Poll: What’s the best CPU/GPU hybrid?

After years of talk about how CPUs and GPUs are on a collision course, we finally have numerous examples of the two components sharing silicon die area. AMD’s Llano APU is the latest addition, and it easily has the most powerful integrated graphics of the bunch. A reasonably potent Radeon GPU can also be found in AMD’s Zacate and Ontario APUs. These Atom killers are basically the same chip with different clock speeds and power envelopes.

Intel has its own brand of fusion, too. Pineview-based Atom processors were the first to combine x86 CPU cores with integrated graphics. Then there’s Sandy Bridge, which melds a comparatively weak GPU with the best CPU cores around and much tighter integration of the various on-chip components.

So, which CPU/GPU hybrid is best? That’s the subject of our latest poll, and we’re keeping things simple by sticking to the world of x86-compatible processors, which excludes the droves of SoCs found in smartphones and tablets. Chips like Apple’s A4 and Nvidia’s Tegra 2 are really different animals. You can cast your vote below or in the middle column on the front page.

In our last poll, we asked you to pick the most egregious sin committed by PC games. Unsurprisingly, most folks (52%) think that extraneous DRM and online services are the biggest evils. Among the rest, 13% are most frustrated by crappy user interfaces, while 12% ache for better mouse support. 8% of those who voted are dismayed by the lack of dedicated-server support, and 7% find that PC games offer too few configuration options. Another 4% think mod developers are getting the worst of it. The remaining 3% have other complaints, some of which are discussed in Bruno’s blog post on the subject.

Comments closed
    • rhema83
    • 8 years ago

    Voted for Zacate, since it excels at what it does: providing a low-power solution for netbooks and ultraportables without sacrificing too much performance.

    Llano will get my other vote if I had one, for its potential in mobile applications. It is a great fit for thin-and-light notebooks such as Thinkpad T or Toshiba Tecra M. (Reminds me of my T42, with Pentium M and Mobility Radeon.) It will do well for HTPC too, although some will argue that the GPU is overkill. The A6 models are probably enough.

    • burntham77
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t understand this poll. Best for what? If you tell me “whatever your needs are” I would say that I have several needs. I need a solid gaming machine, I need an HTPC that uses minimal power, and I need an acceptable gaming notebook. Not one of those listed will accomplish all three of those.

    This poll reminds me of people who run around MMOs asking “Which class is the best?” To which I always ask, “The best at what?”

    • Chrispy_
    • 8 years ago

    There are very few jobs in the current software climate that need CPU horsepower.
    Encoding, software rendering, and, uh, CPU benchmarking? What percentage of the market actually does any of that on a regular basis?

    Games. Games. Oh, did I mention games already?

    Seriously, even Llano with it’s 50/50 die area between GPU and CPU is massively imbalanced. Despite the most powerful IGP to date, the near-obsolete Thuban cores in a Llano are still not the bottleneck for gaming. My gut feeling is that you’d need to triple the GPU throughput before you’d need to upgrade the CPU in a Llano

    • Airmantharp
    • 8 years ago

    My vote goes for Llano by far- but I must say that Intel has created something to be reckoned with in Sandy Bridge.

    I bought a Toshiba laptop recently with a very specific set of requirements, and the i7-2620m Sandy Bridge in it met them generously.

    At 1366×768, I can play more games from my Steam and Origin catalogs than I imagined possible; while the laptop itself is incredibly fast.

    Llano also creates a bit of a paradox- while Sandy Bridge is fast enough for the low resolution TNs that most laptops get, better resolution comes at a very high price, one that’s unlikely to see a cheaper AMD APU inside.

    I surely hope AMD get’s their act together on CPU cores, and soon. A successor to Llano with competitive IPC would put a real dent in Intel’s market share; I’ll also suggest that now’s the time to start designing parts that can handle more memory channels. Three channels of DDR3-1866 with more GPU cores and faster CPU cores would make for a potent mobile gaming machine for sure.

