At first glance it seems fairly easy to draw conclusions based on the obtained results. AMD and Intel processors with integrated graphics cores revealed completely different advantages, which allow us to give specific recommendations depending on the planned computer usage model.
For example, an obvious strength of AMD Fusion is their integrated graphics core with relatively high performance and support for DirectX 11 and OpenCL 1.1. So, we can recommend these processors for those systems where 3D graphics performance and image quality matter more. At the same time the general-purpose cores in Fusion processors are based on the old and slow K10 microarchitecture that is why they are pretty slow in computational tasks. Therefore, if you are looking for a solution with better non-gaming performance, then you should consider Intel Core i3 and Pentium CPUs, even though they have fewer computational cores than the competitors from AMD.
Of course, AMD’s overall approach to designing processors with an integrated graphics accelerator seems to be more rational. The company’s APUs are pretty well-balanced in terms of computational performance being adequate to the graphics performance and the other way around. As a result, top A8 processors may be considered a good fit for entry-level gaming computers. Even in most contemporary gaming titles processors like that and Radeon HD 6550D graphics accelerators integrated into them can deliver acceptable gaming speed. However, things are much more complicated when it comes to A6 and A4 series with weaker GPUs inside. Their performance is insufficient for a universal entry-level gaming system that is why these processors may only suit for multimedia systems, which will be running causal games with simple graphics and previous-generation online RPG.
However, despite all this balance talk, A6 and A4 will not be a good fit for resource-demanding computational tasks. Intel Pentium processors within the same price range will work much faster. Frankly speaking, only A8-3850 looks decent against the background of Sandy Bridge products when it comes to acceptable performance in general-purpose tasks. Moreover, it does well far not everywhere and its decent performance is accompanied with higher heat dissipation, which will hardly be an acceptable compromise for the owners of computer systems without discrete graphics.
In other words, it is a real pity that Intel hasn’t yet been able to design a graphics core with decent performance. Even Core i3-2125 equipped with their fastest Intel HD Graphics 3000 works only as fast as AMD A4-330 in games, because of the too week graphics accelerator. All other Intel processors come with a 1.5 times slower GPU and perform really poorly in 3D games, often delivering completely unacceptable fps rate. Therefore, we can’t recommend to consider Intel processors for a system that will work with 3D graphics. Core i3 and Pentium graphics cores cope perfectly fine with the graphics interface of the operating system and HD video playback, but that’s about it. So, Core i3 and Pentium processors will best of all suit for those systems that need mostly computational performance of general-purpose cores and decent energy-efficiency. In this respect, no AMD APU can compete with Sandy Bridge.
And in conclusion I would like to remind you that Intel’s LGA1155 platform has much better future prospects than AMD’s Socket FM1. When you purchase an AMD Fusion processor, you should be ready to accept very limited options for future upgrade. AMD is only going to announce a few more Socket FM1 A8 and A6 processors with slightly higher clock frequencies, while their successors aka Trinity due next year will not be compatible with this platform anymore. Intel’s LGA1155 platform is much more promising. You can not only use much faster Core i5 and Core i7 processors in this platform today, but even the upcoming Ivy Bridge CPUs due to come out next year should also work just fine in these mainboards.