Report: Llano to triple Sandy Bridge graphics performance

If today’s Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition launch has taught us anything, it’s that AMD remains a step behind Intel when it comes to CPU performance. That’s discouraging news for Llano, whose CPU cores are based on the current Phenom II architecture. However, AMD’s upcoming mainstream APU does have a potential ace up it sleeve in the form of integrated Radeon graphics.

Turkish site Donanim Haber has come across some interesting information on the new Radeon, which reportedly makes up about a third of Llano’s die. According to the site, the Radeon HD 6550 will offer DirectX 11 compatibility and up to three times the performance of Sandy Bridge’s integrated HD Graphics component.

Tripling Sandy Bridge’s graphics performance would be an impressive feat for the Radeon, which is said to feature 400 “parallel processing units” (according to Google’s translation) clocked at just under 600MHz. If those figures are legit, Sandy will face a stiff challenge in games. We’ve already seen a $55 Radeon HD 6450 with just 160 shader ALUs clocked at 750MHz lay waste to Intel’s fastest HD Graphics solution on the desktop. With substantially more ALUs and a reasonably quick GPU clock speed, Llano could dramatically redefine integrated graphics performance.

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    • StashTheVampede
    • 11 years ago

    Turkish benchmarks and front page TR:
    [url<]http://www.donanimhaber.com/islemci/haberleri/iste-AMDnin-8-cekirdekli-Bulldozer-FX-islemcisi-icin-test-sonuclari.htm[/url<] The highest end Bulldozer barely beats a few months young 2600k (from AMDs slides no less). As the previous chips go, BD will win some benches, but not all (specific to CPU). And until we get independent benchmarks, we really have no idea what the real world performance will be like. I'm most curious on multi-socketed stuff for DBs and VMs. Gaming benchmarks would also be nice, but I'm not expecting much from BD on that front.

    • sweatshopking
    • 11 years ago

    Sandy bridge has removed the last remnants of p6.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 11 years ago

    Well, because it’s not equal memory speed. :p

    Bobcat doesn’t support higher than 1066 MHz, and its memory system is slower in all sorts of ways that make it an apples and oranges comparison beyond number of memory channels and RAM speed. Athlon II/Phenom IIs running 1333 MHz RAM already have three times the bandwidth. Sandy Bridge has almost five times as much at the same speed, getting closer to the peak throughput of the RAM. I would expect Llano to actually be somewhere in between at the same speed, but it’s certainly not going to be worse, and it could also be even faster than Sandy Bridge since it was designed to support very high speeds for the GPU.

    • Airmantharp
    • 11 years ago

    Intel is still using the P6 architecture found first in the Pentium Pro, so it’s apparently common practice!

    • NeelyCam
    • 11 years ago

    They are targeting different CPU/GPU performance points.

    I could just as well suggest we should:

    1) Include a cost for Llano to bring CPU performance on par.
    2) Add a GTX580 on SB (including the associated cost), and then include a cost for Llano to bring the GPU performance on par.

    Both of those would be pretty much equally as silly as what you suggested with your play on Llano’s sweet spot,

    • NeelyCam
    • 11 years ago

    First line: “modern” is a matter of opinion.
    Second line: shank himself stated how “WoW kills gpus” and shows what he gets with his 4870. I merely pointed out that independent reviews indicate some GTX cards are killing WoW instead, scoring very high frame rates. There was no fanboyism on my side.
    Third line: again, a matter of opinion.

    • ET3D
    • 11 years ago

    Right. 3 times HD 2000 makes this claim a lot less impressive. Still could be decent performance for mainstream gaming, though. But hopefully we’ll have real benchmarks soon.

    • shank15217
    • 11 years ago

    Not true, Llano gpus range from 160 sp to 400 sp with many speed steps and the am3/am3+ platform isn’t going anywhere soon. Some users will still prefer discrete gpus for multi-monitor support, also don’t forget hybrid crossfire.

    • jensend
    • 11 years ago

    No, I’m just saying that anybody without insider information has no basis on which to speculate. We’ll have to wait and see.

    If you reduce your claim to saying that Intel’s top processors will retain the performance crown in single threaded benchmarks, then it isn’t just uninformed speculation- lots of experts have looked long and hard at the architectural info AMD has put out about Bulldozer and said that they don’t think it can leapfrog Intel’s top processors in single threaded performance.