    And AMD doesn’t have much time. Intel is surely working on their GPU component, both hardware and drivers; if Sandy Bridge is any indication, at 22nm with twice the transistors they’ll be able to beat the hell out of Llano’s successor on both CPU and GPU performance.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]Three channels of DDR3-1866 with more GPU cores and faster CPU cores would make for a potent mobile gaming machine for sure.[/quote<] Thats an interesting think to think about. Is there a market for beefy CPU&GPU chips with 3 or 4 channels of RAM? Is the cost of making such a package and socket too high? Perhaps on-die or at least on-package RAM will be the answer. My own expectation is that there is no demand for a mass-market 3 or 4 channel CPU & GPU. Perhaps Intel & AMD will approach performance parity because the limiting factor will be memory bandwidth (the contest may then be won by the company with the most clever local caching and bandwidth saving techniques).

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 8 years ago

        The demand would have to be dictated by laptops, but more memory channels, with more DIMMs, and at higher speeds, would just kill batteries and increase costs, and it’s still just a band-aid fix. You may as well just put in a discrete card that can be switched on and off.

        They’ll pull off embedded RAM soon enough, which would eventually simplify the way laptops are built, rather than complicate it and make it worse.

          • Airmantharp
          • 8 years ago

          Triple-channel is one idea, and it’s not a great one; but it’s been done. If they can get enough eDRAM in there to support 1080p screens, I think they’ll have a winner; and they should be able to get quite a bit more bandwidth out of that, and that would allow them to keep slower/lower voltage memory.

          I guess though, after getting DDR3-1600 for my desktop that runs at 1.5v (all 16GB of it!), I can’t see how getting three 2GB modules to run at 1866MHz with 1.5v would be too much of an issue. And laptop boards are already pretty thick given the limited amount of horizontal space they’re provided, so I would expect that bumping up to triple-channel would just mean a few more wires.

    • obarthelemy
    • 8 years ago

    Funyy thing is, I replaced my PC with an E-350, and I’m happy with it. It’s tucked behind my monitor, does SD video on one screen, Office on the other, is totally silent.

    I should turn my geek card in, but I’m a happy customer, and will be recommending my setup to most everyone I know, except gamers and power users. I guess those are the majority on computer websites, and around 5% of the real world.

      • Chrispy_
      • 8 years ago

      Yep. Most people don’t need anything more than “enough” horsepower, and the quietness and small form factor are far more important to these folks.

      This is why that dung-heap of a processor people call the Atom became so popular.

        • swaaye
        • 8 years ago

        Well don’t discount the clueless factor of most consumers either when you ponder Atom’s success being connected to cute netbooks.

    • Arag0n
    • 8 years ago

    Who the hell votes for Pineview? Ontario/Zacate is better CPU/GPU with similar or better power managment than Pineview, and seems that people prefers stronger GPU than crazy good CPU besides a good-for-nothing GPU.

    Seems that in the battle for SOC’s systems without dedicated GPU AMD has the leading as expected.

      • maroon1
      • 8 years ago

      No, Ontario is not better than Atom dual core in CPU performance.
      Only Zacate (E-350) is better than Atom dual core.

      Also, most netbooks that has atom dual core are cheaper than Ontario

      For example, you won’t find netbook with ontario CPU in newegg that cost under $300, but you can find netbook with Atom N550 that cost only $275
      [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834215018&cm_re=Atom_N550-_-34-215-018-_-Product[/url<] [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834220846&cm_re=Atom_N550-_-34-220-846-_-Product[/url<]

        • cynan
        • 8 years ago

        Interestingly (at least for Canadians), in Canada the Acer Ontarios are the cheapest current netbook you can buy.

        Here’s one for $229 at [url=http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/product/acer-acer-aspire-10-1-netbook-featuring-amd-processor-c-50-ao522-bz623-black-ao522-bz623/10169417.aspx?path=e90bfce557642a3948e830083eeecb08en02<]BestBuy[/url<] (beat that Newegg :-P)

    • plasticplate
    • 8 years ago

    I would say this is not completely a fair poll. Like someone said before, u have to mention the segment too. If the question is outright, then i would say that the Llano is the best Hybrid. If u include low powered devices too, then the choice would be zacate. The only time i would select a Llano is if i am in the market for a laptop or HTPC. While the market for laptop segment is pretty big, the one for HTPC is very small. As for a desktop, i dont think there is any point in buying a Llano based platform. While i have high hopes for Zambezi, the truth is Llano CPU cores are so under powered, u would notice the difference in normal applications. Better get a Hyper threaded dual core Sandy with a cheap discrete card for much better overall performance. And its not really going to cost that much more either.

