeProcessor
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Thermal Design Power100 W
Processor ManufacturerAMD
Graphics Controller ManufacturerAMD
Graphics Controller ModelRadeon HD 6550D
Product FamilyA8
Clock Speed2.90 GHz
Processor SocketSocket FM1
Brand NameAMD
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
64-bit ProcessingYes
Thermal Specification72.7°C
Width40 mm
Depth40 mm
L2 Cache4 MB
Product SeriesA8
ManufacturerAdvanced Micro Devices, Inc
Product ModelA8-3850
Product NameQuad-core A8-3850 2.9GHz Processor
Package TypeRetail
Manufacturer Part NumberAD3850WNGXBOX
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.amd.com
Marketing Information

VISION A8 Technology with AMD's fastest APU, the AMD Quad-Core A8 Series Accelerated Processor enables outstanding HD performance, incredible quad-core processing and ultra-realistic 3D gaming capabilities. Run memory-hungry applications with ease. Immerse yourself in lifelike 3D games on multiple monitors simultaneously. Watch your favorite Blu-ray movies in breathtaking detail. And stay cool doing it all. AMD enables superbly energy-efficient desktops and notebooks with "all-day" battery.

Packaged Quantity1
Process Technology32 nm
Package Contents
  • Quad-core A8-3850 2.9GHz Processor
  • AMD-Qualified Heatsink/Fan with Thermal Interface
  • AMD Processor Case Sticker
  • Certificate of Authenticity
  • Installation Manual
Limited Warranty3 Year