    But most benchmarks these days are fairly good at taking advantage of about as many cores as you can throw at them, and AMD has shown it expects Bulldozer CPUs with 8 cores (where only rare 256-bit FPU ops are shared between the two cores in the same module) to be priced to compete with 4-core Sandy Bridge products (where only some instruction scheduling stuff is duplicated for hyperthreading). Even for single threaded stuff, Bulldozer’s revision of Turbo Core and lower power for idling cores might mean AMD is able to clock the active cores high enough to beat some similarly priced Sandy Bridge processors.

    How this will actually play out is a very big question mark in everyone’s minds. It could end up being mostly a flop, like the original Phenom; it could be an out-of-the-park home run, like the Athlon 64. We just don’t have any real data yet to be able to tell.

    I don’t buy your claim that the increased core count could only matter for multi-socket situations. People said similar things about quad core products when they first started coming out- that very few people would have use for more than two. But in the past five years software has come a very long way in its ability to take advantage of more cores.

    • ronch
    • 11 years ago

    Wait, is this a mobile processor? If it is then it will stand a good chance against Sandy Bridge, as most people buying laptops don’t expect killer CPU performance. And in the case of laptops they likely can’t add a discrete video card so Llano’s built-in GPU is a great value proposition. Priced right, AMD will rake it in.

    • ronch
    • 11 years ago

    For the desktop, at least, I would think SB and Llano are for different markets. People who buy SB would be crazy to stick with its integrated graphics for gaming and would probably buy a fast video card for it anyway. Llano would be for those looking for a very usable, if not high end, processor with pretty good graphics performance at a good price. The thing with Llano is that the pressure to buy a good video card upgrade wouldn’t be as strong as it would be if you bought SB, as its GPU should be strong enough for most people.

    In the desktop space, it’s not entirely correct to compare SB to Llano, but then again I think AMD is trying to rain on Intel’s SB parade as much as it can.

    • Goty
    • 11 years ago

    How do you come to three times the bandwidth if you’re moving from a single channel of DDR3 to two (assuming equal memory speeds)?

    • shank15217
    • 11 years ago

    Well thats all fine but as you know, many players sit in busy cities all day, so lots of toons are normal. I do play with shadow quality lower than max but really.. badly coded or not the game is still surprisingly taxing for something thats 6 years old. Many of the new areas have significantly increased geometry and frame rates are effected. One thing I noticed is that dx11 is supported in the latest wow client but alas Radeon 4870 is a dx10 card :(. Maybe I should just turn dx11 support on and see if it helps.

    • ronch
    • 11 years ago

    400 stream processors x 2 (2 results per clock per stream processor) x 0.594 = 475.2 GFLOPS. About as fast as a Radeon HD4670. I wonder how the other things like texture units, ROPS, etc. stack up…

    Amazing how far AMD is pushing the original K7 architecture. They’re milking it until blood comes out.

    • Arag0n
    • 11 years ago

    To be honest, I think that the enthusiast GPU market may have some problems too if Llano keeps improving, because the point is that now you think about buying a GPU because it’s required and then you think that you want the best possible. Now you can buy a computer and not be required a GPU at all, just to have the best graphics, then it makes the investment a diferent story. You can pay 0$ for a good enough quality, and 400$ to the best quality, versus the nowdays 200$ for a good enough and 400$ for the best. Llano makes harder for the people to say “just for a bit more money you have much better performance”

    PD: It may happen also that game developers starts to target Llano to know when a game performs good enough, and then you can buy a Llano knowing that everything works with it… just like happens with the XBOX, and you need a GPU to make games work better but not required at all.

    • UberGerbil
    • 11 years ago

    Exactly. But better to cannibalize yourself than have someone else do it to you first, which is what AMD’s CPU division could do to nVidia’s low end GPUs as well.

    • jensend
    • 11 years ago

    I don’t think he’s confusing the products. “Bulldozer for desktops” is just Bulldozer; he’s saying that Sandy Bridge will beat Llano in mobile and Bulldozer on the desktop.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 11 years ago

    A mobile Llano could be just the ticket. I still want sufficient CPU power, a weak CPU with a decent GPU is only good when the CPU isn’t holding back the GPU or when a program is specifically able to use the GPU. The Bobcat CPUs are an example of the former, Atom+ION the latter and there are not uncommon usages that bring out the shortcomings. While the TDP estimates don’t look so great when considering you are getting what’s a decent mobile GPU and at least Core 2-level CPU it’s not bad.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 11 years ago

    Certainly seems that AMD’s CPU division is cannibalizing its GPU division’s low end, doesn’t it?