    • maxxcool
    • 8 years ago

    Toll poll ? seems this topic would induce napalm posting…

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      Yes, just like America, you have to pay to vote.

    • Aspleme
    • 8 years ago

    Let me first say, I am a gamer and have a Sandy Bridge processor with an Nvidia graphics card. That being said, for any computer that wasn’t for high end games or video encoding and other CPU intensive tasks, I would build a Llano bases system. If I wanted to improve on that slightly, I would use the asymmetrical crossfire and add a Radeon graphics card (though I doubt I would go higher than the $250 range card, if I even went that high).

    For my computer, I haven’t seen an AMD processor that would make suit my needs. But giving credit where it’s due, Llano’s integrated graphics blows everything else out of the water, and we haven’t even seen the Bulldozer chips that are supposed to come out Q3. Especially since the long life of current gen consoles is doing a lot to hold gaming technology back, AMD could be in just the right place to please people who want mid range computer, even a lot of gamers.

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 8 years ago

      Exactly my thinking/feeling as well.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      I don’t think Llano asymmetrical crossfire is supported on anything faster than a 6670 anyhow.

    • dragosmp
    • 8 years ago

    Pure architecture elegance: Sandy Bridge
    Best overall: Llano

    Llano’s CPU cores are slow, but don’t give wrong results on whatever they may be computing. SB’s GPU corrupts the image to such extent one has to wonder weather the results can be considered correct or wrong, proof in TR’s Llano review.

      • swaaye
      • 8 years ago

      It’s not much different than both ATI and NV did pre-DX10 days. It may not even be noticeable to people unless you compare side by side. Basically Intel is simplifying their filtering quality to reduce the demands on the hardware. It allows them to get decent speed with simpler texture units. Intel just isn’t taking gaming serious, probably because the majority of their users couldn’t care less.

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 8 years ago

        which really, the won’t. The most intense task the average consumer wants from the integrated GPU is to run Farmville 3D.

          • BlackStar
          • 8 years ago

          And then come browsers with GPU acceleration and WebGL and Intel users start scratching their heads “why doesn’t this work here?”

          Great.

            • swaaye
            • 8 years ago

            If it becomes important you can probably count on them fixing their drivers. Right now it doesn’t matter whatsoever. Actually I’m not even sure that it is broken. I haven’t bothered to look into WebGL stuff at all.

        • dragosmp
        • 8 years ago

        Business users maybe don’t care much, but other Intel users do care. If you want to get a Fusion-like processor today due to advantages such as the good mix of CPU and GPU in a low-TDP and low price package, then Llano is the best overall.

        Who doesn’t care about GPU can get SB, who doesn’t care about slim can choose SB+Nvidia, who doesn’t care about CPU can get Brazos. All these options sacrifice something completely, be that gaming performance, form factor or processor power. Llano partially sacrifices CPU performance, it offers Arrandale-like CPU speed in a similar TDP.

          • swaaye
          • 8 years ago

          Absolutely, but I think Llano’s GPU is overrated. An older IGP can do most of what it can and Llano’s gaming performance is still pretty sad in the grand scheme. It’s just a nice ultra budget option.

      • Airmantharp
      • 8 years ago

      Even if the SB GPU ‘corrupts’ the image, it still provides incredible performance for an IGP, and an Intel one at that. Proof in the machine I’m typing this on, that plays more current games than I had imagined possible.

    • Corrado
    • 8 years ago

    Seems like NONE are the magic bullet … yet. They are either good at one (SB), the other(Llano), or neither (Atom).

