Laptop - discrete or Llano?

Laptops, PDAs, Cell Phones, and all other tech that you carry with you.

Moderators: mac_h8r1, Nelliesboo, David

Laptop - discrete or Llano?

Postposted on Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:02 pm

Hi, I'm buying a laptop for university. It won't move from my desk so the main constraint is price (<£600). I'd like it to be able to run some older games (TF2, SC2, L4D) at middling settings, and if at all possible keep up with the less graphically intensive Steam games for a few years).

My choices seem to be (rough classes of laptop from several manufacturers):

Core i5 SB with integrated graphics ~£500 (example: http://h40059.www4.hp.com/uk/homelaptop ... id=A2D31EA )
Core i5 SB with ~520M ~£550
Core i5 SB with ~540M/6490M ~£600 (example: http://h40059.www4.hp.com/uk/homelaptop ... id=A2D31EA )

Llano A6 (integrated) ~£400 (example: http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/lenovo-z5 ... 7-pdt.html )
Llano A6 + 6490M ~ £450 (example: http://h40059.www4.hp.com/uk/homelaptop ... id=A1Q55EA )

Now the AMD looks a LOT cheaper, I'm wondering if the speed of Llano will be noticeably bad compared to Core i3/i5, and also why a 160 shader 6490M is somehow much faster than a 400 shader Llano when I look at reviews. And which of the three tiers of graphics here (Intel, 520M, 540M) is suitable for the games I want?

Lastly the usual question of, what should I be afraid of when I see a cheap laptop with apparently decent CPU/GPU/RAM/HDD size?
Game_boy
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 564
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 12:46 pm

Re: Laptop - discrete or Llano?

Postposted on Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:05 pm

My understanding is you will recieve worse CPU performance but better graphics performance with llano, but i do not have benchmarks to support this - I will say I assure you graphics will be a bigger gaming bottleneck for you most of the time
Main Rig: FX-6100@4.2ghz / Radeon 6950 / Velociraptor HD / 8GB Ram / Win 7 x64
Backup/FIleserver: Sempron 2650 / 6 TB storage / FreeBSD 10 / hilariously inside a Cooler Master Cosmos case
pikaporeon
Graphmaster Gerbil
 
Posts: 1317
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:42 pm
Location: Mississauga, ON, Canada.

Re: Laptop - discrete or Llano?

Postposted on Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:45 pm

I like to reference this cart since it does a nice job at visualizing/comparing various graphics solutions. I would probably skip on the 520m if you're planning on any games that are more than moderately demanding. (if your hardware capabilities allow, you may develop a taste for more demanding games than what you have listed) The good thing about gaming on laptops is that they are unfortunatley typically restricted to 720p resolution which greatly reduces the need for large graphics muscle seen in the desktop realm.

The integrated 6520G graphics have 320 shaders running at 400Mhz, it shares its memory from the system RAM. The 6490 has 160 shaders at 700-750Mhz but it's got dedicated 1GB memory; giving it more memory throughput compared to the 6520G. (This was based on very little information. If anybody wishes to correct/refine my comment, please feel free)

Do you NEED to get a laptop right now? Intel Ivy Bridge mobile processors should be out in 2 months or less with graphics comparable to todays Llanos but the CPU will be much stronger and use less power. Also, AMD Trinity APUs will be coming out in that same time frame which will be better than Llano in both graphics and CPU muscle. I think Trinity might be the "perfect" processor for gaming notebooks.
Last edited by DPete27 on Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-m, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB G-Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
DPete27
Gerbil Jedi
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1714
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:50 pm
Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Re: Laptop - discrete or Llano?

Postposted on Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:55 pm

DPete27 wrote:I like to reference this cart since it does a nice job at visualizing/comparing various graphics solutions.
Try these tables on for size:
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Computer-G ... 849.0.html
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Comparison ... 130.0.html
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
JustAnEngineer
Gerbil God
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 15547
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: The Heart of Dixie

Re: Laptop - discrete or Llano?

Postposted on Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:56 pm

I would probably get the lenovo and get a 256GB SSD with the extra savings

http://www.amd.com/us/products/notebook ... eam.aspx#6
the A6-3420M is basically a radeon 4650 gpu, and with the typical 13??x7?? resolution should be fine.

My cousin go basically the same thing for school and dropped in a 256GB M4 and he has been satisfied with it.
Life doesn't change after marriage, it changes after children!
anotherengineer
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 593
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:53 pm
Location: Timmins, ON Canada, Yes I know, Up in the sticks

Re: Laptop - discrete or Llano?