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 11 years ago

    The system value charts that Techreport produces have a performance axis, which should take care of that.

    • StashTheVampede
    • 11 years ago

    Wait, you’re telling me you have insider information on the Bulldozer performance numbers? From many reports that have been kicked around, I’d be dead surprised if its performance will match Sandy Bridge in single threaded benchmarks up to about four threads. Once you start adding sockets, I’m betting BD will be a better bet.

    Which, again, is meaningless for most desktop users. I cannot wait to see its numbers and am hoping I am wrong. If you have numbers to back up your belief it will be better, I’d love to see them. I’ve read through all the leaked slides on its tech and I still don’t think its performance gains won’t be visible until you reach multi socket, racked servers.

    • UberGerbil
    • 11 years ago

    It’s confusing a couple of products anyway. Llano isn’t “bulldozer for desktops” — that’s Komodo, which is still a year away. (Bulldozer for enthusiasts, on the other hand, is coming this summer. But enthusiasts don’t so much have desktops as construction projects)

    • jensend
    • 11 years ago

    Lots of sources (e.g. [url<]http://www.fudzilla.com/processors/item/22603-amd-llano-to-boast-hd-6550-graphics-core[/url<]) pointing out that Llano will do Crossfire with Turks-based cards. Apparently those are the only ones which it makes sense to do with- no reason to get a lower-performance 64xx card and no point trying to unequally yoke a Barts or Cayman based card with the on-die cores. Apparently when you have a Llano chip and a Turks card the two combined should bring you Juniper-level performance. You don't have any insider information- indeed, you're not aware of the latest published news about AMD's upcoming chips- so what's the point of your pessimistic uninformed speculation about Bulldozer performance? Was saying that even worth the ~.00000002 cent bandwidth cost of transmitting it (priced based on a Dec 2010 bandwidth cost estimate and estimating your comment at 0.1 kilobytes)?

    • potatochobit
    • 11 years ago

    a 4870 is a modern CPU
    let’s not start the nvidia fanboy elitism
    people who play WoW don’t need the latest tech, it’s a 6 year old game

    • potatochobit
    • 11 years ago

    that is because WoW is coded bad in regards to shadows on it’s ULTRA settings
    just turn it down to med. or even high settings and your frame rate should skyrocket
    keep in mind, lots of toons on your screen doesnt necessarily mean the card is performing bad, it just means… lots of toons on your screen

    • dpaus
    • 11 years ago

    Why? If the intent is to make apples-to-apples value comparisons at a given price-performance point, and all the other variables (hard disk, RAM) have been equalized, wouldn’t you need to do this too?

    • NeelyCam
    • 11 years ago

    Maybe you should try a modern GPU? Like NVidia GTX:

    [url<]http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-590-dual-gf110-radeon-hd-6990,2898-12.html[/url<]

    • khands
    • 11 years ago

    ^this, possibly especially for Nvidia GPUs.

    • NeelyCam
    • 11 years ago

    That would be silly.

    • dpaus
    • 11 years ago

    If current ‘system’ value charts have to take into account the higher cost of Intel motherboards, are future value charts going to have to include the cost of the discrete graphics card needed to bring graphics performance on par?

    • Airmantharp
    • 11 years ago

    With my SB i7 I can play quite a few games at low-medium settings- but I tell ya, 3x the performance would hit the mark at 1366×768. It’s not like I need all of the CPU performance on the laptop for anything, I really could get by just as easily with 1/3rd the CPU!

    Almost makes me want to return this Toshiba (would be my second return…). Any guess as to whether Toshiba will be stuffing a quad-core variant into an A665 like mine? I have the SB i7 with a 16″ screen, 6GB RAM, 640GB drive and Blu-ray reader.

    • dpaus
    • 11 years ago

    [quote<]The high-end enthusiast GPU market doesn't disappear, of course, but it's a lot smaller[/quote<] And correspondingly more expensive.

    • DavidC1
    • 11 years ago

    This is basically a rehash of earlier leak that said 3DMark Vantage scores being 3x HD 2000.

    • StashTheVampede
    • 11 years ago

    Will the APUs do some form of Crossfire? Even with the relatively weak GPU (as compared to $150-200ish discreet), if some of its GPU power could be tapped to up the frame rate in games, that’s a pretty good win, no?