    Am I the only one wondering why AMD is spending time on Llano? Why are you not putting all your energy into Bulldozer? Llano is such a stop gap that it seems silly at this point. Unless all you’re doing is testing the manufacturing process and using it for R&D to do the same types of things with BD down the line, its a waste of money. And if that IS all it is, why bother with the new socket?

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]why AMD is spending time on Llano[/quote<] Because there are far, far more mid- and low-level systems sold than top-of-the-heap systems.

      • KikassAssassin
      • 8 years ago

      It needs a new socket because it has an integrated GPU, and the AM3 socket doesn’t support video from the CPU.

      Also, Llano is pretty disappointing for desktops where it’s easy to add a discrete video card, which negates its only real advantage, but I think Llano is actually a pretty exciting notebook chip. It would be even more exciting if asynchronous Crossfire worked with DX9 games, though. I don’t know what the hell they were thinking when they decided to make that support DX10/11 only.

      • stmok
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]Am I the only one wondering why AMD is spending time on Llano?[/quote<] They need to have a first step somewhere. They tried doing Bulldozer APU back in 2007 or so. It was called "Falcon". It failed under 45nm process. They then tried K10 cores under "Swift". That also failed under 45nm. Llano is the third major attempt. They finally succeed in a mainstream APU with modified K10.5 cores under 32nm SOI. (Although, it looks a bit immature at this time. Looking at 100W and 65W models.) Trinity (2012) will fulfill the 2007 intention of having a Bulldozer-based mainstream APU. This will be produced in a more mature 32nm SOI process. [quote<]Why are you not putting all your energy into Bulldozer?[/quote<] Because APUs are selling like hotcakes. OEMs love APUs. Bulldozer is pushed back so they can focus on APU deployment to the market. Then they'll bring Bulldozer in September. (Desktop and Server versions). Simply put, AMD does not have the manpower to push out a simultaneous release. Llano dev team is now working on Trinity for 2012. Zambezi dev team is working on B2 and C0 steppings. Once they're done, they're moving onto Komodo for 2012. [quote<]Llano is such a stop gap that it seems silly at this point.[/quote<] So its silly for a baby to first learn to crawl before they can walk? Its silly for a child to learn to walk before they run? ...Its silly for Llano to exist in 2011, so that AMD can apply what they've learned in order for Trinity to work well in 2012? [quote<]Unless all you're doing is testing the manufacturing process and using it for R&D to do the same types of things with BD down the line, its a waste of money. And if that IS all it is, why bother with the new socket?[/quote<] Because Trinity in 2012 will be using Revision 2 of the SAME SOCKET! Socket FM1R2 or FM1+. 2011 = Llano => Introduction of mainstream APU. 2012 = Trinity => Refinement of mainstream APU. 2013 = ??? => 3rd gen Bulldozer (close couple of GPU cores with FPU.)

      • MrBojangles
      • 8 years ago

      So amd should just forget the mobile segment all together, because bulldozer is otw? Llano is far from a stop gap or a waste of money. I can defiantly see it dominating all but the high end segment on laptops. over the next year or so.More then adequate cpu performance (for the average user ie 90% of the market) with 4 real cores that should still preform better for real world multitasking, combined with the only igp that is actually capable of real gameplay (and then some once hybrid is sorted out),and currently unique usb 3.0 connectivity on the mobile front, all without sacrificing battery life to boot. Sounds like a definite home run to me.

      • sschaem
      • 8 years ago

      My take is that AMD was not confident in their Zacate / bulldozer projects and 4 and a half years ago started the llano project in parallel.
      It would have been a nasty financial blow for AMD to recognize almost 5 years of R&D as a loss if llano was not released…
      And thats why we have this weird, weird product released in the second half of 2011.

      I see people claiming to run zacate at 2+ghz… and its easy to scale up the number of texture/shader unit of a GPU.

      Since Llano is 3.8x bigger then an E-350, AMD could have double the CPU core count and more then quadrupled the GPU to endup with a similar chip to llano, 6 month earlier. And probably save 400 to 700 million $ of R&D money.
      That ‘llano’ would have support for SSSE3, SSE4 etc… unlike llano we have, based on a 2003 processor.

