We should have a much more interesting picture in gaming tests, which employ all parts of Llano at the same time: computational cores, graphics core and memory controller. We are going to start discussing the results of our 3D tests with 3DMark11, which in our case worked with Performance profile.
Even the synthetic 3DMark11 shows clearly how important fast memory is for Socket FM1 systems. Just a 360 MHz increase in memory speed results in an almost 6-percent performance boost. Therefore, AMD A8-3850 processor overclocked to 3.59 GHz and working with DDR3-2133 memory is almost 32% faster than AMD A8-3850 in its nominal mode with standard DDR3-1600. Such overclocking when we also increase the BCLK frequency to 133 MHz seems to be the most optimal even though the graphics core works at only 800 MHz. However, the other approach when the BCLK speed is at 141 MHz and the graphics core works at 846 MHz is only 1% slower because DDR3 memory works as DDR3-1879. Of course, we could have achieved maximum results if at 141 MHz BCLK we could get the memory to work with a higher multiplier, but our modules failed to conquer 2256 MHz frequency.
To study the gaming performance we chose Crysis 2, Far Cry 2, Dirt 3, Metro 2033 and Starcraft 2 games. All tests were performed in 1680x1050 resolution with medium image quality settings. The only exception was made for Crysis 2 where we used high quality settings, but lowered the screen resolution to 1280x800.
Fast memory matters even more in games. When we overclock by setting the BCLK frequency to 133 MHz, another 1-step increase in the memory frequency multiplier produces more than 10% fps boost. Therefore, if you are planning a Llano platform to become your entry-level gaming rig, then you should definitely make sure to get the fastest DDR3 SDRAM modules. The combined graphics core and memory overclocking allows to improve A8-3850 performance by up to 32%, which is a great result. If you don’t have fast memory, then raising BCLK frequency to its maximum may give you 25% performance boost, which also good enough. The only overclocking approach that doesn’t really do much is the “straight-forward” one, when you do not lower the processor clock frequency multiplier. In this case increasing the processor clock speed to 3.6 GHz will only give you 11% fps rate increase.