The performance of integrated graphics cores has evolved dramatically over the past year. While previously the mere idea of an entry-level gaming system without an external graphics card couldn’t even come to mind, today we have dedicated an entire article to it. of course, we should thank AMD for that, because they decided to get involved with hybrid processors using powerful graphics cores. And the first milestone on this journey, Llano processor, is a very successful example of integration, which opens up new horizons for platforms using processors with integrated graphics cards inside.
However, our tests showed that even the flagship Llano processor, AMD A8-3870K, still doesn’t allow to completely give up entry-level graphics accelerators. Hybrid processors from AMD fit perfectly into the gaming notebooks concept, but their graphics is not fast enough to desktop applications. In the typical desktop 1080p resolution AMD A8-3870K processor can’t deliver acceptable fps rate even with lowered image quality settings. And overclocking doesn’t save the day.
Therefore, when your gaming system budget is severely limited, it makes more sense to bet on traditional configurations using an inexpensive processor and an entry-level graphics accelerator. For example, a system with Intel Pentium G850 and an AMD Radeon HD 6670 will provide better 3D performance than the hybrid AMD A8-3870K processor that costs about the same amount of money.
So far, Socket FM1 platform seems to be better suited for multimedia and networking applications rather than games. Its obvious strength is good performance in resource-demanding multi-threaded applications, where AMD A8-3870K will be ahead due to four fully-functional computational cores. However, it is important to keep in mind that with not enough parallel threads Llano processors get easily defeated even by the junior Intel Sandy Bridge CPUs with more efficient microarchitecture in terms of the number of instructions per clock cycle.
At the same time, we are very pleased with the AMD Dual Graphics technology, which allows combining the potential of an add-on graphics card with the capacities of the graphics core integrated into Llano processors. This technology allows the users to gradually upgrade their video sub-system, and the resulting performance level is more than competitive. For example, the graphics performance of the AMD A8-3870K and Radeon HD 6670 is practically identical to that of Radeon HD 6770, which creates pretty good gaming systems in terms of price-to-performance ratio. However, we can’t say that Dual Graphics is completely flawless, and if you carefully select the components for your LGA 1155 platform, then eventually you will end up with some more efficient configurations.
As a result, the main hero of our today’s article, AMD A8-3870K processor, left a very controversial overall impression. It is a very interesting product for experiments, which can be overclocked and at the same time has the best integrated graphics of all processors existing today and supports very interesting Dual Graphcis technology. However, despite its seemingly promising future, we can’t come up with a niche for it, where it could be considered undefeated. Of course, there are individual situations when it beats Intel products and they could be, in fact, quite numerous, but unfortunately, we are unable to give any general recommendations in its favor at this time.