We will start the gaming 3D tests with 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark 11 benchmarks run with Performance profile.
The results of these popular synthetic tests give us a good overall picture of what the graphics core integrated in A8-3870K is capable of. As we can see, it is still unable to successfully compete against a fully-fledged Radeon HD 6670 graphics card even being overclocked by more than 1.5 times. Therefore, in terms of graphics performance an LGA 1155 system with a Pentium processor and external graphics card seems to be a better option. At the same time, Dual Graphics technology does realty well here. When we “couple” the integrated graphics core of the A8-3870K processor with an external Radeon HD 6670 graphics accelerator, the resulting performance turns out even higher than that of an LGA 1155 platform with a Radeon HD 6770 inside.
However, it is important to understand that the results in real games may be different from the 3DMark scores. The fps rate in games depends not only on the graphics card speed, but also on the potential of the processor’s computational part.
The graphics integrated into Llano processors does have some potential, but we still can’t consider it fully acceptable based on contemporary gaming requirements. Radeon HD 6550D graphics core is not powerful enough to cope with the today’s typical desktop resolution of 1920x1080 and the fps rate remains below acceptable level in most cases. Moreover, the competitor platform in the same price range that includes an LGA 1155 Pentium processor and an external Radeon HD 6670 graphics card is capable of delivering much higher performance even though the CPU cannot be overclocked.
However, as we have expected, AMD Dual Graphics technology can significantly improve the impression from the AMD Socket FM1 platform. By adding an inexpensive external graphics card into a Llano based system, you can almost double the gaming performance, which will make an A8-3870K based system with an add-on Radeon HD 6670 graphics card a very decent entry-level gaming option. And in most cases, its consumer qualities will be even superior to similar platforms on LGA 1155 processors. For example, insufficient graphics performance of a system with Core i3 and Radeon HD 6670 places it about 15% behind a system with AMD Dual Graphics. So the only worthy alternative to a system with AMD A8-3870K and Radeon HD 6670 could be a platform with Intel Pentium processor and Radeon HD 6770 graphics card, though in this case the performance with multi-threaded calculations will be significantly lower.
I would also like to point out that overclocking the graphics core in a system with activated AMD Dual Graphics barely has any positive effect. The performance of a system with an overclocked A8-3870K and the same processor working at its nominal frequency is practically identical.
The great impression from Dual Graphics technology is a little spoiled by the way Socket FM1 systems behave in some games that for some reason turn out incompatible with them. This time it is the title called Batman Arkham City where the combination of A8-3870K and Radeon HD 6670 is way behind a single Radeon HD 6670. Luckily, in situations like that you can manually disable Dual Graphics in the drivers, which is super easy to do. Another example of far not the best performance of our AMD-built system is Starcraft 2. In this real-time strategy A8-3870K lacks computational power, which makes systems with Intel CPUs inside a much better choice.