      Lanno is just the result of AMD insecurity in its R&D team, it was not from a good design decision.
      AMD could have even accelerated part of Zacate power design by not having the llano team focus on a separate product that does the same thing.

      So I fully agree with you…

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 8 years ago

        “And thats why we have this weird, weird product released in the second half of 2011.”

        No, that’s because it was delayed over 9,000 times. It was supposed to come out in 2010.

        “Lanno is just the result of AMD insecurity in its R&D team, it was not from a good design decision.”

        Yeah, they’d have done a lot better to just wing it with an entirely new architecture, never before attempted CPU+GPU, and manufacturing process, all combined together!

        This is like saying Intel was “insecure” and made a “bad design decision” by not integrating a memory controller and piling on L3 cache into Core 2 when they moved it to 45nm, even though they pulled off Nehalem shortly thereafter.

        Or that Intel were “insecure” and made a “bad design decision” by [i<]simplifying[/i<] Nehalem for their first 32nm CPUs, lowering the amount of cores and cache, and removing the IMC. Using Athlon II was a conservative test for a new, risky manufacturing process, which still turned out a bit too ambitious. They learned from it and it served its purpose.

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    Choosing between Llano and SB is hard, and I have not voted as of this post. The thing is, Llano and SB, although similar in that they have both CPU and GPU in one piece of silicon, target totally different market segements. Llano is decidedly for those people looking for mainstream home performance, where the four K10.5 cores should suffice and the GPU should be good enough for playing games at ‘ok’ settings. SB would probably serve better those people who do lots of content creation and do not need too much graphics horsepower OR those people who want the fastest CPUs around and are willing to plunk for a fast video card.

    So which is better, a sedan or an SUV? Depends who you ask and the vehicle’s main intended purpose.

    • Skrying
    • 8 years ago

    The one that fits your needs.

    • fellix
    • 8 years ago

    My vote goes for SNB and the reason is that Sandy has much more streamlined CPU/GPU integration from every point of view. Now the performance and feature woes of Intel’s graphics solution alone is all out another matter of discussion. It’s bad, we all know, but the foundation is very solid.

    Llano indeed wins two hands for GPU brute force and DX11 compatibility (not that the latter matters, anyway). The integration in Llano is by far still a “mechanical” in terms of utilizing the memory sub-system and sharing resources.

      • Goty
      • 8 years ago

      Nobody cares about the elegance of the solution, everyone cares about the performance.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        Indeed, I think even beyond a certain point they don’t even care about performance so much as price. Sandy Bridge has “good enough” graphics and amazing CPU performance, and an i3, even in lightly-threaded scenarios, is tough to beat on a cost/performance basis. Llano isn’t as fast CPU-wise but even then it’s “good enough”, and in graphics, it gets into the “overkill” territory for the people it’s aimed at.

          • Edgar_Wibeau
          • 8 years ago

          You could aswell say, Llano is “good enough” regarding CPU-performance, still more than most people need. And it’s iGPU is “amazing” when you’re a casual gamer. Depends on the point of view, doesn’t it?

          I think Intel did an amazing job with sandy bridge. For those who really need CPU perfromance. When it comes to balance, I think that’s AMD’s win.

      • DeadOfKnight
      • 8 years ago

      DX11 matters a lot more than DX10 ever did.

    • flip-mode
    • 8 years ago

    Please. Some things aren’t one size fits all. The poll is lacking some nuance.

    Desktop: none of the above.
    Average Laptop: Llano
    Power Laptop: none of the above
    Server: Sandy Bridge or Zacate depending on usage.

    But going with the poll as is, I’ll vote Zacate because it pairs an underpowered CPU with an underpowered GPU so it’s actually very balanced and perfectly suited for its target market.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      I’d say on the Desktop, Sandy Bridge wins – you can upgrade the GPU cheaply enough, but you can’t upgrade the CPU on an FM1 board because it doesn’t go any faster than an A8 which is already super slow.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        I see an AMD employee found this post.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 8 years ago

          I love the cowardice of just clicking the – button rather than putting together a thought-out and intelligible reply.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            AMD fanbois are unable to construct thought-out and intelligible replies.

        • calvindog717
        • 8 years ago

        the survey is only looking at integrated performance, obviously a sandy bridge with a high-end discrete GPU will be faster than a Llano APU.

        • flip-mode
        • 8 years ago

        Absolutely, but by “none of the above” I was hoping to imply that none of the integrated GPUs were good enough, i.e. you’d need to go with a discreet card.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 8 years ago

          Only if you’re playing demanding games. For what MOST people need this for, any of them delivers somewhere between OK to amazing performance.

            • flip-mode
            • 8 years ago

            I just thumbed you up all over because I have no idea what you deserve thumbs down for.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            I feel violated. Also, thanks. :p

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            I think there is someone going around down voting every single post, for jollies or something.

        • jensend
        • 8 years ago

        Sure, if you’re the type of person who’s going to spend $100+ on a GPU, Llano doesn’t make sense. But a GPU powerful enough to be a serious upgrade over Llano will cost at least $70 (the 5670) and will consume another 60W of power. That may not seem like much to gamers who are mostly looking at $200 GPUs which consume 200W, but most people are looking for something less expensive, and many people are interested in having smaller PCs with lower power consumption. Such people will be ok with detail settings not being at their very highest and with monitors with 1080p or lower resolutions.

        The CPU performance is by no means awful- it trades blows with the equivalent-priced i3-2105. On average it’s a little slower on CPU-bound tasks but the margin is fairly narrow. Sure, it’s not going to compare well to a Sandy-based i7, but it’s also not $250+cost of reasonable GPU.

        You can upgrade to a Trinity APU when those come out- they’ll be much faster on both the CPU and GPU ends of things. Heaven only knows what socket Intel will be using in two years; I don’t think Intel fanboys are in the best position to boast about upgradability.

        • travbrad
        • 8 years ago

        How does upgrading the GPU make it a better CPU/GPU hybrid though? Once you add a discrete card it’s not a hybrid anymore. SB has amazing CPU performance and that alone is worth the cost, but the GPU is pretty terrible so it’s hard to consider it a great hybrid of GPU/CPU.

        Llano is pretty weak on the CPU side, but it seems like a much more balanced solution.

        They really aren’t aimed at the same markets though. SB is good in a desktop/high-end laptop where you can have a discrete GPU to compliment it’s great CPU performance, whereas Llano is a good solution for low-end/mid-range laptops.

          • BlackStar
          • 8 years ago

          AMD drivers support Crossfire between the IGP and the discrete GPU. Results in a modest increase in performance when using a low-end discrete card, do.

        • SomeOtherGeek
        • 8 years ago

        I don’t get the thumbing down on your comment. Whatever.

        Yea, it is nice to know that you can have a decent processor that has the graphics engine built it just to get things going if times are hard and then upgrade to a more powerful GPU down the road. So, yes, I agree that SB is the best for desktop. Even tho I picked Llano as the best cpu/gpu combo. For its niche, it is a nice chip – as least on paper.

        • pogsnet
        • 8 years ago
          • sweatshopking
          • 8 years ago

          you leave my homie alone. He’s in my BFF clan. and we’re dangerous. you know i’m the most childish person on here, so don’t mess with us, baby!

      • srg86
      • 8 years ago

      Agreed, for desktop usage, I’d take Sandy Bridge plus a discrete graphics card in an instant. Only if I had to would I go for integrated graphics. Llano would be a contender, but then I could still live with the Sandy Bridge GPU and have it’s CPU power (I care much more for CPU than GPU on the desktop).

      For a nettop, then Ontario/Zacate would take the win, though 1.8GHz Pineview would okay for my needs.

      For a laptop, I’d still rather have Sandy Bridge simply for the awesome CPU power (again its IGP is fine for my uses) though I can still see the lure of Llano.

      • PainIs4ThaWeak1
      • 8 years ago

      Wait, we can’t have our cake and eat it too?

      I guess you’re right, who wants low power AND performance? That’s just crazytalk. 🙂

      • setzer
      • 8 years ago

      I have to agree, this poll, as is, is not very usefull, even as a poll. As such I’ve also voted zacate.

