Today AMD released the new A-series APUs (Accelerated Processing Unit) for the desktop. The new processors are the latest members of AMD’s Fusion family and combine the CPU and GPU onto a single package.
The CPU side is built from upgraded Phenom II cores with an increased L2 cache (1MB per core up from 512k). Similar to the Athlon II series of CPUs, the L3 cache has been eliminated. The memory controller has been updated to support DDR3-1866 speeds when two slots are occupied (DDR3-1600 with all four occupied) and a maximum of 32GB of RAM is supported.
The GPU side is built with up to 400 Radeon HD cores (shader units), provides full support for DirectX 11, and promises discrete-level graphics performance. Two displays can be connected with resolutions of up to 2560×1600 per display, depending on the connection type. If the built-in graphics aren’t quite enough, they can be paired with a Radeon HD 6400, HD 6500, or HD 6600 series graphics card for higher performance using CrossfireX.
Pricing and availability have not yet been announced for the A8-3800 and A6-3600, although it is expected that pricing will be similar to their -50 counterparts. None of the APUs have shown up at retail yet, but it should happen very soon.
Early reports show the ability to actually play games without an additional discrete GPU and breaking records for a non-discrete graphics solution (AMD requests that the GPU on Llano not be referred to as an IGP due to bad connotations).
Of course, what good is a processor without a motherboard? All the major players have Socket FM1 boards to fit just about any system requirement for size and budget. Gigabyte, MSI, Asus, and Biostar all currently have motherboards listed on Newegg though the matching APUs have yet to appear as of publishing time.
We have the AMD A8-3850 APU and a Gigabyte A75M-UD2H set up and undergoing testing right now and will let you know how it stacks up soon.