Postposted on Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:57 pm

As far as my experience can help, I've been using different kinds of laptops during the past few years mostly due to friends having problems with theirs and me fixing those. I get my time on it to test various things. One thing I can say is that Llano integrated graphics are as good as the entry level discrete graphics(6470m/6490m/GT520M). So the extra price you would pay for an entry level discrete graphics certainly doesn't seem worth it to me. As for SB's HD3000, it's not bad. It can play SC2 at ~low/medium settings depending on what kind of FPS you would require at minimum. In comparison Llano would do fine at medium/high. On the processor side, SB is faster no doubt, but on everyday use, I can't notice much of a difference. One thing I'd say is a quad-core Llano seems to be snappier when you run a multithreaded program. For example, I would notice that I can play Counter-Strike source fine on a quad core Llano while Steam is doing a game backup on the background whereas a dual core SB would start to freeze for just a fraction of a second every now and then.
mrcmtl
Gerbil In Training
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:49 pm

Re: Laptop - discrete or Llano?

Postposted on Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:14 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
DPete27 wrote:I like to reference this cart since it does a nice job at visualizing/comparing various graphics solutions.
Try these tables on for size:
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Computer-G ... 849.0.html
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Comparison ... 130.0.html


Those are very handy! I will have to add them to my list of "standard" references. I like that you can easily tell if a game is playable at a target resolution/video settings. The reason I like the tomshardware chart is because it compares mobile GPU's to desktop-class GPU's also (which I have a pretty good handle on).
i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-m, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB G-Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
DPete27
Gerbil Jedi
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1714
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:50 pm
Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Re: Laptop - discrete or Llano?

Postposted on Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:51 pm

Given how soon IB and Trinity are coming out, now is really not a good time to buy a new laptop if you're at all interested in graphics performance. 2-3 months from now you'll have *much* better options. Ivy Bridge and Trinity will bring only modest CPU performance gains, but the GPU performance difference will be huge in both cases.
jensend
Gerbil
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 11:34 pm

Re: Laptop - discrete or Llano?

Postposted on Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:29 pm

DPete27 wrote:I like to reference this cart since it does a nice job at visualizing/comparing various graphics solutions.


That's great for comparing, but since recent reviews only test on newer games and higher resolutions than laptop (mostly) I'm finding it hard to say what level I need.


I would probably skip on the 520m if you're planning on any games that are more than moderately demanding. (if your hardware capabilities allow, you may develop a taste for more demanding games than what you have listed) The good thing about gaming on laptops is that they are unfortunatley typically restricted to 720p resolution which greatly reduces the need for large graphics muscle seen in the desktop realm.


True, I don't know what I'll be playing in 2-3 years which makes me want to go for better, but I don't want to be spending more if I don't have to.

The integrated 6520G graphics have 320 shaders running at 400Mhz, it shares its memory from the system RAM. The 6490 has 160 shaders at 700-750Mhz but it's got dedicated 1GB memory; giving it more memory throughput compared to the 6520G. (This was based on very little information. If anybody wishes to correct/refine my comment, please feel free)


Ah the clockspeed is much slower, as well as memory. Thanks.

Do you NEED to get a laptop right now? Intel Ivy Bridge mobile processors should be out in 2 months or less with graphics comparable to todays Llanos but the CPU will be much stronger and use less power. Also, AMD Trinity APUs will be coming out in that same time frame which will be better than Llano in both graphics and CPU muscle. I think Trinity might be the "perfect" processor for gaming notebooks.


Given how soon IB and Trinity are coming out, now is really not a good time to buy a new laptop if you're at all interested in graphics performance. 2-3 months from now you'll have *much* better options. Ivy Bridge and Trinity will bring only modest CPU performance gains, but the GPU performance difference will be huge in both cases.


I doubt those will be available in the UK close to the US launch day. If I knew a solid Trinity laptop was coming out in June I would indeed wait.

As far as my experience can help, I've been using different kinds of laptops during the past few years mostly due to friends having problems with theirs and me fixing those. I get my time on it to test various things. One thing I can say is that Llano integrated graphics are as good as the entry level discrete graphics(6470m/6490m/GT520M). So the extra price you would pay for an entry level discrete graphics certainly doesn't seem worth it to me. As for SB's HD3000, it's not bad. It can play SC2 at ~low/medium settings depending on what kind of FPS you would require at minimum. In comparison Llano would do fine at medium/high. On the processor side, SB is faster no doubt, but on everyday use, I can't notice much of a difference. One thing I'd say is a quad-core Llano seems to be snappier when you run a multithreaded program. For example, I would notice that I can play Counter-Strike source fine on a quad core Llano while Steam is doing a game backup on the background whereas a dual core SB would start to freeze for just a fraction of a second every now and then.


This helps a lot. Glad to hear Llano runs games and things just fine, it is hard to tell from the raw numbers what is playable and what is not. I wonder why it is so much cheaper.

Everyone else: thanks as well for responding. I'm now leaning towards the Llano options.
Game_boy
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 564
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 12:46 pm

Re: Laptop - discrete or Llano?

Postposted on Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:11 pm

i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-m, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB G-Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
DPete27
Gerbil Jedi
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1714
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:50 pm
Location: Madison, Wisconsin


Return to Mobile Tech

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest