Since so much of Llano's focus involves improving battery life, we might as well get those results on the table. For our first two run-time scenarios, we've compared our A8-3500M and Core i5-2410M test laptops against a range of other systems from past reviews. Obviously, our two main systems are most comparable to one another, with similar battery sizes and other specs, as we've noted. The first test is our own home-cooked web browsing test, TR Browserbench 1.0, which consists of a static version of the TR home page that cycles through different text content, Flash ads, and images, refreshing every 45 seconds. The next one is our video test, which involves continuous, looped playback of an episode of CSI: New York encoded with H.264 at 480p resolution (taken straight from an HTPC).
We aim to keep display brightness consistent across all of our test systems, where possible. In this case, our common touchstone was an Acer 1810TZ laptop at 50% brightness. Many of the other test systems had glossy display coatings and were at 40-50% brightness, as well. To match that illumination level with our primary A8 and Core i5 test systems with matte display coatings, we had to dial the brightness up to 70% on each. Oh, and we conditioned the batteries on all systems by fully discharging them and then recharging prior to testing.
The HP ProBook results marked "1C" are the single-channel memory configuration. As you can see, using a dual-channel config (similar to the one on the Llano system) reduces run times somewhat. In fact, the direct competition between the dual-channel config of the HP ProBook and the Llano test system looks mighty close to parity. The Core i5-2410M system manages 30 minutes more run time while web surfing, but the A8 lasts longer during the video test, perhaps thanks to its UVD block efficiently offloading H.264 decoding and playback from the CPU cores.
AMD also made some strong claims about Llano's battery life while playing games, so we decided to test that, as well. We pulled up Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and left it running, full-screen, to see how long each laptop would last. The Llano test system's discrete GPU was disabled in the BIOS, so we were relying entirely on both processors' IGPs. Here's what we found.
AMD wins this one by a mile. Now, perhaps one reason Llano has an advantage here is because its IGP isn't capable of pushing up to higher clock frequencies when there's thermal headroom available, while the Core i5's can. That said, one solution is delivering clearly superior performance to the other in this scenario, and it's not the one with shorter battery life, as we'll soon see.
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