    Intel is going to win in benchmarks, but AMD has spent most of its life in the “budget” area. This will not change with Bulldozer for desktops (ihmo).

    • UberGerbil
    • 11 years ago

    Well, there ya go 😉

    As of last fall AMD was clearly [url=http://www.xbitlabs.com/images/news/2010-11/amd_mobile_roadmap_2012_nov2010.jpg<]aiming[/url<] Llano derivatives at not just the high end of the mobile market but what they call "mainstream" as well (while the bobcat-based APUs take the segments below that)

    • UberGerbil
    • 11 years ago

    It raises the minimum on what’s required for a discrete GPU to offer an actual upgrade on performance, however. Mainstream resolutions have stagnated at 1MP (laptops) to 2MP (1080 displays); mainstream games have stagnated at console performance requirements. If Llano plays those games at those resolutions at sufficiently high framerates that mainstream consumers don’t see any real upgrade from buying a cheap discrete card, then there’s not much reason for the cheap discrete cards to exist. Especially since the OEMs can claim “Radeon six thousand whatever” on their marketing materials like there really is a cheap discrete GPU already in there (as they’ve been doing with AMD IGPs for a while now). The high-end enthusiast GPU market doesn’t disappear, of course, but it’s a lot smaller; OEM sales of the lower-end GPUs have been a more significant part of AMD’s and nVidia’s sales volumes.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 11 years ago

    Considering that the Radeon 5650 was fairly prevalent in $600-700ish AMD laptops up until recently, and it’s roughly equivalent to Llano’s GPU, I’m sure they’d like to push such a “gamer laptop” running “hybrid crossfire” with a similar 6000 series replacement…which it turns out there are already eight different models of. Coincidence? :p

    • maxxcool
    • 11 years ago

    with up to 480 stream processors i hope so….it amlost replaces anything under 63xx 53xx and 54xx series

    • dpaus
    • 11 years ago

    I agree with you {gasp!} that it will not sway the enthusiastic gamer, especially those who build their own box, but I wouldn’t overlook the sizeable group of casual gamers who will simply buy the pre-built ‘Gamer’s System’ -type boxes sure to be offered by various suppliers.

    • shank15217
    • 11 years ago

    Man I don’t know what you are talking about, WoW kills gpus if you turn it up to full strength.. I get 18-24fps in a busy area at 1920×1200 with all the eye candy on, minus AA with a Radeon 4870 on a Thuban 1100T

    • UberGerbil
    • 11 years ago

    Well, as I think we discussed in a previous thread, it may allow the OEMs to sell things they call “gaming laptops” without having to include a discrete GPU. So “budget gaming laptop” may not be quite the oxymoron (or imaginary) thing it is now. Of course they’ll still be big and heavy and pricier than the “mainstream” or “value” machines (especially if they go higher than 1366×768), but they won’t be quite the boutique product they have been in the past.

    (And hopefully AMD has been able to do a better job of shutting down the parts that aren’t needed when you’re not gaming)

    • PRIME1
    • 11 years ago

    I doubt this will discourage people who currently buy video cards, from buying them in the future.

    While it is good news for people who end up getting stuck with integrated graphics, I don’t see it as any sort of game changer (pun intended).

    • esterhasz
    • 11 years ago

    Yes, performance should be a lot better than Brazos, but at the same time, if the slides are correct, Llano has 3x the die size, the same size as SB – I cannot image that they will be able to get the same kind of money for those pieces however, if the CPU part is a bit anemic.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 11 years ago

    It would actually have three times the bandwidth in a typical laptop with 1333 MHz DDR3, and it supports up to 1866 MHz out of the box, though I would hope that’s not intended as a standard for laptops!

    • Goty
    • 11 years ago

    My E-350 handles Portal 2 and Team Fortress 2 at 1366×768 with medium-low settings, so I think Llano should manage quite well. Five times the shaders and (making a naive guess here) twice the memory bandwidth should make it a fairly competent part.

    • UberGerbil
    • 11 years ago

    It’ll never satisfy the enthusiasts, but if it can play mainstream games, at mainstream resolutions, without a lot of compromises on IQ, the market should be receptive. Especially if the mobile part can do that at typical laptop resolutions without burning a lot of power (for thermal design reasons more than battery life).

    Already SB does a decent job with the mainstream games that really matter, like WoW and the Source engine games. And with the major consoles still a ways away from a refresh, it’s not like the bar is going to be raised on the (mainstream) software side any time soon.

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