Review: AMD's Fusion Comes To The Desktop

AMD Fusion A-Series

No need for video card when there's Fusion, AMD's new low-cost all-in-one desktop processor

Advanced Micro Devices on Thursday begins shipping its latest AMD Fusion processor -- code-named Lynx -- the desktop version of its CPU/GPU released earlier this month for laptops. The so-called APU, or accelerated processing unit, combines as many as four x86 cores and 400 AMD Radeon HD graphics cores on a single chip.

AMD's A-series parts are designed to compete with Intel's Core i5 and Core i3 processors in terms of price. But as far as graphics processing capabilities, AMD claims that Fusion is on par with discrete video controllers. The new series also offers relatively low power usage, with thermal displacement specs between 65W and 100W; also on par with Intel. All A-series chips support memory speeds up to 1866 MHz, when it becomes widely available.

The new APUs incorporate the "AMD Vision Engine," which the company has deemed the combination of its video accelerator, Radeon cores and Catalyst and OpenCL drivers and the Windows-based control center UI.

For testing in advance of the launch, AMD sent the CRN Test Center its high-end A8-3850 APU, a 100W part with four x86 cores running at 2.9 GHz, 400 Radeon cores at 600 MHz, plus 5 SIMD units, 20 texture units and 42 additional processors. The A8-3850 came pre-installed on an ASRock A75 Pro4 motherboard, to which testers added 4GB of 1333 MHz DDR3 memory, an OWC 256GB Mercury Extreme 6Gb/s SSD, and 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate N.

Next we installed our usual array of system and graphics performance benchmarks, which include Geekbench (currently 2.1.13) from Primate Labs, and Codemasters Software's Dirt 2. To measure frame rates, we used Real Time HDR IBL and Fraps 3.2.2 from Beepa Pty Ltd. Vertical sync was disabled.

 AMD Fusion A-Series

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Next: Geekbench Results

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