AMD’s Llano is not a new product; it is one that has been out on the market for long enough that all of the major hype and press has already been written. We recently wrapped up our long term testing of an AMD A6-3650 combined with a Gigabyte A75 motherboard. We were rather impressed with the performance that we saw, even if the numbers did not match up to the overall feel. Now we are taking a look at the same CPU, but taking a step down the ladder to the A55 chipset. This time the victim is the A55M-DS2 motherboard. You are losing a few items with this shift like USB 3.0, SATA 3.0 and a PCIe slot, but we wonder if that will really impact performance. So let’s take a look at the design and the features that you can expect to get when you pick up one of these.
With all of the excitement surround a CPU launch from both AMD and then Intel some of the smaller products have been overlooked. These are parts like the A75 chipset and the Llano CPU. We have had one of these up on the test bench for a while now. Mostly to run the performance tests and see where this hardware falls in terms of real performance, but also to try it out and see just what it is like to use. After all this is a platform that AMD was putting a good deal of stock in for future sales and market share. We wanted to see what it would be like to actually use one. We have already taken a look at the design philosophy and features So without any further preamble we bring you the second half of our Gigabyte A75-UD4H motherboard review.
AMD has been throwing the term Fusion around since the early days of the AM2 CPU. We heard rumors of AMD “fusing” the GPU and the CPU together, integrating the MCP (media control processor) into the CPU and a bunch of other stuff. Each of these rumors was dismissed by AMD one at a time. AMD continued to state that Fusion was not a single thing but a platform (of course the media was not going to let that happen). It was only last year when we finally found out what AMD was talking about. It was a CPU with and APU (auxiliary processing unit) that is there to assist in complex tasks that the core CPU was not able to deal with. Interestingly enough this was not a new idea but was actually a return to some of AMD’s roots. AMD began their CPU debut with the purchase of a company called Nexgen. Nexgen CPU did not include a math co-processor (at least the original ones). If you wanted one you could buy one and attach it as an… you guessed it APU. Well many years have passed since that time and we are sure the APU is a little more than a simple math co-processor. Fortunately for you, we have an AMD A6 3650 and a Gigabyte A75-UD4H motherboard to play with. So let’s take a look at this new motherboard from Gigabyte and while we are at it the AMD Llano A6 3650 CPU…
AMD has been something of an unusual company ever since they first decided to dive into the x86 market with their purchase of NexGen. The would-be CPU maker had an interesting knack of building CPUs that performed well, but were always just a pace behind their rivals. That was the case until AMD pulled off a minor miracle in the form of the Athlon and Athlon64 CPUs. AMD seemed to have stolen the crown from Intel and looked likely to keep it for a long time.
Although we reported on this last year it seems that AMD is intent on reminding all of us about their new strategy. In comments to BloombergBusinessweek CEO Rory Read has made the comment that AMD will no longer compete head to head with Intel in the CPU market. This time Read qualifies his comment with a statement that is sure to be put in the same category of Bill Gates’ famous (although misattributed) “640K ought to be enough for anybody.”
The recently introduced AMD FX processors codenamed Vishera could remain on the market throughout the next year. Unofficial sources have said in part of the presentation that showed AMD's processor roadmap for the coming year, apparently FX chips for desktop computers will stagnate on Vishera solutions with the Piledriver core.
Microsoft Surface has not yet fully gone on sale, but already rumors about the new models are appearing. According to the relatively reliable MS_nerd, there will be three versions of this tablet. Surface RT 2, edition of Microsoft's tablet with an ARM chip, should have a screen with a diagonal of 8.6 inches. Also, the tablet should be powered by a Qualcomm chipset, unlike the Nvidia Tegra 3 which is in the current edition of Surface RT.
AMD fans might have some good news for them in the next few months. It seems that one of the geniuses that helped to bring the K7 and K8 CPUs to the world, Jim Keller, is back at AMD and will be working on the next generation of CPUs and APUs. AMD (as many will remember) got themselves into trouble after they scooped up ATi for a cool $5.4 Billion dollars. This move was intended to bring AMD more in line with what Intel had (and had planned). In the end the buyout hurt both AMD and ATi putting both behind their rivals for more than a few years.
AMD can be a confusing company. Over the years they have made more than a few choices that just do not seem to make sense, but we are not going to dive into that right now. Instead we are going to focus on a recent decision that seems both ill-conceived and sure to confuse AMD supporters.
Over the course of the last year or so we have watched as a once solid company has started to crumble into a shadow of its former self. Yes we are talking about AMD and although the trip down the path to where they are now started years ago we have to wonder if there was ever a chance to change things and get the company back on track.