      On the desktop and for an htpc or AIO, I would probably go with the 65w Llano, specially if I fit one of those in one mini-itx enclosure with passive cooling (or damn near silent if on air).
      For a business/non-gaming desktop, SB is better. Even the current HD3xxx/4xxx IGP solutions from AMD are better than Llano.
      What we need on the normal desktop for normal users is an nvidia Optimus like switching method, not further Hybrid crossfire (it failed the first time, I’m yet to understand why AMD thought that this time around it would stick).
      So, for normal desktops Phenoms/Athlon II X4/Core i3/i5/i7 with a discrete card are the way to go.

      So for desktop, flip-mode answer fits: none of the above.

      For Laptop, again we have the same problem:
      If we are talking about notebooks on the sub 11.6″ range: Zacate
      If we are talking in the 11.6″ to 13/14″ range: Llano (assuming there is not enough TDP budget to fit a discrete card and enable Optimus like switching)
      On the 15~16″ range: Llano (on a budget) or SB+Discrete (assuming we are not talking crap lower GPU performance than Llano nvidia 520M/radeon 64xx likes)
      On the 17″+ range: SB+Discrete (it will probably be a 6700M+/GT 560+ anyway)

      For servers:
      Well, sincerely this one is tricky, because on “normal” usage servers APUs are pointless. i.e: why would I need a 4 APUS on a server mainboard when there is probably not even a screen attached?
      The only reason an APU could be considered is if the server is used also for gpu compute, in that case Llano (or whatever server derivative there is) wins, SB just doesn’t hold a candle. But in any case I would also go with the 65w versions.
      Well, scratch that, I would ditch Llano and go with server grade cpus and proper gpus.
      but if we move to, say, heterogeneous cpu configurations, where one low-power cpu is used primarily for idle states and general low usage situations and that cpu is a zacate/llano and the other high-load situations is handled by proper cpus either llano/zacato/sb would be okay.

      In any case the 100w versions of Llano are pointless 😛

      • Krogoth
      • 8 years ago

      Workstation = SB or Gulftown
      Gaming rig: SB + mid-range GPU
      Budget gaming rig/HTPC = Llano
      Non gaming desktop = Which is the better deal at the price point.
      Laptops = depends on needs, for gaming = Llano, for everything else = SB
      Netbooks/Ultra-portables/ITX = Zacate

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      Why would you use an APU chip for a server? That makes no sense. Hell most servers run headless so you are better off just getting a plain straight CPU which is more then likely going to have a heck of a lot more capability then a APU for server purposes for the same amount of money.

        • Krogoth
        • 8 years ago

        For the times that you need to do low-level maintenance/troubleshooting where remote headless access cannot be done.

          • Deanjo
          • 8 years ago

          There is next to nothing that cannot be done for “low-level maintenance/troubleshooting” with a headless design. If for what ever reason you do find that you need one, an IGP would suffice fine or heaven forbid a cheap bench video card (which you can easily all buy cheaper then a apu setup and still have a beter performing cpu).

      • Lans
      • 8 years ago

      Personally I think Llano is aimed right at me in laptop form but waiting for more models to be on shelves first (although I don’t consider myself an “average user”).

      I play some games on my current laptop but not a whole lot so the battery life for movie playback and price would be my deciding factors of not going with Sandy Bridge. And battery life is above what I need so it makes no sense for me to trade performance for the battery life of a netbook. Plus I do use laptop for some CPU intensive stuff but don’t care about the deficit between Llano and Sandy Bridge.

      • Edgar_Wibeau
      • 8 years ago

      Talking of one size fits all doesn’t hit:

      Desktop: depends
      Laptop: depends
      Server: depends

      I know enough usage patterns for all three of these which would benefit most from
      Desktop: Llano, Sandy or even Zacate
      Laptop: same as Desktop
      Server: Sandy or K10

      Server also does not only benefit from pure performance and AMD 12-cores still do a an amazing job when your workload scales with CPU cores (or threads).

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